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3 Ways to Tailor the Properties of Semiconductor Materials for Your Next Application

Oct 16, 2018 10:41:54 AM / by Brian Knapp

Refractive Index ImageHave you ever noticed the way a pencil appears bent when placed in a glass of water?

If the answer is yes, you’re witnessing the effect of differences in what scientists call refractive index. This is just one of the many tunable properties of semiconductor materials. 

Below, we explore three new customizable properties for your next application.

1. Refractive Index 

Did you know light bends when passing from one medium to another?

This is due to the refractive index, which can be defined as “…the ratio of the sine of the angle of incidence to the sine of the angle of refraction.”

In other terms, light is refracted when it enters a medium at an angle. When entering a different medium, the speed and direction of the light changes.

By tuning the refractive index of the semiconductor material to match that of other materials in an optoelectronic device, it is possible to extract more light.

2. Modulus

When it comes to semiconductor materials, modulus matters. 

After all, modulus records how well a material resists elastic deformation when stress is applied. Strain is the amount a material is deformed when stress is applied.

Very flexible materials like polyethylene have a low modulus, whereas more rigid materials have a higher modulus. Tuning the modulus is essential for today’s applications, considering consumers demand robust sensors and systems that bend, wrap and conform to a desired shape during use.

Thanks to advances in research, scientists are able to adjust the modulus for stress and strain compliance—improving ductility.

3. Surface Energy

When considering adhesives, surface energy is a critical factor. It’s related to the bonding of two unlike materials (adhesive and substrate), without changing their individual characteristics.

To put surface energy into context, think of Rain-X. It repels rain, sleet and snow from beading on the windshield of your car. With this treatment, your windshield has a low surface energy, meaning the molecular force of attraction is weak. Remove the treatment and your windshield has a high surface energy and the molecular force of attraction is strong. The attraction of these materials determines the probability of adhesion.

To effectively bond an adhesive to a substrate, the surface energy of the adhesive must be as low or lower than the surface energy of the substrate. This enables the adhesive to thoroughly wet the surface, which is necessary to form a strong bond between the two materials. 

These are just a few of the properties that can be tailored to build semiconductor materials fit to your needs. Ready to get started with tailor-made semiconductor materials? Promerus can help.

Promerus is a global leader in Cyclic Olefin Polymers (COP) and is driven to provide advanced material solutions for your challenges in semiconductor and optoelectronic applications. We encourage you to download The Complete Guide to Semiconductor Materials to see what Promerus can do for you. 


Semiconductor 2 (1)


Topics: Semiconductor Materials

Brian Knapp

Written by Brian Knapp