Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | Studium Generale

From Sandcastles to Smartphones

  • Dr Donna Carroll, lecturer of physics, Maastricht Science Programme, Maastricht University
Tuesday 5 September 2017
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

The Development of Microchips and Modern Electronic Devices

Early computers were built using components so large that they filled entire rooms.  Thanks to the invention of the transistor and chips (integrated circuits), technologies thousands of times more powerful are now merely pocket-sized.

The main components you find inside your iPads and smartphones are semiconductors, fabricated from silicon, which is one of the most common constituents of sand.  In this lecture, find out how we go from a simple particle of sand to a complicated, modern electronic device.  We’ll discuss the remarkable properties that silicon displays and how these are manipulated to produce such varied technologies ranging from lighting, LED televisions, radiation detectors, digital cameras, night vision goggles and solar panels.

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