It only makes sense that if you were making solar cells or computer chips that you would choose the best materials for those tasks. It's a no-brainer, right? The problem is that the best materials might be very expensive to use.
Such has been the case with gallium arsenide, but this may be changing.
Bruce Clemens and Garrett Hayes have developed a new way of making chips from gallium arsenide that brings down the cost considerably. They created a video that describes a new manufacturing process, and they have preserved that video in the Stanford Digital Repository for you to download and watch!
Gallium arsenide is a semiconductor that performs better than silicon in many applications -- including in solar cells and other electronic devices. But silicon has been the material of choice for years because of the cost-effective methods for producing silicon chips. Gallium arsenide may have been better, but it was just too expensive to use.
The research, published recently in MRS Communications, describes how the expensive gallium arsenide wafers used in the manufacturing process can be reused to create more circuits, instead of being discarded or consumed every time. This significantly decreases the cost per chip of making gallium arsenide devices.
Read more about their research in the Stanford Report.