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Light From Silicon

For decades, silicon was a semiconducting dim bulb, but now we can make it into LEDs that match the best made from more exotic materials

10 min read
Illustration: Bryan Christie
Illustration: Bryan Christie

In a lab in Catania, Italy, on a fine day in May 2001, white-coated researchers connected probes to a sliver of semiconductor, turned on the current, and smiled as bright green light poured from the device. Sure, by then the world was already awash in green, blue, and purple light-emitting diodes, all of them fabricated from gallium nitride and other exotic compound semiconductors. But in that lab demo four years ago, the green glow came not from gallium nitride but from silicon. And at the time, most people in the semiconductor industry would have told you that silicon was pretty much worthless at turning electricity into light.

Despite its bad reputation in optoelectronics, silicon is arguably the most important and intensively studied material known to humankind. In the five decades since the invention of the silicon transistor, electronics and integrated circuits made from the material have comprehensively transformed the world, from the way we work and communicate to how we shop and entertain ourselves.

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The Aftershocks of the EV Transition Could Be Ugly

To avoid unintended consequences, bring realism to the table

10 min read
CEO of Dodge Brand standing on a podium next to a Dodge Charger Daytone SRT concept all-electric muscle car. Behind him a giant screen displaying the sentence: The Rules Have Changed.

Tim Kuniskis, CEO of Dodge Brand, Stellantis, introduces the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept all-electric muscle car on August 17, 2022 in Pontiac, Michigan.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The introduction of any new system causes perturbations within the current operating environment, which in turn, create behavioral responses, some predictable, many not. As University of Michigan professor emeritus and student of system-human interactions John Leslie King observes “People find ways to use systems for their own benefit not anticipated by designers and developers. Their behavior might even be contradictory to hoped-for outcomes.”

“Change rides on the rails of what doesn’t change,” King notes, “including people being self-serving.”

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How to Stake Electronic Components Using Adhesives

Staking provides extra mechanical support for various electronic parts

2 min read
Adhesive staking of DIP component on a circuit board using Master Bond EP17HTDA-1.

The main use for adhesive staking is to provide extra mechanical support for electronic components and other parts that may be damaged due to vibration, shock, or handling.

Master Bond

This is a sponsored article brought to you by Master Bond.

Sensitive electronic components and other parts that may be damaged due to vibration, shock, or handling can often benefit from adhesive staking. Staking provides additional mechanical reinforcement to these delicate pieces.

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