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developmental and stem cell biologists

A day in the cleanroom

Posted by , on 28 June 2016

Hello guys, I am a PhD student from University of Strathclyde, UK. My PhD career has two parts: microfabrication and neural recordings. With the help of novel semiconductor fabrication techniques, I can make micro-level devices for neuroscience applications such as neural recordings and optogenetics.

The whole fabrication process is done in the cleanroom which can block any tiny particles in the air and make all the fabrication steps are done in micro- or even nano-scale precisely. In order to keep the good fabrication environment of cleanroom, everyone who wants to enter into the cleanroom will be required to wear this specific suit.



It will cover your whole body from head to feet; even your eyes are protected by goggles. Thanks to my poor eyesight, I have to wear two glasses! (PS: It really reminds me the nightmare of watching IMAX 3D movie. Every time I go to cinema to watch IMAX 3D movie, the 3D glasses is always unsuitable to my own glasses! T_T)

Well, let’s go back to the story. The device I design for neural recording has multi-layer structure. So Mask Aligner can help me to transfer the designed patterns to the sample layer by layer. I also need to work on these benches to do some chemical works which I call “Magic”! Haha!



When the work is done here, some big guys are waiting for me in the white room. Neurons communicate with each other via electrical signals which are called Spikes and the amplitude of spikes is about microvolt. Therefore, metal with low resistance is required.



Yes! Gold! It is you! See the big guy there? His name is Sputter and he will deposit a uniform thin layer of gold on the sample. Then RIE (reactive ion etching) will draw a picture on the gold layer to form patterns that I want to have.



See! Great job!! Well done!!!

The device is used to record signals in vitro. The tissues will be cultured on the top of the array and the spikes will be recorded by these electrodes and transmitted to the outer electronic system. The fabrication work is a little bit tricky because it requires time to practise and optimize. Sometimes it is annoying to be honest but I have already drawn into it.

Good luck to my device! GOOOOOD luck to my PhD!

Thumbs up (2 votes)

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Categories: Careers, Lab Life

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