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DOE wants more efficient smartphone production

image credit: Photo 188039205 / Cellphone Production © Gumpanat Thavankitdumrong | Dreamstime.com
Henry Craver's picture
Small Business Owner Self-employed

As a small business owner, I'm always trying to find ways to cut costs and boost the dependability of my services. To that end, I've become increasingly invested in learning about energy saving...

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  • Sep 13, 2021 4:43 pm GMT
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Late last month, The Department of Energy (DOE) announced $54 million of funding for research into increasing energy efficiency in microelectronic technology. 

This is how Wikipedia defines microelectronics: “Microelectronics is a subfield of electronics. As the name suggests, microelectronics relates to the study and manufacture of very small electronic designs and components. Usually, but not always, this means micrometre-scale or smaller. These devices are typically made from semiconductor materials.”

Think smartphones, laptops, tablets etc. 

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In their announcement, the DOE explains that microelectronics mark a great advance in efficiency over the macro electronics that came before: “Thanks to microelectronics, technologies that used to swallow entire buildings now fit in the palms of our hands — and now they are supporting climate solutions in electricity, transportation, and renewable energy.” 

The problem, however, is that the processes required to make microelectronics have not gotten less energy intensive. This funding is supposed to help change that. The money will be spent on research and projects related to:

"New computing architectures based on human brain design" 

"Ultra-low power electronics"

"Low-temperature, nanoscale, and quantum sensors"

Personally, I wonder how far along the technology is to greatly increase efficiency in microelectronics production. If it’s a way off, would it make more sense to put all resources into boosting carbon neutral generation? If a grid's electricity is clean, after all, there's no harm in consuming a lot of it. 

 

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