Ironing Out A Vexing Chipmaking Problem
WHEN SEMICONDUCTOR MAKERS WANT TO COMBINE TWO MATERIALS TO PRODUCE SOMETHING that can't be made from a single material, such as ultraviolet light-emitting diodes (LEDs), they have a limited menu of choices. That's because of the so-called lattice mismatch--the difference in spacing between the atoms in various chip materials. Even tiny, 1% mismatches rapidly multiply into strains that result in material flaws--and defective LEDs. For many combinations, the mismatch factor climbs to 20% or more.
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