Business

SoftBank Group reports record losses as Ma quits board

Struggling Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group on Monday reported record losses, as the coronavirus pandemic compounded woes caused by its investment in troubled office-sharing start-up WeWork.

Computer Sciences

AI program writes music and lyrics

The Rolling Stones summed up popular music in a simple phrase and title in their Eighties hit "It's Only Rock 'n Roll."

Energy & Green Tech

High-performance electrolyte solves battery puzzle

Lithium ion batteries have already become an integral part of our everyday life. However, our energy-hungry society demands longer life, faster charging, and lighter batteries for a variety of applications from electric vehicles ...

Computer Sciences

Designing lightweight glass for efficient cars and wind turbines

A new machine-learning algorithm for exploring lightweight, very stiff glass compositions can help design next-gen materials for more efficient vehicles and wind turbines. Glasses can reinforce polymers to generate composite ...

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Silicon

Silicon (pronounced /ˈsɪlɨkən/ or /ˈsɪlɨkɒn/, Latin: silicium) is the most common metalloid. It is a chemical element, which has the symbol Si and atomic number 14. The atomic mass is 28.0855. A tetravalent metalloid, silicon is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon. As the eighth most common element in the universe by mass, silicon very rarely occurs as the pure free element in nature, but is more widely distributed in dusts, planetoids and planets as various forms of silicon dioxide (silica) or silicates. On Earth, silicon is the second most abundant element (after oxygen) in the crust, making up 25.7% of the crust by mass.

Silicon has many industrial uses. It is the principal component of most semiconductor devices, most importantly integrated circuits or microchips. Silicon is widely used in semiconductors because it remains a semiconductor at higher temperatures than the semiconductor germanium and because its native oxide is easily grown in a furnace and forms a better semiconductor/dielectric interface than any other material.

In the form of silica and silicates, silicon forms useful glasses, cements, and ceramics. It is also a constituent of silicones, a class-name for various synthetic plastic substances made of silicon, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen, often confused with silicon itself.

Silicon is an essential element in biology, although only tiny traces of it appear to be required by animals. It is much more important to the metabolism of plants, particularly many grasses, and silicic acid (a type of silica) forms the basis of the striking array of protective shells of the microscopic diatoms.

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