Related topics: solar cells

Physicists trap light in nanoresonators for record time

An international team of researchers from ITMO University, the Australian National University, and Korea University have experimentally trapped an electromagnetic wave in a gallium arsenide nanoresonator a few hundred nanometers ...

New method produces robust transistors

A new method to fit together layers of semiconductors as thin as a few nanometers has resulted in not only a scientific discovery but also a new type of transistor for high-power electronic devices. The result, published ...

For Canadian researcher, it's a microscopic Christmas

There was Tiny Tim, and then the Little Drummer Boy—but they had nothing on the microscopic gingerbread house believed to be the smallest in the world and unveiled Wednesday by a Canadian researcher.

New heat model may help electronic devices last longer

A University of Illinois-based team of engineers has found that the model currently used to predict heat loss in a common semiconductor material does not apply in all situations. By testing the thermal properties of gallium ...

To build a better semiconductor, first identify its defects

Gallium oxide is a remarkable wide-bandgap semiconductor material. Put simply, that means it could potentially be used to create electronic devices that can operate under extreme conditions – such as when exposed to high ...

A chip to measure vacuums

Vacuums are a vital part of the processes—such as freeze-drying—used to make and preserve countless everyday items and must be measured with precision. An EPFL spin-off, Hexisense, is bringing to market a gallium nitride-based ...

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Gallium

Gallium ( /ˈɡæliəm/ gal-ee-əm) is a chemical element that has the symbol Ga and atomic number 31. Elemental gallium does not occur in nature, but as the gallium(III) salt in trace amounts in bauxite and zinc ores. A soft silvery metallic poor metal, elemental gallium is a brittle solid at low temperatures. As it liquefies slightly above room temperature, it will melt in the hand. Its melting point is used as a temperature reference point, and from its discovery in 1875 to the semiconductor era, its primary uses were in high-temperature thermometric applications and in preparation of metal alloys with unusual properties of stability, or ease of melting; some being liquid at room temperature or below. The alloy Galinstan (68.5% Ga, 21.5% In, 10% Sn) has a melting point of about −19 °C (−2 °F).

In semiconductors, the major-use compound is gallium arsenide used in microwave circuitry and infrared applications. Gallium nitride and indium gallium nitride, minority semiconductor uses, produce blue and violet light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and diode lasers. Semiconductor use is now almost the entire (> 95%) world market for gallium, but new uses in alloys and fuel cells continue to be discovered.

Gallium is not known to be essential in biology, but because of the biological handling of gallium's primary ionic salt gallium(III) as though it were iron(III), the gallium ion localizes to and interacts with many processes in the body in which iron(III) is manipulated. As these processes include inflammation, which is a marker for many disease states, several gallium salts are used, or are in development, as both pharmaceuticals and radiopharmaceuticals in medicine.

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