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

Researchers tune nanowire properties with peptide 'decorations'

In the latest paper from the Geobacter Lab led by microbiologist Derek Lovley at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he and colleagues report "a major advance" in the quest to develop electrically conductive protein ...

French parliament adopts EU copyright reform

The French parliament on Tuesday adopted a copyright reform to ensure media are paid for original content, typically news, offered online by tech giants such as Google and Facebook.

New nanoantennas to improve ultra-fast wireless connections

Researchers from the Nanophotonic Technology Centre (NTC) of the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) have designed new silicon nanoantennas with direct applications in communication and data processing for the next generation ...

Algae-killing viruses spur nutrient recycling in oceans

Scientists have confirmed that viruses can kill marine algae called diatoms and that diatom die-offs near the ocean surface may provide nutrients and organic matter for recycling by other algae, according to a Rutgers-led ...

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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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