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08/16/22 Fortune magazine: Chinese MIT prof accused of spying finds "best semiconductor material"

August 17, 2022 6:18 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

The following is an excerpt from the 08/16/22 Fortune magazine:

By Nicholas Gordon

A team of researchers has discovered what the Massachusetts Institute of Technology calls the “best semiconductor material ever found,” even better than silicon, the material used in just about every computer chip on earth.

In July, scientists from MIT, the University of Houston, and other institutions announced they had proved that cubic boron arsenide performs better than silicon at conducting heat and electricity, opening up new possibilities for smaller and faster chips. The team includes China-born professor Gang Chen, the former head of MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, who was the subject of a yearlong investigation by the Department of Justice before the agency dropped espionage charges because of lack of evidence.

It could be decades before semiconductors based on cubic boron arsenide are used in commercially available chips—if they prove viable at all. But ultimately, the new material may help designers overcome the natural limits of current models to make better, faster, and smaller chips, and its discovery is the kind of research the U.S. risked missing out on with a now-disbanded crackdown on experts like Chen.

For more information:  Read the full 08/16/22 Fortune article.

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