Related topics: solar cells · transistors · graphene · nanowires · electrons

Thin, large-area device converts infrared light into images

Seeing through smog and fog. Mapping out a person's blood vessels while monitoring heart rate at the same time—without touching the person's skin. Seeing through silicon wafers to inspect the quality and composition of ...

Study suggests that silicon could be a photonics game-changer

New research from the University of Surrey has shown that silicon could be one of the most powerful materials for photonic informational manipulation—opening up new possibilities for the production of lasers and displays.

Combining light, superconductors could boost AI capabilities

As artificial intelligence has attracted broad interest, researchers are focused on understanding how the brain accomplishes cognition so they can construct artificial systems with general intelligence comparable to humans' ...

New tech builds ultralow-loss integrated photonic circuits

Encoding information into light, and transmitting it through optical fibers lies at the core of optical communications. With an incredibly low loss of 0.2 dB/km, optical fibers made from silica have laid the foundations of ...

Modeling the behavior of 2D materials under pressure

Scientists from the Skoltech Center for Energy Science and Technology (CEST) have developed a method for modeling the behavior of 2D materials under pressure. The research will help create pressure sensors based on silicene ...

Solar cells: Losses made visible on the nanoscale

Solar cells made of crystalline silicon achieve peak efficiencies, especially in combination with selective contacts made of amorphous silicon (a-Si:H). However, their efficiency is limited by losses in these contact layers. ...

Shaping radio signals using light

Shaping radio signals using photonics technologies seems like a detour. But the versatility of current programmable silicon photonic circuits can open new possibilities according to researchers of the University of Twente. ...

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Silicon (pronounced /ˈsɪlɨkən/ or /ˈsɪlɨkɒn/, Latin: silicium) is the most common metalloid. It is a chemical element, which has the symbol Si and atomic number 14. The atomic mass is 28.0855. A tetravalent metalloid, silicon is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon. As the eighth most common element in the universe by mass, silicon very rarely occurs as the pure free element in nature, but is more widely distributed in dusts, planetoids and planets as various forms of silicon dioxide (silica) or silicates. On Earth, silicon is the second most abundant element (after oxygen) in the crust, making up 25.7% of the crust by mass.

Silicon has many industrial uses. It is the principal component of most semiconductor devices, most importantly integrated circuits or microchips. Silicon is widely used in semiconductors because it remains a semiconductor at higher temperatures than the semiconductor germanium and because its native oxide is easily grown in a furnace and forms a better semiconductor/dielectric interface than any other material.

In the form of silica and silicates, silicon forms useful glasses, cements, and ceramics. It is also a constituent of silicones, a class-name for various synthetic plastic substances made of silicon, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen, often confused with silicon itself.

Silicon is an essential element in biology, although only tiny traces of it appear to be required by animals. It is much more important to the metabolism of plants, particularly many grasses, and silicic acid (a type of silica) forms the basis of the striking array of protective shells of the microscopic diatoms.

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