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Nano Silicon

January 20, 2017

Scientists strive to keep our spacecraft germ-free.



Building electronics one atom at a time. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Engineers make today’s microchips by etching away material from slices of silicon.  Johns Hopkins University chemist Rebekka Klausen is working in the other direction, using silicon atoms as building blocks.

REBEKKA KLAUSEN (Johns Hopkins University):

What we’re interested in is what would happen if you built a structure up from individual elements.


The approach is still experimental, but the goal is to make electronic features up to a hundred times smaller than those in current chips. That means smaller, more powerful devices. And Klausen says silicon has other advantages as an engineering material.


Silicon’s also unique in being biodegradable and non-toxic. And that is an incredible opportunity for bioelectronics and bio-compatible structures.


And that could lead to the possible fusion of silicon devices with biological structures. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon