May 16, 2012Science and Technology
Electrons need smooth sailing to navigate semiconductors

A new study has found that small bumps have an unexpectedly large effect on the paths that electrons follow on the semiconductor gallium arsenide. This nano-effect is of significant interest towards future developing computing technologies, an international team of physicists has proven in theory. The team includes colleagues from the University of Oregon and the Niels Bohr Institute and Cambridge University. "Scaled down a million-fold from the local bar variety, these microscopic pool tables are cooled to just above absolute zero to study fundamental science, for example, how classical chaos theory works in the quantum mechanical limit, as well as questions with useful application, such as how the wave-like nature of the electron affects how transistors work," says team member Professor Adam Micolich. This would deduce that impurities in a semiconductor could prove to be a challenge.

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