I'll be really impressed when they can do
multi-color silicon LEDs at room temperature.
Instead of a binary off/on, you could do other
New silicon LED could eliminate
by Rick Perera, IDG News Service\Berlin Bureau
March 08, 2001, 07:33
Scientists in the U.K. have developed a silicon-based light-emitting
diode (LED) that could lead to a more seamless link between
semiconductors and optical data networks.
Until now, converting the electrons which carry information in silicon
chips into the photons which are the currency of optical fiber
networks has been a bottleneck. The semiconductor industry has
been seeking an efficient way to turn silicon itself into a light emitter.
Today's LEDs are commonly made of other semiconductors, such as
gallium arsenide, and cannot be mounted directly on silicon chips,
setting limits on speed and miniaturization.
Researchers at the University of Surrey have found such a technique:
a method of making silicon glow at room temperature, producing light
almost as efficiently as the current generation of LEDs, said Kevin
Homewood, who designed the prototype along with colleagues. Their
findings are published in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature.
Homewood said the invention could reach end users fairly quickly. "It
actually uses more or less standard industry technology, (so) they
could almost do it tomorrow... but of course it will take some time to
redesign the chip architecture."
He added that he and his colleagues patented their technique "a few
months ago," but have waited to discuss it publicly until publishing
their research. "We expect there to be quite a bit of industry
interest," he said.
The University of Surrey, in Guildford, England, can be reached at
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