Team reports giant response of semiconductors to light

MIT graduate student Jiahao Dong with the nanoindentation machine used in recent MIT work on the response of semiconductors to light. Credit: Elizabeth Thomson/Materials Research Laboratory

In an example of the adage “everything old is new again,” MIT engineers report a new discovery in semiconductors, well-known materials that have been the focus of intense study for over 100 years thanks to their many applications in electronic devices.

The team found that these important materials not only become much stiffer in response to light, but the effect is reversible when the light is turned off. The engineers also explain what is …
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