The best semiconductor of them all?
Silicon is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, and in its pure form the material has become the foundation of much of modern technology, from solar cells to computer chips. But silicon’s properties as a semiconductor are far from ideal.
For one thing, although silicon lets electrons whizz through its structure easily, it is much less accommodating to “holes” — electrons’ positively charged counterparts — and harnessing both is important for some kinds of chips. What’s more, silicon is not very good at conducting heat, which is why overheating issues and expensive cooling systems are common in computers.
Now, a team of researchers at MIT, the University of Houston, and other institutions has carried out experiments showing that a material known as cubic boron arsenide overcomes both of these limitations. It provides high mobility to both electrons and holes, and has excellent thermal conductivity. It is, the researchers say, the best semiconductor material ever found, and maybe the best possible one.
So far, cubic boron arsenide has only been made and tested in small, lab-scale batches that are not uniform. The researchers had to use special methods originally developed by former MIT postdoc Bai Song to test small regions within the material. More work will be needed to determine whether cubic boron arsenide can be made in a practical, economical form, much less replace the ubiquitous silicon. But even in the near future, the material could find some uses where its unique properties would make a significant difference, the researchers say.
The findings are reported today in the journal Science, in a paper by MIT postdoc Jungwoo Shin and MIT professor of mechanical engineering Gang Chen; Zhifeng Ren at the University of Houston; and 14 others at MIT, the University of Houston, the University of Texas at Austin, and Boston College.
Earlier research, including work by David Broido, who is a co-author of the new paper, had theoretically predicted that the material would have high thermal conductivity; subsequent work proved that prediction experimentally. This latest work completes the analysis by confirming experimentally a prediction made by Chen’s group back in 2018: that cubic boron arsenide would also have very high mobility for both electrons and holes, “which makes this material really unique,” says Chen.
The earlier experiments showed that the thermal conductivity of cubic boron arsenide is almost 10 times greater than that of silicon. “So, that is very attractive just for heat dissipation,” Chen says. They also showed that the material has a very good bandgap, a property that gives it great potential as a semiconductor material.
Now, the new work fills in the picture, showing that, with its high mobility for both electrons and holes, boron arsenide has all the main qualities needed for an ideal semiconductor. “That’s important because of course in semiconductors we have both positive and negative charges equivalently. So, if you build a device, you want to have a material where both electrons and holes travel with less resistance,” Chen says.
Silicon has good electron mobility but poor hole mobility, and other materials such as gallium arsenide, widely used for lasers, similarly have good mobility for electrons but not for holes.
“Heat is now a major bottleneck for many electronics,” says Shin, the paper’s lead author. “Silicon carbide is replacing silicon for power electronics in major EV industries including Tesla, since it has three times higher thermal conductivity than silicon despite its lower electrical mobilities. Imagine what boron arsenides can achieve, with 10 times higher thermal conductivity and much higher mobility than silicon. It can be a gamechanger.”
Shin adds, “The critical milestone that makes this discovery possible is advances in ultrafast laser grating systems at MIT,” initially developed by Song. Without that technique, he says, it would not have been possible to demonstrate the material’s high mobility for electrons and holes.
The electronic properties of cubic boron arsenide were initially predicted based on quantum mechanical density function calculations made by Chen’s group, he says, and those predictions have now been validated through experiments conducted at MIT, using optical detection methods on samples made by Ren and members of the team at the University of Houston.
Not only is the material’s thermal conductivity the best of any semiconductor, the researchers say, it has the third-best thermal conductivity of any material — next to diamond and isotopically enriched cubic boron nitride. “And now, we predicted the electron and hole quantum mechanical behavior, also from first principles, and that is also proven to be true,” Chen says.
“This is impressive, because I actually don’t know of any other material, other than graphene, that has all these properties,” he says. “And this is a bulk material that has these properties.”
The challenge now, he says, is to figure out practical ways of making this material in usable quantities. The current methods of making it produce very nonuniform material, so the team had to find ways to test just small local patches of the material that were uniform enough to provide reliable data. While they have demonstrated the great potential of this material, “whether or where it’s going to actually be used, we do not know,” Chen says.
“Silicon is the workhorse of the entire industry,” says Chen. “So, OK, we’ve got a material that’s better, but is it actually going to offset the industry? We don’t know.” While the material appears to be almost an ideal semiconductor, “whether it can actually get into a device and replace some of the current market, I think that still has yet to be proven.”
And while the thermal and electrical properties have been shown to be excellent, there are many other properties of a material that have yet to be tested, such as its long-term stability, Chen says. “To make devices, there are many other factors that we don’t know yet.”
He adds, “This potentially could be really important, and people haven’t really even paid attention to this material.” Now that boron arsenide’s desirable properties have become more clear, suggesting the material is “in many ways the best semiconductor,” he says, “maybe there will be more attention paid to this material.”
For commercial uses, Shin says, “one grand challenge would be how to produce and purify cubic boron arsenide as effectively as silicon. … Silicon took decades to win the crown, having purity of over 99.99999999 percent, or ‘10 nines’ for mass production today.”
For it to become practical on the market, Chen says, “it really requires more people to develop different ways to make better materials and characterize them.” Whether the necessary funding for such development will be available remains to be seen, he says.
The research was supported by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, and used facilities of MIT’s MRSEC Shared Experimental Facilities, supported by the National Science Foundation.
Trader Joe’s: A Unique Grocery Shopping Experience
Discover the unparalleled shopping experience at Trader Joe’s, a renowned grocery store chain offering a wide range of high-quality products at affordable prices. Explore the diverse selection, innovative offerings, and friendly atmosphere that make Trader Joe’s a favorite destination for food enthusiasts.
Introduction: Welcome to Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s has revolutionized the grocery shopping industry with its distinctive approach to retail. With a commitment to providing unique and high-quality products, Trader Joe’s has garnered a loyal following of customers who are eager to explore the ever-changing assortment of items on their shelves. In this article, we will delve into the world of Trader Joe’s and explore the reasons why it stands out from the competition.
Trader Joe’s: A Shopper’s Paradise
A Haven for Food Enthusiasts
Trader Joe’s is more than just a grocery store; it’s a paradise for food enthusiasts. With an extensive selection of gourmet and specialty items sourced from around the world, Trader Joe’s caters to the discerning palate. From unique snacks and appetizers to artisanal cheeses and decadent desserts, there’s always something new and exciting to discover at Trader Joe’s.
Unbeatable Prices and Value
One of the hallmarks of Trader Joe’s is its commitment to providing exceptional value to its customers. While the store offers a wide range of high-quality products, it manages to keep its prices affordable. This combination of quality and value is what sets Trader Joe’s apart from its competitors, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious shoppers.
A Neighborhood Vibe
Step into any Trader Joe’s, and you’ll immediately notice the warm and welcoming atmosphere. With friendly staff members who are always ready to assist you, shopping at Trader Joe’s feels like a visit to your neighborhood store. The company prides itself on fostering a sense of community and creating an enjoyable shopping experience for its customers.
Exploring Trader Joe’s Selection
A Cornucopia of Fresh Produce
Trader Joe’s offers an impressive selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, sourced from trusted suppliers. Whether you’re in search of everyday staples or exotic produce, Trader Joe’s has you covered. From crisp apples to vibrant heirloom tomatoes, their produce section boasts a colorful array of options that will inspire any home cook.
Delightful Dairy and Cheese Selection
Cheese lovers rejoice! Trader Joe’s is renowned for its diverse selection of cheeses from around the world. From creamy Brie to tangy blue cheese, you’ll find a range of flavors and textures to suit your taste buds. Pair your favorite cheese with their assortment of crackers and you’re in for a treat.
International Flavors Galore
At Trader Joe’s, you can embark on a global culinary adventure without leaving the store. Their shelves are stocked with a wide variety of international ingredients and products, allowing you to explore different cuisines and expand your culinary horizons. Whether you’re in the mood for Thai curry, Italian pasta, or Indian spices, Trader Joe’s has everything you need to create authentic and flavorful dishes.
Unique and Innovative Offerings
One of the reasons why Trader Joe’s is so beloved is its constant introduction of unique and innovative products. The store takes pride in being a trendsetter in the grocery industry, and customers eagerly anticipate the arrival of new items. From seasonal treats to unexpected flavor combinations, Trader Joe’s never fails to surprise and delight its customers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What makes Trader Joe’s different from other grocery stores?
Trader Joe’s stands out from other grocery stores due to its unique selection of products, unbeatable prices, and friendly atmosphere. The store offers an exciting array of gourmet and specialty items, all at affordable prices,making it a destination for food enthusiasts. Additionally, Trader Joe’s prides itself on creating a neighborhood vibe with its welcoming staff and sense of community.
2. Does Trader Joe’s offer organic and healthy options?
Yes, Trader Joe’s is known for its commitment to offering a wide range of organic and healthy options. The store carries a variety of organic produce, as well as organic dairy products, meats, and pantry staples. In addition, Trader Joe’s has a selection of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian products to cater to different dietary preferences and needs.
3. Are Trader Joe’s products affordable compared to other grocery stores?
Yes, Trader Joe’s is renowned for its affordability. While providing high-quality products, Trader Joe’s manages to keep its prices competitive. This combination of quality and value makes it an attractive choice for shoppers looking to get the most out of their budget.
4. Can I find international ingredients and spices at Trader Joe’s?
Absolutely! Trader Joe’s takes pride in offering a diverse range of international ingredients and spices. Whether you’re looking for exotic spices for a specific recipe or unique international snacks, Trader Joe’s has a selection that will satisfy your culinary cravings.
5. Are there any Trader Joe’s branded products?
Yes, Trader Joe’s has its own line of branded products. These Trader Joe’s branded items are carefully curated and developed to meet the company’s high standards for quality and taste. From snacks and pantry staples to frozen meals and beverages, you’ll find a variety of Trader Joe’s branded products throughout the store.
6. Does Trader Joe’s have a return policy?
Yes, Trader Joe’s has a customer-friendly return policy. If you’re not satisfied with a product you’ve purchased, you can return it to the store with a receipt for a full refund. Trader Joe’s aims to ensure customer satisfaction and stands behind the quality of their products.
Conclusion: A Shopping Experience Like No Other
Trader Joe’s offers a shopping experience that is truly unique. With its diverse and high-quality product selection, unbeatable prices, and friendly atmosphere, it has become a favorite destination for food enthusiasts and budget-conscious shoppers alike. Whether you’re searching for everyday essentials, international ingredients, or innovative snacks, Trader Joe’s has something to offer. So, the next time you’re in search of a grocery store adventure, don’t miss out on the vibrant and exciting world of Trader Joe’s.
Rebbe’s Dollar distribution
Uncover the extraordinary story of the Rebbe’s Dollar distribution, a powerful tradition that has transformed lives and inspired acts of kindness across the globe.
The Rebbe’s one-dollar bill, a symbol of charity and compassion, continues to embody the spiritual legacy of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, inspiring countless individuals to embrace a life of giving and kindness.
Every Sunday, people from all walks of life – Jews and non-Jews alike – would line up outside the Rebbe’s residence at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, New York, eager to receive a dollar bill and a blessing from the Rebbe.
It was a testament to the universal nature of the Rebbe’s message of love, kindness, and the power of good deeds.
The Rebbe would hand out dollar bills to each individual, instructing them to donate the money to a charity of their choice. Through this small act of giving, the Rebbe instilled the value of charity and the potential of a single dollar to create positive change.
Sustainable Diamonds – What You Need to Know About Lab-Grown Diamonds in NZ
The use of lab grown diamonds NZ in jewellery has been growing rapidly over the last few years. This is because they are eco-friendly, and they cost less than mined diamonds. However, it is essential to understand the differences between a lab-grown and a mined diamond before making a purchase decision.
A Lab-Grown Diamond is a synthetic diamond created by humans in a lab instead of being mined from the ground. They are similar to natural diamonds in almost every way, except that they do not cloud or lose their luster over time.
There are several processes that can be used to grow a diamond in a lab, but the most common ones are High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). These methods are incredibly complex, but they have the same end goal: to replicate the conditions that naturally occur when a diamond grows on the earth’s surface.
Unlike mined diamonds, formed after millions of years of exposure to extreme heat and temperatures within the earth’s crust, lab-grown diamonds are created by scientists in a controlled environment. This allows them to mimic the same physical and chemical properties of natural diamonds, while also being significantly cheaper and environmentally friendly.
How They’re Made
When a diamond seed is placed inside of a sealed chamber, it is pressurized and heated until the carbon particles break down and crystallize into a fully grown diamond. This process is called growing a diamond in a lab, and many companies have done it since the 1960s.
In addition to being more sustainable, lab-grown diamonds are more ethical than mined diamonds because they don’t heavily impact the environment. For example, a study by Frost & Sullivan found that for each carat of diamonds mined using traditional methods, nearly 100 square feet of land is disturbed and more than 5,798 pounds of mineral waste are created.
Another great thing about lab-grown diamonds is that they don’t consume as much water in the making process. This is because the processes involved in creating a mined diamond require significant amounts of water, and they also create a lot of pollution.
This can lead to many issues, including depleted water supplies and environmental calamities. In addition, the soil can be destroyed, and in turn, the land is rendered unusable once mining operations have ceased.
It is also worth noting that lab-grown diamonds don’t contribute to global warming like mined diamonds, as their carbon is sourced from CO2 emissions. This is a very good thing for the planet, and it is one of the major reasons why people are switching to lab-grown diamonds instead of mined diamonds.
If you want to buy a piece of jewellery with a lab-grown diamond, you’ll need to do some research and make sure that you are getting a good deal on the product. You can do this by checking out prices at different retailers and comparing the costs. You can then choose which option is best for you and your budget.
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