Washington, January 23 (ANI): A new research by scientists has made a technological breakthrough that can lead to faster electronic devices.
The research, by scientists at Cornell University, US, discovered that the thin, smooth, crystalline sheets needed to make semiconductors, which are the foundation of modern computers, might be grown into smoother sheets by managing the random darting motions of the atomic particles that affect how the crystals grow.
"The main benefit of smooth crystalline films in electronic devices is that electrons can travel from one place to another in a device with minimal disruption," said Charles Ying, program director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Materials Research.
"This in turn leads to faster electronics and lower electricity consumption," he added.
Led by assistant professor of physics Itai Cohen at Cornell, researchers recreated conditions of layer-by-layer crystalline growth using particles much bigger than atoms, but still small enough that they behave like atoms.
Similar to using beach balls to model the behavior of sand, scientists used a solution of tiny plastic spheres 50 times smaller than a human hair to reproduce the conditions that lead to crystallization on the atomic scale.
With this precise modeling, they could watch how crystalline sheets grow.
Using an optical microscope, the scientists could watch exactly what their "atoms", which were actually micron-sized silica particles suspended in fluid, did as they crystallized.
They were also able to manipulate single particles one at a time and test conditions that lead to smooth crystal growth.
"These particles are big and slow enough that you can see what's going on in real time," explained graduate student Mark Buckley.
Watching them, researchers discovered that the random darting motion of a particle is a key factor that affects how crystals grow.
"If the principles we have uncovered can be applied to the atomic scale, scientists will be able to better control the growth of thin films used to manufacture electronic components for our computers and cell phones," Cohen said. (ANI)