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Semiconductor Crystals Could Be Key to Extending Moore's Law

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Electron microscope images of the single crystal structures. For better visibility, the silicon is colored green, and the compound semiconductor is red.

An IBM research team has developed a new process for growing crystals made from semiconductor materials.

Credit: H. Schmid/IBM

A new process for growing crystals made from semiconductor materials could help extend Moore's law. Developed by an IBM research team in Zurich, the technique, known as template-assisted selective epitaxy, would be key to integrating semiconductor materials onto silicon chips.

The researchers fabricated single crystal nanostructures made with III-V materials, including alloys of indium, gallium, and arsenide. The team implemented the method using metal organic chemical vapor deposition. Until now, researchers have not been able to integrate the potential future computer chip material onto silicon.

"What sets this work apart from other methods is that the compound semiconductor does not contain detrimental defects, and that the process is fully compatible with current chip fabrication technology," says IBM Research's Heinz Schmid. He notes the cost-effective method will enable integrated chips to continue to shrink in size while boosting performance.

From The Engineer (United Kingdom)
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