Monday, November 26, 2007

New materials aren't free

The lead editorial (PDF file, free registration required) in this month's issue of the MRS Bulletin observes that few researchers know how much the materials they're investigating actually cost. The author makes an extremely important point. While it's true that cost is negligible for research quantities of most materials, it most certainly is not negligible for industrial quantities. In fact, cost is one of the reasons why silicon dominates both the photovoltaic and integrated circuit markets, and one of the most serious obstacles to any competing technology. Researchers who choose to ignore cost considerations are likely to be rudely surprised when industrial interest in their creations fails to materialize.

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