In an excellent mad-science type event, a couple of Havard scientists decided to fry some silicone (similar to that used to make computer chips) with a fricken laser. In an unexpected result, the product – dubbed “black silicone” – has been shown to be extremely light sensitive. How sensitive? They say it is 100 to 500 times more sensitive to light than traditional silicone, and is also capable of detecting infrared light that is invisible to current sensors.
It was several years before he directed a graduate student to pursue his idea, which involved shining an exceptionally powerful laser light ? briefly matching the energy produced by the sun falling on the surface of the entire earth ? on a silicon wafer. On a hunch, the researcher also applied sulfur hexafluoride, a gas used by the semiconductor industry to make etchings for circuits.
I love this in so many ways. Unexpected results, crazy experiments, and LASERS.