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article imageOxide and semiconductors herald new electronic devices

By Tim Sandle     Jan 28, 2018 in Technology
New Haven - A science team has shown how bringing together an oxide and a semiconductor into a unique combination holds promise for the creation of a new generation of electronic devices.
The combination, developed by Yale University scientists, is a special type of insulating oxide fashioned to create a two-dimensional electron gas.
The technological basis is with insulating oxides. These are oxygen containing compounds which cannot conduct electricity. However there are capable of forming conductive interfaces. Achieving this comes down to how the oxides are layered together.
In experiments, researchers have shown how the conducting electrons at the interface of the layered compound can form a two-dimensional electron gas. This gas has unusual quantum properties, which makes the system very useful when applied to both electronics and photonics.
In laboratory studies, the Yale researchers have grown a two-dimensional electron gas on the semiconductor gallium arsenide. This semiconductor is highly efficient at absorbing and emitting light.
What is happening scientifically is that the sandwiching together of two layers of insulating oxides leads to the alteration of conducting electrons so that they behave like a gas or liquid close to the interface between the oxides. In this state the electrons can transport information. Furthermore, test systems appear to exhibit the twin-properties of magnetic behaviors and superconductivity.
A future application is with electronic devices that are designed to interact with light. Examples include various transistors, superconducting switches, and gas sensors. Other applications include field effect transistors spintronic devices, charge modulation devices, superconducting switches and devices, resistive switching and photodetectors.
Speaking with Controlled Environments magazine, lead researcher Dr. Lior Kornblum adds to the application scope: “I see this as a building block for oxide electronics.”
A major limitation will be with mass producing the oxides. The next phase of the research is to grow up oxide crystals on commercially sustainable semiconductor wafers. This will tailor the way for real-world applications.
The findings have been published in the Journal of Applied Physics. The research paper is titled “Oxide Heterostrutures for High Density 2D Electron Gases on GaAs.”
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