Researchers Report Major Advance in Semiconductor Materials

Researchers have for the first time experimentally discovered that a cubic boron arsenide crystal offers high carrier mobility for both electrons and holes – the two ways in which a charge is carried in a semiconducting material – suggesting a major advance for next-generation electronics. While earlier predictions had theorized that the crystal could exhibit simultaneously high electron and hole mobility, one of two papers published July 22 in the journal Science shows that researchers were able to experimentally validate the high carrier mobility at room temperature, expanding its potential use in commercial applications. Researchers from across the United States, including the University of Houston, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Texas at Austin and Boston College, were involved in the work. An accompanying paper in the July 22 edition of Science describes the use of transient reflectivity microscopy to measure the crystal, demonstrating the high mobility and in some cases, when a higher-energy laser beam was used, exceeding previous predictions. That work was done by researchers from UH and from the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing, along with several other institutions in China. 

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