Imagine a laptop whose body is made out of machined solid polycrystalline silicon rather than plastic, aluminium, titanium, magnesium, or
See [links] for some inspirational pictures. I think the blueness of the solar cells is due to being doped, so the laptop would be gray by
doping would still be an option just for appearance.* Unlike in the gray pictures, the laptop's surfaces would be machined flat
or curved as appropriate, but the crystal structure would still be apparent on that smooth surface (after an acid etch, if necessary). The
silicon's natural rough, fractured surface could be left alone (probably after being produced by deliberate breaking) for accent areas on
gamer-oriented laptop models.
Instead of slicing a silicon boule widthwise in to wafers, as is done for semiconductor manufacturing, it would be sliced lengthwise into
rectangular pieces, like a tree trunk. These would then be further machined into the laptop body parts. If it turns out the silicon alone is
not strong enough, an internal frame made of a stronger material could be added; this would work like a sword with a harder but more
brittle alloy for the edge and a softer but stronger alloy for the back of the blade.**
Pure (undoped) silicon is a dielectric at room temperature, so Wi-Fi/Bluetooth antenna placement should be about as unrestricted as in a
It would not be practical to use the laptop's silicon body as a substrate for fabricating the silicon semiconductor circuits that make up the
important parts of the computer's electronics, not least (nor anywhere near most) because those need monocrystalline silicon, which is
more expensive and less pretty than polycrystalline.
On the other hand, polycrystalline silicon would probably be suitable to make a capacitive touch surface out of. The entire palm rest area
could then be a giant multitouch trackpad (with rested palms ignored by their shape and size).
Porous silicon apparently can be made to photoluminesce and electroluminesce [link]. I don't know what it takes to porate silicon, but this
could be a way to implement some kind of low-resolution display for status or touch area indication (e.g.), or just cool-looking light effects.
Even if these laptops never became popular, their mere existence as inspiration could also open up a whole field of using silicon as a
structural or aesthetic material. Silicon for mechanical applications has been studied in the past [link], but not extensively or with any
commercialization that I'm aware of.
*I guess you could try to make the laptop's body photovoltaic
Damascus laptops, too?