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MRS Communications Publishes New Manufacturing Process from Stanford Which Could Yield Better Solar Cells, Faster Chips

March 26, 2015
Press & Public Relations Contact:

Ryan Rebholz
Communications Manager
Materials Research Society

WARRENDALE, PA—The upcoming issue of MRS Communications features a paper from Stanford researchers Garrett Hayes and Bruce Clemens who describe a new manufacturing process that could make gallium arsenide, a silicon alternative, more cost effective. 

Hayes and Clemens have invented a manufacturing process that could dramatically reduce the cost of making gallium arsenide electronic devices and thus open up new uses for them, notably inside solar panels.

Silicon and gallium arsenide both begin their progression from raw crystal to electronic device similarly. Both materials are fashioned into what electronics manufacturers call wafers.  These are flat, circular platters of purified material. Subsequent manufacturing steps create computer chips, solar cells or other electronic devices on top of these wafers.

But it can cost about $5,000 to make a wafer of gallium arsenide eight-inches in diameter, versus $5 for a silicon wafer, according to Aneesh Nainani, who teaches semiconductor manufacturing at Stanford. Nainani also works as a technologist for Applied Materials, a company that develops the equipment used to fabricate chips, solar cells and other finished electronic devices.  He is not connected with the experiment.

The new Stanford process seeks to lessen this thousand-to-one cost differential by reusing that $5,000 wafer.

Peter F. Green, editor-in-chief of MRS Communications, explains: "This accomplishment paves the way to finally realize the promise of gallium arsenide-based devices. The publication is an excellent example of the broader technological impact of basic research in materials science and is an important objective of MRS Communications."

The MRS Communications is a leading scientific journal published jointly by the Materials Research Society and Cambridge University Press.

The paper can be accessed, free of charge, at journals.cambridge.org/HayesClemensthrough April 30, 2015.

About Cambridge Journals
Cambridge Journals publishes over 340 peer-reviewed academic journals across a wide spread of subject areas, in print and online. Many of these journals are the leading academic publications in their fields and together they form one of the most valuable and comprehensive bodies of research available today. For further information, go to journals.cambridge.org.

About Cambridge University Press 
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Dedicated to excellence, its purpose is to further the University's objective of advancing knowledge, education, learning, and research. Its extensive peer-reviewed publishing lists comprise 36,000 titles covering academic research, professional development, nearly 300 research journals, school-level education, English language teaching and bible publishing. For further information, please go to www.cambridge.org.

About the Materials Research Society

MRS is an organization of over 13,000 materials researchers from academia, industry and government worldwide, and a recognized leader in promoting the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research and technology to improve the quality of life. MRS members are students and professionals hailing from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and engineering—the full spectrum of materials research. Headquartered in Warrendale, Pennsylvania (USA), MRS membership now spans 90 countries, with approximately 45 percent of members residing outside the United States.

MRS serves and engages members across generations to advance their careers and promote materials research and innovation. The Society produces high-quality meetings and publications, assuring that members of all career stages can present and publish their most important and timely work to an international and interdisciplinary audience. MRS continues to expand its professional development portfolio, as well as promote diversity and inclusion in the scientific workforce, with career services for researchers worldwide. The Society advocates for the importance of scientific research and innovation to policymakers and the community. And the MRS Awards program honors those whose work has already had a major impact in the field, as well as those whose work shows great promise for future leadership.

For more information about the Materials Research Society visit mrs.org and follow @Materials_MRS.