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

New form of silicon could revolutionize semiconductor industry

After a 10-year research study that started by accident and was met with skepticism, a team of Northeastern University mechanical engineers was able to synthesize highly dense, ultra-narrow silicon nanowires that could revolutionize ...

Full control of a six-qubit quantum processor in silicon

Researchers at QuTech—a collaboration between the Delft University of Technology and TNO—have engineered a record number of six, silicon-based, spin qubits in a fully interoperable array. Importantly, the qubits can be ...

Silicon nanopillars for quantum communication

Around the world, specialists are working on implementing quantum information technologies. One important path involves light: Looking ahead, single light packages, also known as light quanta or photons, could transmit data ...

When work becomes your religion, nothing else matters

In a country that has seen a steep decline in religious practice, what do we consider as sacred? How do we express our spiritual beliefs? And what is replacing traditional places of worship?

Silicon carbide holds promise for integrated photonics

Researchers led by Ou Xin from the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology (SIMIT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have recently comprehensively reviewed milestones and challenges in silicon carbide ...

2D boundaries could create electricity

There's still plenty of room at the bottom to generate piezoelectricity. Engineers at Rice University and their colleagues are showing the way.

A quantum wave in two crystals

Particles can move as waves along different paths at the same time—this is one of the most important findings of quantum physics. A particularly impressive example is the neutron interferometer: neutrons are fired at a ...

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Silicon

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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