New hybrid semiconducters may revolutionize next generation electronics

December 20th, 2007 - 4:10 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Dec 20 (ANI): A new research has shed light on a semiconducting material with zero thermal expansion (ZTE, which may play a vital role in the design of future generations of electronics and optoelectronics that can withstand a wide range of temperatures.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energys National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Argonne National Laboratory carried out the research .

Traditional interests in ZTE materials have largely been in areas such as optics, heat-engine components and kitchenware. ZTE materials with applications in non-conventional areas such as electronics and optoelectronics are rare; most are glasses, which do not work well in electronics applications.

But, the hybrid inorganic-organic semiconductor investigated in this work is a multifunctional semiconductor that has previously been shown to possess superior electronic and optical properties.

The work also suggests an alternative route to designing materials with any desired positive or negative thermal expansion.

It’s a merger of inorganic and organic materials which form a fully coherent, three-dimensionally ordered crystal, said Zahirul Islam, a physicist in Argonne’s X-Ray Science Division. Normally, inorganic and organic materials don’t work very well together, but here they are working together to display these remarkable properties, he added.

The materials under study form alternating organic and inorganic layers that work together to produce these effects. One contracts while the other expands, and the net effect is zero.

This work suggests a novel approach to design the thermal expansion from positive to negative, including zero in a nanoscopic scale by assembling nano-scale units in an ordered manner, said principal investigator Yong Zhang of NREL. Next, we would like to extend the idea to higher dimensions and explore more inorganic-organic combinations, he added.

These hybrid materials hold promise for high-efficiency semiconductor lasers, ultrathin and flexible solar cells and light-emitting and detecting devices, said Zhang. It is possible to dope the materials by adding small amounts of other compounds to form transparent conducting materials, he added. (ANI)

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