Scientists Build First Chip Without Semiconductors

Scientists Build First Chip Without Semiconductors

A group of boffins from the Applied Electromagnetics Group at the University of California San Diego have succeeded in building a microelectronic device without the incorporation of semiconductors for the first time at least in a published paper. It’s certainly possible that the feat has been accomplished in a secret military facility or by a want to be Bond villain, but this research was published this week.

Fighting Moore’s Law by abandoning semiconductors

The team published its findings in Nature Communications this week explaining how they were able to engineer an optically-controlled device that bypassed by the use of semiconductors by thinking of and employing a metasurface in the nanoscale that avoids the limits that superconductors bring to electron flow or, perhaps more familiar, conductivity. Electrons have a pesky habit of running into some atoms on their way to a given point in a semiconductor, but the team worked out a vacuum tube 2.0 that avoids the limitations placed on power handling and speed that semiconductors bring.

Work with my layman understanding of how this was accomplished with the knowledge that I’m working from my own brain’s limitations when quantum or nano understandings are brought to the table in spite of near prodigy level mathematical understandings I once possessed but aren’t challenged terrifically before being blown away by these innovations.

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By using a less than 10 volt DC charge and infrared laser on a metasurface the team made to rest on a silicon wafer with a layer of silicon dioxide, they found they could make their chip work. On a nanoscale, the researchers couldn’t simply apply high powered lasers that would have replaced the need for the metasurface used to boost conductivity owing to the heat t