Adding Speed to Silicon

July 24, 2007 | Source: Technology Review

AmberWave Systems has developed a new method for growing germanium and other semiconductors on silicon so they don’t crack.

It could lead to faster, smaller electronics. Additionally, combining the different types of semiconductors could lead to cheaper lasers and other photonic devices.

The dimensions of transistors are shrinking, and silicon, as it’s used today to make these transistors, will not be able to scale down and maintain the same speed. The industry estimates that silicon will reach its physical limitations by about 2012, and there’s a scramble to find the best materials to replace it.