Semiconductor Undergoes New Magnetic Field And Mathematical Characterization

First Posted: Nov 06, 2015 02:59 PM EST

A team of engineers have created a mathematical method that uses as a new effecive semiconductor characterization, according to a study at Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering.

"You have all these great applications like computer chips, lasers, and camera imagers. There are so many applications for semiconductor materials, so it's important that we can characterize these materials carefully and accurately," Matthew Grayson, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, said in a news release.

"Non-uniform semiconductors lead to computer chips that fail, lasers that burn out, and imagers with dark spots," Grayson added.

The researchers' new mathematical technique is enabling semiconductors be more efficient, and simple. The method flips the magnetic field and repeats one measurement. It also detects whether or not electrical conductivity is uniform across the entire material, which is essential if you want semiconductors to have high performance, according to the researchers.

Semiconductors have a variety of applications, mostly because their properties can be controlled. The researchers' method can be used in samples that are as small as an exfoliated 10-micron flake or as large as a 12-inch wafer.

This technique can also be used with 3-D materials and the researchers are envisioning that laboratories and electrical industries could soon adapt the new method.

"There are companies that mass produce semiconductors and need to know if the material is uniform before they start making individual computer chips," Grayson said. "Our method will give them better feedback during sample preparation. We believe this is a fundamental breakthrough with broad impact."

The findings of this study were published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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