Printer Friendly

Electricity makes porous silicon grow.

Several research groups report that they have induced silicon - long considered an "optically dead" material - to emit light when zapped with electrical current. These demonstrations of electroluminescence follow announcements that British and French researchers had used laser light to make porous silicon wafers light up (SN: 8/31/91, p. 135). These unexpected light-emitting properties mean that engineers might successfully use silicon to make optoelectronic devices essential to faster computers, says physicist Frederick Koch of the Technical University of Munich in Germany.

Researchers make silicon porous by putting it in acid. W. Lang and his colleagues at the Institute for Solid State Technology, also in Munich, observe orange light when they apply voltage to a contact atop porous silicon, Lang says. Nobuyoshi Koshida of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology also reports seeing orange electroluminescence in his group's silicon.

Scientists at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and at Spire Corp. in Bedford, Mass., report building prototype devices for studying the potential applications of porous silicon electroluminescence. A voltage makes these devices give off visible light.

Although many researchers have ideas about how silicon's luminescence occurs, there is no general agreement about what causes silicon to glow.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Pennisi, Elizabeth
Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 14, 1991
Words:202
Previous Article:Stomach bug linked to gastric cancer.
Next Article:Mighty material breaks boulders.
Topics:


Related Articles
The art of making insubstantial things: whipping up ultralight solids that resemble frozen mist.
Silicon now shines with optical potential.
New materials from sand plus antifreeze.
Silicon cocktails: whipping up a glow.
New approach makes silicon's red glow blue.
Etching technique lights up porous silicon three ways.
Big sparks create glowing porous silicon.
Detonating silicon wafers can ID elements. (Science News of the week).
Smart dust can swarm target.
Sun and sand: dirty silicon could supply solar power.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters