New Semiconductor Technique May Lead to Dramatic Changes

December 27th, 2011
in Background, econ_news

Econintersect:  Kyoto University has the following announcement:

enhanced-carrier-productionResearchers at Kyoto University have announced a breakthrough with broad implications for semiconductor-based devices. The findings, announced in the December 20 issue of the journal Nature Communications, may lead to the development of ultra-high-speed transistors and high-efficiency photovoltaic cells.

Working with standard semiconductor material (gallium arsenide, GaAs), the team observed that exposing the sample to a terahertz (1,000 gigahertz) range electric field pulse caused an avalanche of electron-hole pairs (excitons) to burst forth. This single-cycle pulse, lasting merely a picosecond (10-12s), resulted in a 1,000-fold increase in exciton density compared with the initial state of the sample.

Follow up:

The paper in Nature Communications and the announcement by Kyoto University do no talk about many specific implementation targets except to repeatedly talk about the effect occurring at nano technology scale.  The implication is that microscopic transistors could eventually be produced, as well as solar cells with microscopic photovoltaic elements.  These thoughts lead to a question about whether thin film solar electricity products might become much more achievable with this new technology, such as the solar electric paint discussed in GEI News on Christmas eve.   In addition to the of ultra-high-speed transistors and high-efficiency photovoltaic cells mentioned, applications are also envisioned in nano scale imaging in biological systems at the cellular level.

The authors of the paper at Nature Communications are H. Hirori,1, 2 K. Shinokita,3 M. Shirai,1, 2 S. Tani,3 Y. Kadoya2, 4 & K. Tanaka2, 3

Sources:  Kyoto University , Nature Communications and GEI News

Hat Tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni.

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