Advanced Semi-conductors - (E)

Almost all electronic devices use semi-conductors and most of them use silicon based semi-conductors. India has announced a multi-billion dollar Indian semi-conductor mission to try and create a full ecosystem of semi-conductors. There is an even more advanced class of semi-conductors called compound semi-conductors where chips are made using more than one element and hence, are dubbed compound semi-conductors. India has invested heavily in this area of semi-conductors with the Solid State Physics Laboratory a part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation leading the charge. The New Delhi based facility is truly a hidden jewel and has a full lab to fab culture. It works on all the highest end semi-conductors like silicon carbide, gallium arsenide, gallium nitride, it specialises from making all the materials like the basic raw material of ingots to fabricating the chips and devices. These compound semi-conductors are hard to make and rather expensive but have found place in India’s specialised strategic devices. The laboratory is unique in one more way it is headed by a lady director and it is considered one of the best facilities not only in India but in the world. Since it caters to India’s defence needs its work remains low key. The lab also works on semi-conductor diodes and lasers. The DRDO facility also houses many clean rooms and a research and development fabrication facility to make designer chips. A futuristic project it is working on is to try and use a laser beam to transmit audio and text based data, this could be applicable in communicating with submarines. India leads in research on compound semi-conductors as the lab was set up almost 60 years ago and it has done remarkably well in this cutting edge sector.

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