Semiconductors have largely been made the same way for decades. And while this manufacturing method was effective, it has its flaws. Typically, they are made by layering semiconductors crystals on top of one another. This process requires precision and quite often, mistakes can be made.
These mistakes can lead to defects inside the semiconductors and reduce their overall performance. However, this may soon be a worry of the past, thanks to the research of Jim Edgar, a university distinguished professor of chemical engineering.
Edgar focused on using boron phosphide and icosahedral phosphide as materials to build better chips. Much of his work is based on advances discovered by Yi Zhang, who found that using a very smooth material lead to better performance and better stacking.
When describing the process of building a semiconductor, Edgar explained, “It’s like a stacked cake separated by layers of icing. When the layers of semiconductors don’t match up very well, it introduces defects. Any time there is a defect, it degrades the efficiency of the device.”
Edgar continued, “We have applied this process to other systems. We are working on verifying that it is not just these specific materials we started with, but that it can be applied to a lot of different materials.”
This is exciting news not only for the entire technology industry, but also for engineers. Edgar’s advances may soon lead to even more discoveries and the potential to have an amazing impact on society as well as technology.
Edgar applied for, and received a patent for his “Off-axis silicon carbide substrates,” and plans to continue his research to find even better ways to make semiconductors.
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