In the remote hills of the Appalachian Mountains lies what’s considered the gold of today’s day and age — Quartz, the basis of the modern computer chip. A recently published Wired article, The Ultra-Pure, Super-Secret Sand That Makes Your Phone Possible, discusses the pristine sand, a key player in manufacturing the silicon used to make the chips. From the processor in your laptops to the processor in your cell phones and tablets, all of which likely derived from the sand.
The quartz, a form of silicon dioxide, also known as silica are the essential raw materials from which the high tech hardware is made. After the quartz is treated with a series of complex chemical processes, the extremely pure form of silicon goes on to become the key ingredient of modern technology, like biosensors that warn recipients of incoming heart attacks and strokes using the silicon-based material.
Not only do biomedical sensors rely on the nature made material, gas sensors, environmental monitoring, clinical diagnostics, among other use nanomaterials like silicon to enhance device characteristics for a multitude of diverse applications. Read more in the focus issue on Semiconductor-Based Sensors for Application to Vapors, Chemicals, Biological Species, and Medical Diagnosis in the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology.