The Atomic Landscape

 

Lab research

 

The atomic landscape may seem as remote as a moonscape. But the activity that takes place in this submicron world is anything but distant to everyday life; it is foundational to electronics. CSL's research in the 1990s included work at the atomic level.

Fountain of Youth for Chips
Researchers discovered that processing microchips with deuterium, rather than hydrogen (the standard process), significantly improved the reliability of microchip circuits. Deuterium can also extend the lifetime of chips between 10 and 50 times.

Atomic Long Jumps
CSL was the first to document that atoms can make long jumps, moving more than one atomic space at a time.

Gallium Nitride and Blue Lasers
CSL pioneered the growth of gallium nitride by molecular beam epitaxy. Using dual plasma nitrogen sources, researchers achieved a gallium nitride growth rate of over 0.5 micrometers per hour.

Gallium nitride is an essential semiconductor material for the fabrication of blue lasers. Blue lasers are used to increase the density of storage on DVDs and CD-ROMS, as well as for energy-efficient lighting.

Quantum Wire Lasers
Researchers developed the first self-assembled quantum wire laser that emits in the visible spectrum range. Quantum wire lasers have important applications in fiber communication.

Quantum Dots
Researchers developed techniques to fabricate and simulate quantum dots for single-electron charging and spin-control effects.

A quantum dot is the ultimate in nanoscale devices - a single electron confined in a zero-dimensional box. Researchers hope that by manipulating the spin of single electrons, these electrons can be used to encode and store information - an ultra-small transistor, so to speak. A quantum dot would make the transistors of the 90s seem as large and bulky as the vacuum tubes of the 50s.