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  • Researchers can identify chip defects at atomic level

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    Physicists at Michigan State University have developed a technique that uses high-resolution microscopy and ultrafast lasers to detect atomic defects in semiconductors.

    With this breakthrough, the team believes it found a solution to one of the key challenges that comes with miniaturising electronics down to the atomic level: developing tools that can analyse the materials with nanoscale precision. This new method, described in the journal Nature Photonics, can spot misfit atoms in semiconductors with unparalleled precision by employing lasers to observe electron movement

    “These nanoscopic materials are the future of semiconductors,” said said Tyler Cocker, the Jerry Cowen Endowed Chair in Experimental Physics and leader of the new study. “When you have nanoscale electronics, it’s really important to make sure that electrons can move the way you want them to.”

    Defects play a big part in that electron motion, which is why a technique is needed to identify where they are located and how they behave. Cocker says the technique is straightforward to implement with the right equipment and his team is already applying it to atomically thin materials like graphene nanoribbons.

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