Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found a way to grow aluminum nitride crystals large enough to slice into semiconductor substrates. The crystals can be used to make blue and ultraviolet lasers and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). "Semiconductor light sources have always been very attractive because of their ruggedness and economy," says Leo Schowalter, professor of physics at Rensselaer. "But the color of LEDs has been pretty much limited to red. Green and blue LEDs are also needed if we are to create traffic signals, automobile lighting, flat-screen TV sets, and other applications where long life and high efficiency are important." A Rensselaer researcher, Glen Slack, has demonstrated that you can grow aluminum nitride crystals in a tungsten crucible at 2,300C. However, at that temperature, the aluminum attacks the grain boundaries in the tungsten, and the crucible doesn't survive very long. Schowalter and Slack have now solved the problem and formed a company to make the aluminum nitride crystals. E-mail email@example.com.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.