Entries with tag semiconductor materials.

Researchers Explain Unusual Properties of Semiconductor Materials

The Ohio State University scientists have offered an initial theory as how the properties of two materials unexpectedly change when layered together. The materials lanthanum aluminate and strontium titanate are fairly unexciting until they are sandwiched together. Then, they are both conductive and magnetic. These properties were initially discovered in 2004, but no explanation for how they interact at their interface was offered until now. Understanding how these materials work together could enable researchers to invent new forms of integrated computational and data storage devices, say the researchers. It could also lead to the exploration of other oxide material combinations. This research was published in the journal Nature Physics. (EurekAlert)(The Ohio State University)(Nature Physics)

Researchers Create New Nanoscale Material

An international team of researchers led by scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and RMIT University have developed a new two-dimensional material they say “could revolutionize the electronics market.” The material consists of molybdenum oxide layers in sheets about 11 nanometers thick that are similar to graphite layers. The material’s structural properties, which are also semiconducting, allow electrons to freely flow at ultra-high speeds, which could enable smaller devices to be created that are able to transfer data at high speed. The researchers made nanoscale transistors with the material but say additional research is needed before devices can be made using the material. Other research collaborators included scientists from Monash University, University of California at Los Angeles, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The researchers published their work in Advanced Materials. (EurekAlert)(The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)

Researchers Make Solar Cells from Semiconductor Materials

Researchers from the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley have devised a way to make low-cost, highly efficient solar cells from virtually any semiconductor material. This would let manufacturers use inexpensive materials previously deemed unsuitable for solar cell manufacturing, such as metal oxides, sulfides, and phosphides. The researchers say their technique could stimulate solar energy use. “It’s time we put bad materials to good use,” stated Alex Zettl,  physics professor at UC Berkeley and director of the Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems -- who is leading the research. “Our technology allows us to sidestep the difficulty in chemically tailoring many earth abundant, nontoxic semiconductors and instead tailor these materials simply by applying an electric field.” Typically, solar cells are made from expensive photovoltaic materials such as cadmium telluride or copper indium gallium selenide thin films. The researchers’ screening-engineered field-effect photovoltaics method uses an electric field effect, rather than chemical dopants, to alter a semiconductor’s conductive capabilities. The technique also creates devices that perform self-gating functions, which means they do not need external power for gating. These gates can also function as an antireflection coating. The researchers published their work in Nano Letters. (Science Daily)(Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)(Nano Letters)

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