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Silicon has long been the most famous semiconductor, but in recent years researchers have studied a wider range of materials, including molecules that can be tailored to serve specific electronic needs.
Perhaps appropriately, one of the most cutting-edge electronics -- supercomputers -- are indispensable research tools for studying complex semiconducting materials at a fundamental level.
Team - Scientists - TU - Dresden - SuperMUC
Recently, a team of scientists at TU Dresden used the SuperMUC supercomputer at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre to refine its method for studying organic semiconductors.
Specifically, the team uses an approach called semiconductor doping, a process in which impurities are intentionally introduced into a material to give it specific semiconducting properties. It recently published its results in Nature Materials.
New - Kinds - Semiconductors - Semiconductors - Device
"New kinds of semiconductors, organic semiconductors, are starting to get used in new device concepts," said team leader Dr. Frank Ortmann. "Some of these are already on the market, but some are still limited by their inefficiency. We are researching doping mechanisms -- a key technology for tuning semiconductors' properties -- to understand these semiconductors' limitations and respective efficiencies."
When someone changes a material's physical properties, he or she also changes its electronic properties and, therefore, the role it can play in electronic devices. Small changes in material makeup can lead to big changes in a material's characteristics -- in certain cases one slight atomic alteration can lead to a 1000-fold change in electrical conductivity.
Changes - Material - Properties - Forces - Atoms
While changes in material properties may be big, the underlying forces -- exerting themselves on atoms and molecules and governing their interactions -- are generally weak and short-range (meaning the molecules and the atoms of which they are composed must be close together). To understand changes in properties, therefore, researchers have to accurately compute atomic and molecular interactions as well as the densities of electrons and how they are transferred among molecules.
Introducing specific atoms or molecules to...
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