It started with a Harvard physicist acting on a hunch. It ended up producing a new material, called black silicon, that could have a broad impact on technologies ranging from ultrasensitive sensors to photovoltaic cells. Black silicon was discovered because SPIE member Eric Mazur started thinking outside the boundaries of the research he was doing in the late 1990s.
A number of academic and corporate research groups are still exploring the material, which absorbs about twice as much visible light as normal silicon and has the ability to detect infrared light that is invisible to the current generation of silicon detectors.
Full story from the New York Times.
SiOnyx Brings "Black Silicon" into the Light; Material Could Upend Solar, Imaging Industries (Xconomy.com)
SPIE member Eric Mazur is coauthor of an invited paper to be presented in the Ultrafast Phenomena in Semiconductors and Nanostructure Materials conference at the SPIE Photonics West symposium in January.