Better and more energy efficient semiconductor chip manufacturing processes are now possible. (news release at physics web) The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University College London, has used nanotechnology techniques to successfully induce the oxidation of silicon at room temperatures using light from ultraviolet (UV) excimer lamps, instead of high-temperature, energy-hungry furnaces. The discovery also opens up new possibilities for using light instead of heat to fabricate advanced electronic devices, as well as creating the opportunity to realise completely new materials with unique properties.
UPDATE: More information from the bbc news
The ultraviolet light causes oxygen molecules to break apart
Thanks to nanotech-now for finding this article.
Discussion of diamond semiconductors and logjam of innovation
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