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Liquid Nitrogen

Liquid Nitrogen

And now it’s time for something different. Most of the buildings featured within have been grand buildings from either the late 19th century or brutalist concrete blocks from the expansion of the 1960s, with a dash of brand new glass and steel buildings such as the Wolfson Medical School Building. Today we switch to detailing and abstract views. What you see in front of you is a series of tubes. It’s not the internet that flows through these tubes, but rather liquid nitrogen.

This contraption is located outside the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC), located at the eastern side of the Main Building, between the James Watt North Building and the James Watt South Building. The centre is a part of the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering at Glasgow University. I’ll admit I have NO CLUE what is hidden within the JWNC, nor what nanofabrication really is. I attempted to do some research, but ended up falling asleep whilst reading it, and I still do not understand diddly about it all. So, to counter this conundrum, I will post a few quotes from various sources to better explain the JWNC and nanofabrication:

The James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC):

… boasts an impressive array of equipment and capabilities: large area, high resolution, immensely versatile e-beam Vistec VB6, metal and dielectric sputtering using RF and DC magnetrons; mask aligning (with double sided capability); flip-chip bonding; nano-scale embossing; high resolution SEM and ATM; atomic force microscopy; surface profilometry; plasma deposition; and reactive ion etching. Metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor technology is an important area of expertise.
—Small Times (March 28th, 2007)

And nanofabrication is:

…the design and manufacture of devices with dimensions measured in nanometers. One nanometer is 10 -9 meter, or a millionth of a millimeter.

Nanofabrication is of interest to computer engineers because it opens the door to super-high-density microprocessors and memory chips. It has been suggested that each data bit could be stored in a single atom . Carrying this further, a single atom might even be able to represent a byte or word of data. Nanofabrication has also caught the attention of the medical industry, the military, and the aerospace industry.

There are several ways that nanofabrication might be done. One method involves scaling down integrated-circuit fabrication that has been standard since the 1970s, removing one atom at a time until the desired structure emerges. A more sophisticated hypothetical scheme involves the assembly of a chip atom-by-atom; this would resemble bricklaying. An extension of this is the notion that a chip might assemble itself atom-by-atom using programmable nanomachines. Finally, it has been suggested that a so-called biochip might be grown like a plant from a seed; the components would form by a process resembling cell division in living things.
—What Is?com

That explains everything! Oh wait, no it doesn’t. I have to some how get myself inside the centre to photograph and find out more about it. This is a clear demonstration of how much there is on offer at Universities which

For more information on the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre, you can visit the following links:

(If you didn’t get the “series of tubes” reference, just Google “series of tubes”, and you’ll understand.)

[Poll #2: What's your connection to Glasgow University?]
Click on the photo above for a larger version.
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