ABOUT GALLIUM: Gallium is a chemical element that appears in nature as gallium salt in trace amounts in zinc and bauxite ores. Gallium is a soft silvery metal that is a brittle solid at low temperatures and will melt when held in the hand. After its discovery in 1875, gallium was largely used in high-temperature thermometric applications and to prepare metal alloys with less typical properties such as ease in melting. Gallium compounds are used widely in microwave circuitry and infrared applications while other gallium compounds are used in diodes and lasers. Almost the entire world market use for gallium is now in semiconductors.
MATERIAL SCIENCE : Materials science is the study of stuff -- the substances that make up things you use every day-- from your shoes, dishes, CDs, or your bicycle or skateboard. All are made from different kinds of materials. Materials derive their unique properties from atomic structure so materials scientists can manipulate atoms and molecules to design new kinds of stuff with different properties that could show up in the nifty gadgets, clothing and kitchenware of tomorrow.
The Materials Research Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.