Tag: semiconductors

Hijacking Worm Guts to Produce Tiny Semiconductors

By Breanna Draxler | December 26, 2012 3:48 pm


When it comes to producing nanoparticle-sized semiconductors called quantum dots, scientists are now looking to earthworms to do their dirty work.

Like all semiconductors, the conductive properties of quantum dots are very specific to their crystals’ size and shape. But quantum dots have an advantage because scientists can precisely control the size of the crystals formed, and the resulting conductive properties of the dots. Their applications include LED lights, solar cells, and tiny lasers. Since quantum dots absorb and emit light, they may also aid in medical imaging, but thus far scientists have struggled to incorporate these dots into living cells. Because they are potentially toxic, the dots must undergo a number of chemical reactions before they are able to enter or attach to living cells. Scientists now think the trick to making the dots compatible may lie in producing the dots within living organisms.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Top Posts

Quantum Dots Can Get Nearby Neurons Firing

By Sarah Zhang | February 16, 2012 8:54 am

spacing is important

The quantum dot has many super powers. It can capture light energy for solar panels, team up with LEDs to emit entangled photons, and according to new research, activate neurons in a Petri dish. Quantum dots are tiny bits of semiconductor material, and their unique properties coming from being so small—no more than 10 nanometers across—that they’re governed by weird rules of the quantum world. Quantum dots are already used in biology to label individual cells or proteins. But now, quantum dots are no longer just labels; they can change how neurons behave.

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A Mineral You’ve Never Heard of Could Create Next-Gen Electronics

By Eliza Strickland | January 31, 2011 6:04 pm

When experts talk about discarding today’s silicon-based computer chips and building next-generation electronics out of new materials, they’re usually talking about graphene, and for good reason–the one-atom-thick layers of carbon can behave like semiconductors and have already been used in experimental transistors. But researchers from a Swiss lab think they have a material that can trump both silicon and graphene. World, meet molybdenite.

The researchers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) note that the mineral looks similar to mica, and has a layered molecular structure that allows it to sheer off easily into thin sheets.

Molybdenite, the researchers said, is abundant in nature and is currently used in steel alloys and in lubricants, but it has not previously been studied for use in electronics. “It’s a two-dimensional material, very thin and easy to use in nanotechnology. It has real potential in the fabrication of very small transistors, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and solar cells,” said EPFL Professor Andras Kis, adding that molybdenite (MoS2) is far more compact than silicon, while still allowing electrons to circulate freely. [PC Pro]

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology
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