Good vibrations lead to better electronics

A team of researchers led by electrical and computer engineering professor Philip Cohen has "tuned" laser beams to the natural vibrations of atoms and used the lasers to rid silicon crystals of hydrogen—a crucial step in manufacturing computer chips. Because the researchers accomplished this feat without heating the crystals and introducing defects into their structure, they have broken a major barrier to producing semiconductor devices more cheaply and efficiently.

Their research is described in the May 19 issue of Science. The researchers have begun the process of patenting the technology.

"We're doing chemistry with a scalpel," says Cohen. "We can break just the [chemical bonds] we want."

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