Smart lights, nonstick implants and 100th birthday of electronics at science & technology meeting

is bygone, pre-transistor electronics age, and the current generation of vacuum tubes for displays and high-power microwave generators, would not be reliable devices without the invention and industrialization of miniature vacuum pumps that can be installed within a tube's internal volume.

These "getter" pumps are described by Bruno Ferrario (SAES Getters, Lianate, Italy; Bruno_Ferrario@saes-group.com), who has been involved with both the basic research on their operation and the applied research to optimize their fabrication. The session's final talk will be given by Gary McGuire of the International Technology Center in North Carolina (gmcguire@itc-inc.org), who will describe how, over the last 25 years, the vacuum tube and modern microelectronics have merged. These technologies have been combined for specialized devices termed "vacuum microelectronics," which combine the attributes of both technologies: the ease of control of an electron beam in vacuum with the miniaturization and mass-production capabilities of integrated circuit production. (Tuesday, November 16, 2004, 1:20 PM- 4:00 PM, Room 303D)

Eliminating a major roadblock to future-generation silicon chips, researchers have demonstrated an approach to reliably make small-scale versions of a pn junction, the crucial region of a semiconductor that changes from electron-rich (the "n" zone) to electron-poor (the "p" zone). Today, pn junctions are only 25 nanometers (100 atoms) deep. But to make increasingly smaller (and faster) silicon chips, the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors dictates that by 2010 the pn junctions must have depths of 10 nanometers, or just 40 atoms.

The conventional method for making the junctions is called "ion implantation," in which charged versions of a foreign atom ("dopant") are accelerated

Contact: Ben Stein
American Institute of Physics

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