A Frontiers in Science Lecture to celebrate 2019, the International Year of the Periodic Table
The history of silicon is usually told as a history of electronic materials and devices. However, it is better told as a history of manufacturing innovation. This talk will take a journey through the manufacturing innovations that transformed silicon from its humble beginnings as the most abundant metal in Earth’s crust to the enabler of the computer chips that underpin the modern economy.
The journey begins with the extraction of silicon from sand and its processing into the most compositionally pure and structurally perfect human-made material. It continues through the mid-20th century breakthroughs that allowed fabrication and interconnection of high-quality electronic devices to form integrated circuits.
It is from this perspective that we can most easily appreciate silicon’s impact on modern society and why it is finding increasing utility in technology areas as diverse as renewable energy, environmental sensing, and augmented reality. It is also from this perspective that we can understand silicon’s limitations and begin to see what innovations might be necessary to enable silicon’s next act.
About the Speaker
Michael A. Filler is an associate professor and the Traylor Faculty Fellow in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech. His research program lies at the intersection of chemical engineering and materials science, focusing on the synthesis, understanding, and deployment of nanoscale materials for applications in electronics, photonics, and energy conversion.
He is co-director of the Community for Research on Active Surfaces and Interfaces (CRĀSI) and the host of Nanovation, a bimonthly podcast about the intersection of nanoscience, technology, manufacturing, and society.
Filler has received numerous awards for his research and teaching, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Georgia Tech Sigma Xi Young Faculty Award, and the CETL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. He also has been recognized as a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Environmental Chemistry Mentor.
About Frontiers in Science Lectures
Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff, and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talks for nonexpert audiences.
About the Periodic Table Frontiers in Science Lecture Series
Throughout 2019, the College of Sciences will bring prominent researchers from Georgia Tech and beyond to expound on little-discussed aspects of chemical elements:
- Feb. 6, James Sowell, How the Universe Made the Elements in the Periodic Table
March 5, Michael Filler, Celebrating Silicon: Its Success, Hidden History, and Next Act
- April 2, John Baez, University of California, Riverside, Mathematical Mysteries of the Periodic Table
- April 18, Sam Kean, Author, The Periodic Table: A Treasure Trove of Passion, Adventure, Betrayal, and Obsession
- Sept. 12, Monica Halka, The Elusive End of the Periodic Table: Why Chase It?
- October, Taka Ito, Turning Sour, Bloated, and Out of Breath: Ocean Chemistry under Global Warming (This will take place on the Thursday of Homecoming Week 2019)
- Nov. 12, Margaret Kosal, The Geopolitics of Rare and Not-So-Rare Elements