Diving Into the Bandgap

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As the world continues to expand with more and more electronics pumped out every day there is a concern that good ol’ silicon may not be up to the tasks and demand of the future.

Lately scientists have been looking into alternative materials to supplement and potentially even replace this long-standing pillar of technology. Though not just alternative materials, but how those materials are made and how they can be optimized in ways that silicon cannot. In comes the bandgap, which is essentially a part of the semiconducting material that does not allow for the flow of electrons to pass through it. When the “outermost ring” of electrons is full then there is no room for the exchange of electrons with surrounding atoms, but when there are gaps in this level of electrons it can freely exchange energy based on the basic chemistry principles of electron bonding.

At this time the work is even going beyond the next-generation of substitutes for silicon – SiC, Silicon Carbide and GaN, Gallium Nitride – and onto the substitutes for these materials, such as AlN (Aluminum Nitride). Using an Ultra-Wide Band Gap (UWBG) they are looking into military and nuclear applications.

To read more about bandgap and the role it will play in the latest technologies, click here –

http://www.sandia.gov/news/publications/labnews/archive/15-04-09.html#1

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