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Discovery of a new material that can increase the performance of computer chips

News hardware Discovery of a new material that can increase the performance of computer chips

A team of researchers from the famous MIT, in collaboration with the University of Houston, recently found an alternative to silicon to make the semiconductor of tomorrow, its name: cubic boron arsenide.

After lithium, researchers are now looking for a successor to silicon

If there is one thing to remember with the Covid crisis on the electronics and Tech market, it is that it is really, really, not good to rely only on a single type of resource and a single provider.

For several weeks, we have seen studies and research on the batteries of tomorrow flourish, to be less dependent on rare materials in general and lithium in particular.

Among all the more or less advanced approaches, we have seen that researchers work in particular around the
sulfur
or even
graphite
elements already known to improve current batteries, while others have gone down much more winding paths by setting their sights on
some
or even the
sable

Finally, global warming and increasingly regular heat waves confirm those who think that the energy of the future is in the photovoltaic panels
and that all you need to do is stick it everywhere to be autonomous.

Piece of polished wafer and block of pure silicon

Most there is another area that suffers from a quasi-monopoly that many researchers want to break, it is that of semiconductors. In this domain, the king of the world is called silicon.

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Without it, or rather without semiconductors, how to say… No PC, no consoles, no smartphones, no televisions, etc etc, no wholesale digital objects. Back to the Amish model as the other would say…

Suddenly, between the shortages linked to Covid and the not necessarily optimal properties of silicon, the most widely used semiconductor on the market, researchers are struggling to find a successor to it and this is how cubic boron arsenide stood out.

Semiconductor plate

Discovery of a new material that can increase the performance of computer chips

Cubic boron arsenide, the semiconductor of tomorrow that everyone has been waiting for

The study that interests us today was published a few days ago in the scientific magazine Science and was jointly conducted by researchers from the famous MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), in partnership with the University of Houston.

For the record, in super shortcut, a semiconductor is a chemical compound that is halfway between an insulator and a superconductor. They are used everywhere in electronics past and present and are quite suitable for our everyday devices.

Discovery of a new material that can increase the performance of computer chips

Nevertheless, the use of silicon, if it is facilitated by its great availability (it is the most abundant element in the earth’s crust after oxygen) poses some problems that we all know: overheating.

If your smartphone or your computer heats up too much, it is partly because of it, because it does not conduct heat particularly well and it is therefore because of it that we need cooling systems more and more. sophisticated, expensive and energy-intensive.

For two years now, researchers have been interested in another semiconductor material full of promise: cubic boron arsenide.

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cubic boron arsenide

Discovery of a new material that can increase the performance of computer chips

After having theorized the fact that it was better in every way than silicon, they were finally able to experiment with it and the results are clear. If it turns out just a little bit better than silicon when it comes to electron transfer, it would simply be 10 times more efficient in terms of heat dissipation.

The big project of these next will consist in finding a way to produce enough of this new material in order to test it and integrate it on a large scale in a whole bunch of electronic devices, from the simple watch connected to the electric car passing by laptops or smartphones. A great hope for the future.

Source :
Science

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