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News Article | May 26, 2017
Site: phys.org

What is a quantum computer? An ordinary computer works with bits with a single binary value, either zero or one. By contrast, a quantum bit, or qubit, can store a zero, a one, both zero and one, or an infinite number of values in between. That increases enormously the capacities of calculations. We are still at the beginning of this new era of computing, and there are many ways to use this new technology that have yet to be discovered. For example, the factorisation of very large prime numbers, a task which is closely related to cryptography and security of passwords, could be one of the many possible uses of quantum computers. According to Professor Sabrina Maniscalco, who heads the Turku Quantum Technology group in Finland, "The most famous quantum algorithm is Shor's algorithm. This algorithm, if running on a quantum computer, factorises integer numbers into prime factors faster than any known classical algorithm. This is remarkable, as the slowness of prime factorisation is the basis of currently used methods to decipher messages." But there are many other possible uses of this new technology. According to recent study reported in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, "The availability of a universal quantum computer may have a fundamental impact on a vast number of research fields and on society as a whole. An increasingly large scientific and industrial community is working toward the realization of such a device." Computing giants Google and Microsoft are investing a lot of money in this research field. By using quantum physics in computers, scientists could also simulate chemical reactions in order to facilitate drug design and improve machine learning. Scientists are even imagining the possibility of actual quantum bits transmitted between individual quantum computing modules with connections created by electric fields. The aim would be to obtain a large-scale, modular machine with an impressive computational capacity. Professor Sabrina Maniscalco joined the QuProCS project, under the European Union programme Future Emerging Technologies (FET). The project develops a radical new approach to probe complex quantum systems for quantum simulations. "A quantum computer would be mainly used for the same tasks as we currently use computers for. It would just be much faster. For that reason, we could solve computational problems that we cannot with any traditional computer," says Maniscalco. "But a full size quantum computer is still under development. It may become reality sooner than we dared to expect." Finally, through quantum computing, scientists dream of investigating answers to ultimate questions such as the birth of life or the origin of the universe. Explore further: Five ways quantum computing will change the way we think about computing More information: Bjoern Lekitsch et al. Blueprint for a microwave trapped ion quantum computer, Science Advances (2017). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601540


Home > Press > Graphene and quantum dots put in motion a CMOS-integrated camera that can see the invisible Abstract: Over the past 40 years, microelectronics have advanced by leaps and bounds thanks to silicon and CMOS (Complementary metal-oxide semiconductors) technology, making possible computing, smartphones, compact and low-cost digital cameras, as well as most of the electronic gadgets we rely on today. ICFO researchers have developed the first graphene -- quantum dots -- CMOS integrated based camera, capable of imaging visible and infrared light at the same time. The camera will be useful for many applications that include night vision, food inspection, fire control, vision under extreme weather conditions, to name a few. The imaging system is based on the first monolithic integration of graphene and quantum dot photodetectors with a CMOS read-out integrated circuit. It has proven to be easy and cheap to fabricate at room temperature and under ambient conditions, allowing for low-cost mass-production. Credit: ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences However, the diversification of this platform into applications other than microcircuits and visible light cameras has been impeded by the difficulty to combine semiconductors other than silicon with CMOS. This obstacle has now been overcome. ICFO researchers have shown for the first time the monolithic integration of a CMOS integrated circuit with graphene, resulting in a high-resolution image sensor consisting of hundreds of thousands of photodetectors based on graphene and quantum dots (QD). They operated it as a digital camera that is highly sensitive to UV, visible and infrared light at the same time. This has never been achieved before with existing imaging sensors. In general, this demonstration of monolithic integration of graphene with CMOS enables a wide range of optoelectronic applications, such as low-power optical data communications and compact and ultra sensitive sensing systems. The study was published in Nature Photonics, and highlighted on the front cover image. The work was carried out by ICFO researchers Stijn Goossens, Gabriele Navickaite, Carles Monasterio, Schuchi Gupta, Juan Jose Piqueras, Raul Perez, Gregory Burwell, Ivan Nitkitsky, Tania Lasanta, Teresa Galan, Eric Puma, and led by ICREA Professors Frank Koppens and Gerasimos Konstantatos, in collaboration with the company Graphenea. The graphene-QD image sensor was fabricated by taking PbS colloidal quantum dots, depositing them onto the CVD graphene and subsequently depositing this hybrid system onto a CMOS wafer with image sensor dies and a read-out circuit. As Stijn Goossens comments, "No complex material processing or growth processes were required to achieve this graphene-quantum dot CMOS image sensor. It proved easy and cheap to fabricate at room temperature and under ambient conditions, which signifies a considerable decrease in production costs. Even more, because of its properties, it can be easily integrated on flexible substrates as well as CMOS-type integrated circuits." As ICREA Prof. at ICFO Gerasimos Konstantatos, expert in quantum dot-graphene research comments, "we engineered the QDs to extend to the short infrared range of the spectrum (1100-1900nm), to a point where we were able to demonstrate and detect the night glow of the atmosphere on a dark and clear sky enabling passive night vision. This work shows that this class of phototransistors may be the way to go for high sensitivity, low-cost, infrared image sensors operating at room temperature addressing the huge infrared market that is currently thirsty for cheap technologies". "The development of this monolithic CMOS-based image sensor represents a milestone for low-cost, high-resolution broadband and hyperspectral imaging systems" ICREA Prof. at ICFO Frank Koppens highlights. He assures that "in general, graphene-CMOS technology will enable a vast amount of applications, that range from safety, security, low cost pocket and smartphone cameras, fire control systems, passive night vision and night surveillance cameras, automotive sensor systems, medical imaging applications, food and pharmaceutical inspection to environmental monitoring, to name a few". This project is currently incubating in ICFO's Launchpad. The team is working with the institute's tech transfer professionals to bring this breakthrough along with its full patent portfolio of imaging and sensing technologies to the market. ### This research has been partially supported by the European Graphene Flagship, European Research Council, the Government of Catalonia, Fundació Cellex and the Severo Ochoa Excellence program of the Government of Spain. About ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences ICFO was created in 2002 by the government of Catalonia and the Technical University of Catalonia as a centre of research excellence devoted to the science and technologies of light with a triple mission: to conduct frontier research, train the next generation of scientists, and provide knowledge and technology transfer. Today, it is one of the top research centres worldwide in its category as measured by international rankings. Research at ICFO targets the forefront of science and technology based on light with programs directed at applications in Health, Renewable Energies, Information Technologies, Security and Industrial processes, among others. The institute hosts 400 professionals based in a dedicated building situated in the Mediterranean Technology Park in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. ICFO participates in a large number of projects and international networks of excellence and is host to the NEST program that is financed by Fundación Privada Cellex Barcelona. Ground-breaking research in graphene is being carried out at ICFO and through key collaborative research partnerships such as the FET Graphene Flagship. ICREA Professor at ICFO and NEST Fellow Frank Koppens is the leader of the Optoelectonics work package within the Flagship program. For more information, please click If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.


Houston, Texas headquartered Forum Energy Technologies Inc.'s stock finished Wednesday's session 1.81% lower at $16.84 with a total trading volume of 563,884 shares. The Company's shares are trading 8.44% below their 50-day moving average. Shares of the Company, which designs, manufactures, and distributes products to the oil and natural gas industry in the US and internationally, have a Relative Strength Index (RSI) of 49.58. On April 27th, 2017, the Company announced Q1 2017 results. Revenue for the quarter was $171 million; net loss was $16 million, or $0.16 per diluted share; and adjusted net loss, excluding $2 million or $0.02 per share of special items, was $0.14 per diluted share. New inbound orders in Q1 2017 were $194 million, a 6% increase from Q4 2016, resulting in a book to bill ratio of 113%. On May 16th, 2017, research firm JP Morgan upgraded the Company's stock rating from 'Underweight' to 'Neutral'. FET complete research report is just a click away at: On Wednesday, shares in Houston, Texas-based Keane Group Inc. recorded a trading volume of 465,997 shares. The stock ended the session 0.37% higher at $16.16. The Company's shares have advanced 15.02% in the last one month. The stock is trading 10.01% above its 50-day moving average. Moreover, shares of Keane, which provides full-service completions that include hydraulic fracturing, wireline, coiled tubing, and nitrogen units, have an RSI of 67.58. On April 26th, 2017, research firm R. F. Lafferty initiated a 'Buy' rating on the Company's stock, with a target price of $22 per share. On May 18th, 2017, Keane Group announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire RockPile Energy Services, LLC, a provider of high-quality completion services. Once completed, the transaction will result in an increase in the size of Keane's fleet, one of the largest and most modern pressure pumping fleets in the US, by 26% with approximately 1.2-million total hydraulic fracturing horsepower strategically located across the most prolific U.S. shale basins. The complimentary report on FRAC can be downloaded at: Houston, Texas headquartered C&J Energy Services Inc.'s shares closed the day 1.06% lower at $34.60. The stock recorded a trading volume of 436,888 shares. The Company's shares have gained 11.40% in the last month. The stock is trading 4.55% above its 50-day moving average. Additionally, shares of C&J Energy Services, which provides completion and production services for oil and gas industry primarily in North America, have an RSI of 62.21. On May 09th, 2017, the Company announced its financial and operating results for Q1 2017 ended March 31st, 2017. Revenue for the quarter was $314.2 million; net loss was $(32.3) million, or $(0.58) per diluted share; and adjusted EBITDA totaled $4.6 million. Selling, general and administrative expense for Q1 2017 was $62.1 million; research and development expense was $1.2 million; and depreciation and amortization expense was $31.6 million. On May 16th, 2017, research firm Citigroup initiated a 'Buy' rating on the Company's stock, with a target price of $40 per share. Sign up for your complimentary report on CJ at: Shares in Fort Worth, Texas headquartered Emerge Energy Services L.P. finished 1.86% lower at $12.15. The stock recorded a trading volume of 307,164 shares. The Company's shares are trading below their 50-day moving average by 5.51%. Furthermore, shares of Emerge Energy Services, which through its subsidiary, Superior Silica Sands LLC, operates an energy services company in the US, have an RSI of 47.94. On May 03rd, 2017, Emerge Energy Services announced Q1 2017 financial and operating results. The Company reported net loss of $(11.4) million, adjusted EBITDA of $0.1 million, and distributable cash flow of $(4.2) million for the quarter. Net loss, net loss per diluted unit, and adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended March 31st, 2016, were $(34.2) million, $(1.41) per diluted unit, and $(9.5) million, respectively. On May 04th, 2017, research firm Stifel upgraded the Company's stock rating from 'Hold' to 'Buy' while revising its previous target price from $14 a share to $16 a share. Download the research report for free on EMES at: Stock Callers (SC) produces regular sponsored and non-sponsored reports, articles, stock market blogs, and popular investment newsletters covering equities listed on NYSE and NASDAQ and micro-cap stocks. SC has two distinct and independent departments. 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Safety of 100-plus edible oils thoroughly examined in breakthrough test HONG KONG, CHINA--(Marketwired - May 23, 2017) - Vitargent (International) Biotechnology Ltd. ("Vitargent"), known for applying its proprietary "Transgenic Medaka" and "Zebrafish Fish" Embryo Toxicity (FET) testing technology (Testing 2.0) on food and skincare products, introduces the world's first consumer product safety information platform, Test-it™. The platform uses Testing 2.0 biological testing technology to examine consumer product safety and has published the results of the inaugural test project on 115 types of edible oil originated from Hong Kong, China, Italy, the US and other countries. Test results put 49 types of oil in the Green Fish category, denoting the products are excellent in terms of safety; 23 in the Yellow Fish category, indicating their safety level is basic, and 43 are categorized as Red Fish, with safety at sub-optimal standards. More than 70% of the olive oil samples are categorized as Red Fish, and edible oils from Europe turned out to have the lowest performance, with more than 50% of the samples categorized as Red Fish. Test-it™ hailed as world's first product safety information platform Pioneered by Vitargent, Test-it™ (on www.fishqc.com) is hailed as the first in the world to use Testing 2.0 bio-testing technology on consumer products and provide information on consumer product safety. The technology uses fish embryos to examine product toxicity, an increasingly adopted means for toxicity screening. The goal is to enhance the transparency of consumer product safety and help consumers make informed safer product choices based on objective scientific data. Vitargent's Founder and Chief Commercial Officer Eric Chen said: "Traditional Testing 1.0 and existing regulations only set the basic requirements for market entry. Test-it™ regularly samples different food items and daily necessities, by purchasing them from supermarkets, chain stores and online stores as a consumer. After Testing 2.0 screening, individual products are categorized as Green Fish, Yellow Fish or Red Fish to help consumers identify product safety." Test-it™ benchmarks against the international product safety standards of the European Union (EU), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as well as the national safety standards of the US, Japan and China. Horizontal analyses against similar products are also conducted. Vitargent's Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Tao said: "Test-it™ is intended to commend excellent companies and products, and motivate below-standard companies and brands to actively improve their production process. This will give consumers greater confidence in making purchases and help brands develop long-term benefits. In the initial stage, Test-it™ will publish all Green Fish (excellent) products, and will contact the product manufacturers and suppliers of Yellow Fish and Red Fish products to discuss improvement plans." Test-it™ releases safety findings of 100-plus edible oils The first type of Test-it™ product is edible oil, a daily necessity marred by gutter oil scandals. Vitargent purchased 115 types of edible oil from major supermarket chains, including ParknShop, Wellcome, DCH Food Mart, AEON, City'Super, Fusion and Market Place by Jasons. Samples included products of internationally renowned brands such as Knife Oil, Filippo Berio, Lion & Globe, Casino and others from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Italy, the US and other countries. Based on the test results, 49 of the 115 samples are categorized as Green Fish, 23 as Yellow Fish and 43 as Red Fish. Vitargent tested 14 categories of commonly used edible oils. The test showed that coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil and sesame oil, generally believed to be healthier by Hong Kong consumers, had below average results. Only one out of 5 coconut oil samples, or 20%, is categorized as Green Fish, while 2 samples (40%) are Yellow Fish and 2 (40%) are Red Fish. Similarly, only 7 out of 44 olive oil samples tested (16%) are Green Fish, 7 (16%) are Yellow Fish, and 30 (68%) are Red Fish. All the flaxseed oil, Canola oil and sesame oil tested are categorized Red Fish. Edible oils from Europe categorized lowest, and price does not reflect safety By production origin, edible oils made in Europe are lowest in ranking. More than half of the tested products (57%) are Red Fish, and only 26% are categorized Green Fish. Oils made in Asia performed better. About 20% of the Hong Kong brands in the test are Red Fish while more than 50% are categorized Green Fish, which are safe choices for consumers. The test results also show that expensive oil may not be safer. The median price of the 115 samples is HK$87.4 per litre. Of the 40 brands priced at above $130 per litre, six are categorized Green Fish, five Yellow Fish and 29 Red Fish. Of the 31 samples in the price range of $50-$130 per litre, 13 are categorized Green Fish, eight Yellow Fish and 10 Red Fish. Among the 44 samples priced below HK$50 per litre, 30 are categorized Green Fish, 10 Yellow Fish and four Red Fish. The cheapest oil costs $15 per litre while the most expensive oil, from Italy, costs 140 times more at HK$2,084 per litre. In the random sampling, two edible oil samples that Vitargent bought off the shelf had passed their use-by date. One of these samples is categorized Red Fish, indicating toxicity level higher than some known gutter oil. Test-it™ technology surpasses standard edible oil indicators Mr Tao was astounded by the results. "Theoretically, edible oils in the market should have passed traditional regulatory checks before they were put on the shelf. However, Test-it™ shows up all toxicants in the products," he said. "Under current regulations, edible oil is tested for a limited number of factors such as Benzo(a)pyrene, aflatoxins, acid value, peroxide value, total polar compounds and heavy metals. However, there may be other substances such as highly toxic lipid peroxidation products, pesticide residue, plant toxins and preservatives not covered by the regulatory standards. Excessive intake of these substances may have adverse effects on the human body, or cause cancer over the long-term. Test-it™ uses cutting-edge biological testing technology to cover extra potential harmful substances outside of the regulatory standards. This contributes to enhancing consumer product safety significantly." Revolutionary Testing 2.0 technology traces all harmful substances The general public is deeply concerned with food and consumer products safety as scandals of rotten meat, gutter oil, high lead content in drinking water and cancer-causing substances in skincare and cosmetics continue to make headlines. WHO and UN reports suggest we are surrounded by more than 100,000 chemicals in our daily life1. Some are linked with health problems like cancer, infertility, precocious puberty, obesity, neurological disorders2. However, the precision rate of traditional chemical toxicity testing, still at the Testing 1.0 level, is as low as 20%3. Due to cost and time constraints, only 5 to 10 toxicants can be screened at one time through such traditional test methods. Other harmful substances not covered by standard testing will be missed in the screening. This means products that have passed traditional testing methods may still contain harmful substances not covered by existing screening practices. This may pose serious threats to consumers. Prof. Ian Cotgreave, advisor of Vitargent's international scientists committee and professor of toxicology of Karolinska Institutet, said: "The world faces very serious safety problems with food and consumer products. However, existing standard tests fail to effectively screen a number of toxicants and estrogens harmful to public health. Vitargent's patented Zebrafish Embryo Toxicity Test technologies have been extensively applied in pharmaceutical R&D in the past 10 years. As 84% of genes known to be associated with human diseases have a Zebrafish counterpart4, Zebrafish can be used to mimic human metabolic system. Therefore, substances harmful to Zebrafish might also be harmful to human beings. When a Zebrafish embryo is exposed to toxicants, it will develop adverse reaction within 48 hours. Vitargent's Testing 2.0 technology is a new beacon in the world. It can prompt industries to be more conscious of product safety and redefine global consumer product safety rules." Vitargent is the only ISO17025 accredited company in Asia that provides FET testing technologies. The test results are officially recognised in more than 100 countries. The patented technology has been adopted by international certification service SGS and TÜV (Technischer Überwachungsverein). TÜV's executive VP of the food services cluster Stanley Hung welcomed Vitargent's Testing 2.0 technology. "We appreciate Vitargent's leading position in fish embryo testing technologies and how such technologies complement existing chemical testing. We also believe in the capabilities of its international scientists committee and its market development potential. We will endeavour to promote the cutting-edge technologies to different industries and government organisations, and contribute to enhancing overall product safety." Vitargent plans to test a different product category every month in the next 12 months, some examples may include coffee, ice-cream, milk, yogurt, face cream, facial masks, lipstick, lip balm, foundation, toothpaste, baby food and baby skincare products. Results of the tests will be published on the Test-it™ platform. About Vitargent Established in 2010, Vitargent is a startup backed by institutional investors and is shaking up the traditional product testing safety standards. Our vision is "Smarter Testing, Safer Products, Better World". The company's international scientists committee is formed of world-class scientists from the US, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. These committee members join together to establish and promote various international standards. Vitargent is an award-winning company with both local and international recognitions, which include The Grand Prix of the 43rd International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva, HSBC Young Entrepreneur Awards, Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition, Korean Woman Inventor Award, Middle East International Invention Fair Gold Medal, WIPO Gold medal for inventors, Hong Kong Awards for Industries-Technology Achievement, and The Economist Innovation and Awards Summit. Our technology was featured as the only pioneering innovation from Hong Kong at The World Economic Forum. We are recognised as a "Technology Showcase Programme over the past decade" by the Hong Kong government, and Unreasonable Impact Asia Pacific by Unreasonable Group and Barclays. Our mission is to combine our scientific expertise with social responsibility to improve consumer product safety and protect our environment; and to help our clients create differentiation with safer and better products through innovative science, affordable prices and great service. Our team has developed proprietary testing technologies based on transgenic Medaka Fish and Zebrafish embryos. In 2013 Vitargent received the international standard ISO17025 Accreditation, and is the only test centre in Asia that can provide fish embryo toxicity (FET) testing with testing results officially recognised in more than 100 countries. It is now serving international testing organisations, leading international cosmetics groups, food and beverage conglomerates and various government departments around the world. With the firm support of these entities, the technology is being developed as regional and international standards. 1 Substance Registry Services Fact Sheet, available at ofmpub.epa.gov/sor_internet/registry/substreg/educationalresources. 2 WHO & UNEP. State of the science of endocrine disrupting chemicals-2012. Available at http://www.who.int/ceh/publications/endocrine/en/ 3 Frequently asked questions about MICROTOX® for drinking water surveillance. 4 Howe, K. et al. The zebrafish reference genome sequence and its relationship to the human genome. Nature 496, 498-503 (2013). Vitargent genetically transfers Nobel Prize winning fluorescent proteins into Medaka embryos, stabilised to more than 10 generations in eight years. The Transgenic Medaka Eleuthero embryo based Estrogen Equivalent Test is a patented technology exclusive to Vitargent. Estrogenic Endocrine Disruptors (including pesticides, veterinary drugs, antibiotics, hormones, plasticisers, persistent organic pollutants etc) disrupt the endocrine system, confirmed to cause health issues including cancers, infertility, precocious puberty, IQ reduction, neurological disorders and diabetes. WHO, the UN and USEPA believe that endocrine disruptors have become the third leading threat to human, biodiversity and environment, after the greenhouse effect of global warming and depletion of the ozone layer. After pretreatment, samples are tested with transgenic fish embryos. When chronic toxicants are detected, the embryo emits green florescent light in various luminous intensity. Florescence intensity can quantify toxicants, enabling evaluation of human health risks according to WHO/FAO standard. Zebrafish embryo toxicity test technologies made cover story in world-renowned science magazine Nature. According to the National Institutes of Health, 84% of genes known to be associated with human diseases have a Zebrafish counterpart. Therefore, any substance that is toxic to Zebrafish embryos are likely toxic to human. Zebrafish is proven to have a capacity to screen over 1,000 toxicants, and is being widely utilised in biomedical safety and efficacy evaluation. The presence of toxin will cause abnormal symptoms in fish embryos, such as head tumour, tail tumour, heart swelling and even immediate death in serious conditions. After pretreatment, products are tested with Zebrafish embryos to identify the level of concentration that will cause 50% of fatality of embryos in the test (known as LC50). Definition of fatality in the tests is regulated and conforms with ISO15088 and OECD TG236 standards.


EL SEGUNDO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EPC announces the EPC2046 power transistor for use in applications including wireless power, multi-level AC-DC power supplies, robotics, solar micro inverters, and low inductance motor drives. The EPC2046 has a voltage rating of 200 V and maximum R of 25 mΩ with a 55 A pulsed output current. The chip-scale packaging of The EPC2046 handles thermal conditions far better than the plastic packaged MOSFETs since the heat is dissipated directly to the environment with chip-scale devices, whereas the heat from the MOSFET die is held within a plastic package. It measures a mere 0.95 mm x 2.76 mm (2.62 mm2). Designers no longer have to choose between size and performance – they can have both! “Manufactured using our latest fifth-generation process, the EPC2046 demonstrates how EPC and gallium nitride transistor technology is increasing the performance and reducing the cost of eGaN® devices. This opens up entirely new applications beyond the reach of the aging silicon MOSFET and offers a big incentive for users of MOSFETs in existing applications to switch. This latest product is further evidence that the performance and cost gap of eGaN technology with MOSFET technology continues to widen.” said Alex Lidow, EPC’s co-founder and CEO. The EPC9079 development board is a 200 V maximum device voltage, half bridge with onboard gate driver, featuring the EPC2046, onboard gate drive supply and bypass capacitors. This 2” x 1.5” board has been laid out for optimal switching performance and contains all critical components for easy evaluation of the 200 V EPC2046 eGaN FET. The EPC2046 eGaN FETs are priced for 1K units at $3.51 each. The EPC9079 development boards are priced at $118.75 each. Both are available for immediate delivery from Digi-Key at http://www.digikey.com/Suppliers/us/Efficient-Power-Conversion.page?lang=en EPC is the leader in enhancement mode gallium nitride based power management devices. EPC was the first to introduce enhancement-mode gallium-nitride-on-silicon (eGaN) FETs as power MOSFET replacements in applications such as DC-DC converters, wireless power transfer, envelope tracking, RF transmission, power inverters, remote sensing technology (LiDAR), and Class-D audio amplifiers with device performance many times greater than the best silicon power MOSFETs. eGaN is a registered trademark of Efficient Power Conversion Corporation, Inc.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.nature.com

The sensing of infrared radiation enables optical communications, night vision, health monitoring, spectroscopy and object inspection6. For this reason, many efforts have sought to integrate infrared detection onto silicon to combine infrared sensing with state-of-the-art electronics7. The ideal infrared photodetector must combine a fast response, high responsivity and low power consumption with facile fabrication8. Early efforts in this direction based on epitaxial semiconductors such as III-V and germanium4, 5, 9 added complexity in the fabrication process due to epitaxial crystal growth requirements and the need to mitigate silicon contamination and doping8. Recently, black silicon was reported—an infrared-sensitive material obtained using laser treatment of the silicon surface10, 11, 12. However, this technology suffers from low responsivity (10−2−10−1 A W−1) at infrared wavelengths10. Colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) have enabled photodetectors13 that benefit from infrared sensitivity, high light absorption14, wavelength tunability15, low cost and room-temperature solution processing. However, CQDs have yet to be integrated successfully with silicon. In a heterojunction photodiode16 or traditional photo-field-effect transistor (photo-FET), modest transport in the quantum dot solid limits the performance of the device. A new architecture is required that is not curtailed by the photoconductive effect—a mechanism that produces photodetectors that are either responsive but slow, or fast but unresponsive17. Here we present a Si:CQD photovoltage field-effect transistor (PVFET). It exploits a photovoltage that arises at the Si:CQD interface to control junction electrostatics. As a result, it modulates the conductivity of the silicon channel in proportion to incident light at wavelengths below that of the bandgap of silicon. The Si:CQD PVFET shows high responsivity in the infrared (1,300 nm and 1,500 nm) in excess of 104 A W−1, a response that is faster than 10 μs, and dark current densities of 10−1−101 A cm−2 for a gate–source voltage of V  = 0–3 V. We explain and demonstrate the physical principles that govern the operation of the PVFET using simulations and analytical models, and show the potential of the device when fabricated using the state-of-the-art silicon techniques currently employed in the electronics industry. In Fig. 1a we show the structure of the Si:CQD PVFET. A lightly p−-type silicon channel is epitaxially grown on an n+ silicon substrate that acts as a gate. The channel is contacted with ohmic aluminium source and drain (see Supplementary Information section S1). A thin n-doped CQD film is deposited on top of the silicon channel, creating an infrared-photosensitive gate. The source and drain were covered with a thick layer of insulating silicon nitride to prevent electrical contact between the photogate and the aluminium. The means of deposition of the CQD layer is crucial to the operation of the device. The rectifying Si:CQD junction relies on the passivation of surface traps and providing energetic alignment between the two semiconductors. In the absence of judiciously engineered heterointerface passivation, the two semiconductors fail to produce an efficient rectifying heterojunction16. Figure 1e shows the transverse energy band diagram of the PVFET: the thin (1.6 μm) silicon p-doped layer is sandwiched between two n-type rectifying junctions and is therefore depleted at equilibrium (in the dark). Simulations (Fig. 1c, d) illustrate the working principles of the device. Upon optical illumination using 1,300-nm incident radiation (Fig. 1c), photocarriers are generated exclusively within the CQD solid. This produces a photovoltage at the interface via the photovoltaic effect—the same effect that produces an open-circuit voltage in solar cells. In the PVFET, this effective bias shrinks the depletion region and thereby increases the extent of the (undepleted) channel in the silicon. Figure 1d shows the density of holes (majority carriers) in the silicon channel in the dark and under 1,300-nm illumination. We analyse the operation of the PVFET to further explain the physical mechanisms that govern its behaviour and compare its performance with that of other photodetector architectures (Fig. 2). The gain as a function of the dark current for the PVFET, photodiodes, photoconductors and photo-FETs have been analysed (Fig. 2a). Photoconductors and photo-FETs (that is, previously developed CQD-based phototransistors) are treated together because the gain mechanism that governs these devices is the same: trap-assisted photoconductivity18, 19. Diodes do not produce gain20; photoconductors and photo-FETs have a linear relationship between photoconductive gain G and dark current I : G  = τ /τ , where τ is the trap lifetime and τ is the transit time within the channel, which is related to I through the electrical mobility (see Supplementary Information). The gain can be increased by decreasing the transit time, that is, by using a high-mobility channel (for example, graphene18); however, doing so increases the dark current. In the PVFET, gain is adjusted by tuning the doping of the channel; the effect of the gate allows high gain at low dark current. The gain produced by the PVFET is hν/q × V g /P (see Supplementary Information section S3) where h is the Planck constant, ν is the optical frequency, q is the elemental charge, V is the photovoltage, P is the incident optical power and g is the transconductance of the PVFET, which is defined as g  = dI /dV , where I is the source–drain current. We compared this analytical model to fully self-consistent numerical simulations (TCAD) and found good agreement, especially at high current (Fig. 2a); the analytical model does not accurately capture the subthreshold regime. Gain based on photovoltage and transconductance is distinct from photoconductive gain. It enables simultaneously high signal amplification and rapid response20 (Fig. 2c). Whereas photoconductors and photo-FETs are limited in speed by τ , and rely on traps to produce gain13, the bandwidth of the PVFET is instead determined by the total capacitance, resulting in an operating frequency of f = g /C , where C is the total capacitance. As can be seen in Fig. 2c, whereas gain is generated in photoconductors and photo-FETs at the expense of speed (CQD photo-FETs are typically limited to response times in the range 0.001–1 s owing to the required high values of τ )19, 21, in the PVFET, high gain (high g ) leads to a rapid response time. This gain mechanism allows for a large G  × BW product, as shown in Fig. 2b. Here, we achieve experimentally a G  × BW product of 104 × 105 s−1 and we show (Fig. 2c), using the model of gain and bandwidth (see Supplementary Information section S9 for details of the model), that this value can in principle be further increased towards 105 × 108 s−1. The performance of the PVFET depends strongly on the quality of the Si:CQD rectifying junction (Supplementary Information sections S4, S11 and S12). The photovoltage that arises at the heterojunction interface is crucially determined—as in a solar cell, which also relies on the photovoltaic effect—by the rectification ratio of the junction; therefore, it is important to minimize the reverse saturation current of the junction (see Supplementary Information section S3). The PVFET converts the photovoltage signal to a photocurrent through the transconductance, which, in a junction transistor, also depends on the quality of the heterojunction. A highly rectifying, trap-free heterointerface must be engineered to produce efficient PVFETs. This approach distinguishes the device from previously reported photo-FETs based on CQDs. In these devices, gain comes from trap-assisted photoconduction; that is, the traps provided by the CQD film are responsible for the long lifetime of the photocarriers recirculating in a high-mobility channel (for example, graphene or MoS ). This produces a gain of τ /τ (the ratio between the lifetime of the CQD trap and the transit time of the charge in the channel). These devices do not require a rectifying photogate and their gain arises not from a transistor effect, but from a photoconductive one. We fabricated Si:CQD PVFETs and characterized their performance. First, we investigated the spectral response of the detector. We report the gain (Fig. 3a; defined as the external quantum efficiency, which is given by the ratio between the numbers of photocarriers and incident photons) as a function of the wavelength. The device produces a gain of about 6 × 104 at the exciton. The excitonic peak (at either 1,300 nm or 1,500 nm) is characteristic of the CQD solid, and its energy is determined by the effect of quantum confinement, with greater spatial confinement increasing the effective bandgap of the CQD solid22. In Fig. 3a we compare the detector to a PVFET that lacks a CQD photogate (a silicon-only device), and to black silicon photodetectors12. The sensitivity of the silicon-only device vanishes beyond the bandgap of silicon at 1,100 nm. The gain of the PVFET remains high, owing to the high absorption of the CQD photogate at these longer wavelengths. The comparison with black silicon photodetectors reveals a responsivity at infrared wavelengths that is five orders of magnitude higher in the case of the PVFET. We further characterized the PVFET, measuring its responsivity at 1,300 nm as a function of incident power. The gain of 104 at low intensity begins to roll off near about 2 × 10−5 W cm−2. Figure 3b shows this result, along with that predicted using the analytical model, in which the responsivity is calculated as g V /P . The device exhibits gain compression at high illumination, requiring offline nonlinearity correction, but also enabling increased dynamic range21. The responsivity of the PVFET as a function of V and source–drain voltage V (Fig. 3c) saturates for V  > 2 V, which corresponds to the saturation voltage of the transistor (for voltages higher than the saturation voltage, the transconductance g remains constant; see Supplementary Information section S2), and vanishes for increasing V . Positive V closes the channel (full depletion), which markedly decreases g (ref. 20):   , where G is a constant of the device, V is the built-in voltage of the junction and V is the pinch-off voltage of the PVFET (more details on the static behaviour of the PVFET are provided in Supplementary Information section S2). We proceeded to investigate the temporal response of the detector. Figure 4a, b shows the response of the PVFET to a square wave. It shows fast (10 μs) fall and rise edges of the signal. This component of temporal response is compatible with sensing and imaging, addressing a wide range of consumer applications. The PVFET has a much faster response time than do traditional CQD-based photoconductors (about 100 ms). A slower tail, attributable to defect states in the highly doped silicon substrates and the CQD bulk and interface, is also seen in the experimentally fabricated PVFETs. Removing these electronic states could increase the response time of PVFETs towards 1 GHz (the limit arising from g /C , as shown in Fig. 2), making them competitive with photodiodes and enabling applications such as time-of-flight sensing and machine vision1. In Fig. 4c, the signals acquired from the Si:CQD PVFET and the silicon-only device are compared. The two waveforms representing the response to a 100-kHz excitation are similar, with the PVFET presenting slightly sharper edges. (additional data are provided in Supplementary Information section S6). Notably, the addition of the CQD layer does not affect the transient response of the silicon device: it preserves its original speed, consistent with the fact that the PVFET gain mechanism does not rely on a memory effect from traps. We measured the noise performance of the detector as a function of frequency, and found flicker noise at low frequencies (corner frequency at approximately 100 kHz) and a plateau at high frequencies that approaches the shot-noise limit (Supplementary Information section S5). The CQD photogate does not introduce additional noise to the silicon structure. We measured the noise current and obtained a detectivity of D* = 1.8 × 1012 jones (1 jones = 1 cm Hz1/2 W−1). We also compared the device to previous CQD detectors. If we define a figure of merit that accounts for the responsivity (where BW is the bandwidth), the speed of response and the dark current density J , then the Si:CQD PVFET outperforms previous CQD-based detectors by at least one order of magnitude (Supplementary Information section S7). Traditional CQD-based photo-FETs and photoconductors are outperformed, owing to their lack of bandwidth; CQD diodes, which have a lower I , lack reponsitivity and so have a lower F compared to the PVFET. The Si:CQD PVFET has high gain (>104), even in the infrared (wavelengths of >1,500 nm), high speed (100 kHz) and contained dark current (10−1−101 A cm−2). This performance can be improved further by using advanced silicon processing. The advances reported here were possible only by devising an architecture that combines the benefits of silicon electronics with the emerging potential of CQDs. This architecture leverages a detection mechanism based on the photovoltaic effect combined with transconductive gain.


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The charge transport and microstructural properties of five different molecular weight (MW) batches of the naphthalenediimide-thiophene copolymer P(NDI2OD-T2) are investigated. In particular, the field-effect transistor (FET) performance and thin-film microstructure of samples with MW varying from M = 10 to 41 kDa are studied. Unlike conventional semiconducting polymers such as poly(3-hexylthiophene) where FET mobility dramatically drops with decreasing molecular weight, the FET mobility of P(NDI2OD-T2)-based transistors processed from 1,2-dichlorobenzene is found to increase with decreasing MW. Using a combination of grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering, near-edge X-ray absorption fine-structure spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, and resonant soft X-ray scattering, the increase in FET mobility with decreasing MW is attributed to the pronounced increase in the orientational correlation length (OCL) with decreasing MW. In particular, the OCL is observed to systematically increase from <100 nm for the highest MW samples to ≈1 µm for the lowest MW samples. The improvement in OCL and hence mobility for low MW samples is attributed to the lack of aggregation of low MW chains in solution promoting backbone ordering, with the pre-aggregation of chains in 1,2-dichlorobenzene found to suppress longer-range liquid crystalline order.


News Article | February 28, 2017
Site: www.acnnewswire.com

Silicon nanowires fabricated using an imprinting technology could be the way of the future for transistor-based biosensors. Korean researchers are improving the fabrication of transistor-based biosensors by using silicon nanowires on their surface. The team, led by Won-Ju Cho of Kwangwoon University in Seoul, based their device on the 'dual-gate field-effect transistor' (DG FET). When molecules bind on a field-effect transistor, a change happens in the surface's electric charge. This makes FETs good candidates for detecting biological and chemical elements. Dual-gate FETs are particularly good candidates because they amplify this signal several times. But they can still be improved. The team used a method called 'nanoimprint lithography' to fabricate silicon nanowires onto the surface of a DG FET and compared its sensitivity and stability with conventional DG FETs. Field-effect transistors using silicon nanowires have already been drawing attention as promising biosensors because of their high sensitivity and selectivity, but they are difficult to manufacture. The size and position of silicon nanowires fabricated using a bottom-up approach, such as chemical vapor deposition, cannot always be perfectly controlled. Top-down approaches, such as using an electron or ion beam to draw nanorods onto a surface, allow better control of size and shape, yet they are expensive and limited by low throughput. Cho and his colleagues fabricated their silicon nanowires using nanoimprint lithography. In this method, a thin layer of silicon was placed on top of a substrate. This layer was then pressed using a nanoimprinter, which imprints nano-sized wire-shaped lines into the surface. The areas between separate lines were then removed using a method called dry etching, which involves bombarding the material with chlorine ions. The resultant silicon nanowires were then added to a DG FET. The team found that their device was more stable and sensitive than conventional DG FETs. "We expect that the silicon-nanowire DG FET sensor proposed here could be developed into a promising label-free sensor for various biological events, such as enzyme-substrate reactions, antigen-antibody bindings and nucleic acid hybridizations [a method used to detect gene sequences]," conclude the researchers in their study published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials. Article information Cheol-Min Lim, In-Kyu Lee, Ki Joong Lee, Young Kyoung Oh, Yong-Beom Shin and Won-Ju Cho. Improved sensing characteristics of dual-gate transistor sensor using silicon nanowire arrays defined by nanoimprint lithography. Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, 2016; 18:1, 17-25. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14686996.2016.1253409 For further information please contact: Professor Won-Ju Cho*, Department of Electronic Materials Engineering, Kwangwoon University, Korea *E-mail: Journal information Science and Technology of Advanced Materials (STAM), http://www.tandfonline.com/STAM) is an international open access journal in materials science. The journal covers a broad spectrum of topics, including synthesis, processing, theoretical analysis and experimental characterization of materials. Emphasis is placed on the interdisciplinary nature of materials science and on issues at the forefront of the field, such as energy and environmental issues, as well as medical and bioengineering applications. For more information about STAM contact Mikiko Tanifuji Publishing Director Science and Technology of Advanced Materials E-mail: Press release distributed by ResearchSEA for Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.


The team, led by Won-Ju Cho of Kwangwoon University in Seoul, based their device on the 'dual-gate field-effect transistor' (DG FET). When molecules bind on a field-effect transistor, a change happens in the surface's electric charge. This makes FETs good candidates for detecting biological and chemical elements. Dual-gate FETs are particularly good candidates because they amplify this signal several times. But they can still be improved. The team used a method called 'nanoimprint lithography' to fabricate silicon nanowires onto the surface of a DG FET and compared its sensitivity and stability with conventional DG FETs. Field-effect transistors using silicon nanowires have already been drawing attention as promising biosensors because of their high sensitivity and selectivity, but they are difficult to manufacture. The size and position of silicon nanowires fabricated using a bottom-up approach, such as chemical vapor deposition, cannot always be perfectly controlled. Top-down approaches, such as using an electron or ion beam to draw nanorods onto a surface, allow better control of size and shape, yet they are expensive and limited by low throughput. Cho and his colleagues fabricated their silicon nanowires using nanoimprint lithography. In this method, a thin layer of silicon was placed on top of a substrate. This layer was then pressed using a nanoimprinter, which imprints nano-sized wire-shaped lines into the surface. The areas between separate lines were then removed using a method called dry etching, which involves bombarding the material with chlorine ions. The resultant silicon nanowires were then added to a DG FET. The team found that their device was more stable and sensitive than conventional DG FETs. "We expect that the silicon-nanowire DG FET sensor proposed here could be developed into a promising label-free sensor for various biological events, such as enzyme–substrate reactions, antigen–antibody bindings and nucleic acid hybridizations [a method used to detect gene sequences]," conclude the researchers in their study published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials. More information: Cheol-Min Lim et al. Improved sensing characteristics of dual-gate transistor sensor using silicon nanowire arrays defined by nanoimprint lithography, Science and Technology of Advanced Materials (2017). DOI: 10.1080/14686996.2016.1253409

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