Having Fun with Silicon Marbles

Ali Serpenguzel

Silicon gave us the microelectronics revolution of the previous century and may lead the microphotonics revolution of this one. It is also the material of choice for manufacturing modern marbles, and, on a smaller scale, for microspheres that may enable three-dimensional electrophotonic integration into volumetric lightwave circuits.


figureSphere in different languages.

All of us have probably played with marbles at some point when we were children. Those multicolored marvels are quite an international experience. They are a feast to the eyes that come in all sizes, colors and materials. In the 18th century, marbles actually were made out of marble—hence the English name. In other cultures and languages, they are sometimes named after their spherical shape. Throughout history, marbles were manufactured from clay, marble, glass and metal following the technological advances of the times. Today, marbles are mostly composed of silica.

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