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How to Save the Troubled Graphene Transistor

Unlike conventional semiconductors, graphene cannot be switched off, a problem that threatens to scupper its use in future generations of transistors. Now physicists think they’ve found a solution.

The writing is on the wall for the silicon chip. Transistors have been shrinking for the last half a century but they cannot get smaller forever. Most industry pundits think that the downscaling of silicon chip technology cannot extend much beyond 2026. The big question, of course, is what will replace it.

One possibility is graphene, which various teams around the world have used to make hugely fast transistors. Last year, one team clocked a graphene transistor at a cool 427 GHz. So you could be forgiven for thinking that graphene is the perfect silicon replacement.

Not so fast. There is a significant problem with graphene that makes it difficult to use in transistors– it has no band gap.

That means there is no energy range in graphene in which electron states cannot exist. Or in other words, it’s impossible to switch off graphene. And for a transistor, that spells serious trouble…

Click Here to Read the Full Article.


Stretchable Conductor Grows Its Own Wires

Networks of spherical nanoparticles embedded in elastic materials may make the best stretchy conductors yet, engineering researchers at the University of Michigan have discovered.

Flexible electronics have a wide variety of possibilities, from bendable displays and batteries to medical implants that move with the body.

“Essentially the new nanoparticle materials behave as elastic metals,” said Nicholas Kotov, the Joseph B. and Florence V. Cejka Professor of Engineering. “It’s just the start of a new family of materials that can be made from a large variety of nanoparticles for a wide range of applications.”

Finding good conductors that still work when pulled to twice their length is a tall order—researchers have tried wires in tortuous zigzag or spring-like patterns, liquid metals, nanowire networks and more…

Click Here to Read the Full Article.

Graphene and semiconductor technology together: Smaller, cheaper, better

Semiconductors grown on graphene at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) may be the most important research breakthrough of 2012 in Norway. At the centre of the research efforts are Professor Helge Weman, Professor Bjørn-Ove Fimland and post-doctoral fellow Dong Chul Kim. The team is now working on translating the results of their basic research into an initial prototype.

In the 1960s, researchers envisioned that graphite (pure carbon) could be cut into layers measuring only one atom in thickness – resulting in the material known as graphene…

Click Here to Read the Full Article.


UT Chemist Wins Japan Prize for Innovative Semiconductor Materials

C. Grant Willson, professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, has won the Japan Prize, an international award similar to the Nobel Prize, for his development of a process that is now used to manufacture nearly all of the microprocessors and memory chips in the world…

Click here to read the full article.

Gov. Cuomo Visits Utica – Valutek Attends

Valutek CEO Greg Heiland was proud to attend as Governor Cuomo visited SUNYIT in Utica, NY for the kickoff of the construction of the Computer Chip Commercialization Center (QUAD-C).  The project will be taking huge strides progressing the semiconductor industry with the development of the 450mm wafer through the Global 450 Consortium.  The G450C involves New York State(SUNY), Intel, TSMC, Samsung, IBM and GLOBALFOUNDRIES – it is the backbone to the development and transition to the next generation of semiconductor wafers.


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SEMICON 2011 San Francisco, California July 12-14, 2011

Semicon West 2011 is an exhibit and event show being held July 12-14, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  The event being held at the Moscone Center features 15,000 exhibitors allowing visitors the opportunity to view the latest and greatest technologies involved in semiconductors, printed and flexible electronics, lighting and solar power. The Global Society for Contamination Control (GSFCC) will be one of those featured exhibitors, located at the North Hall of Moscone Center at booth N4. Semicon has been known in the past to be a relatively expensive event to attend, but Semicon West 2011 will feature 140 speakers with around 50 hours of free speaking.  One of these events those in the industry are excited about is the 450mm Wafer Transition Forum.

This forum will host Paolo Gargini, the chairman of International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), along with many others to discuss the industry-wide discussion about transitioning to a larger 450mm wafer.  The transition to a larger wafer is needed to follow Moore’s Law.  For those that are not familiar with Moore’s law a simple explanation of is that for every two years that pass, the number of transistors that can be inexpensively placed on an integrated circuit doubles.  The 450mm Wafer Transition Forum will be discussing all the information currently in the industry that pertains to the needs, processing, and the challenges involved with the 450mm wafer transition roadmap.

The 450mm Wafer Transition Forum is just one of many interesting events at Semicon West 2011 that will be discussing or revealing the new ideas, technologies, and directions of the industry.  For more information on Semicon West 2011 click here, and click here for the full list events.

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