Following my retirement, we have closed our company for new business.

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly, our email portal remains open and I would be delighted to hear from you and provide ongoing support or advice.

Richard Thomson

support@rta-instruments.com

Companies represented up to the end of December 2023. Please now contact them directly.

k-Space Associates, Inc.
Phone: +1 (734) 426-7977
requestinfo@k-space.com
https://www.k-space.com

STAIB INSTRUMENTS GmbH
Phone: +49 8761 76 24 0
sales@staibinstruments.com
https://www.staibinstruments.com/

Friday 25 February 2011

R&D Awards 2011

R&D Magazine is accepting nominations for the 2011 R&D 100 Awards, which identify and celebrate the top technology products and processes of 2010. The awards recognize innovation in all technology areas and processes, including testing equipment, new materials, electronics, communication systems chemistry breakthroughs, biomedical products, consumer items, and high-energy physics. The deadline for entries is February 28, 2011. Full details via this link

Wednesday 23 February 2011

To build or not to build?

Future Horizons and Decision SA have won a commission from the EC to evaluate the setting up of a 450 mm pilot line in Europe. The one year study is to analyze what is required to support research and innovation in the production of ICs on 450-mm diameter wafers and the measures necessary to attract investments and to support advanced research infrastructures, prototyping and early nanoelectronics manufacturing in Europe. The debate about who should/could bear the costs and risks associated with such a huge investment continue.

Monday 21 February 2011

Scandinavia it is

Anyone thinking about emigrating, taking a sabbatical or relocating their business may be interested in two recent compilations. The 2010 Legatum Prosperity Index and Zurich University Democracy Barometer give an insight into the relative merits of the world's countries. If you can cope with the cold winters it seems as if heading for a Scandinavian country is not a bad idea. Santa knows best?

Tuesday 15 February 2011

NIST twists (and gifts)

The US National Institute of Science & Technology (NIST) are developing a route to employ electron vortices to improve the performance of transmission electron microscopes. Passing electrons through a nanometre-scale grating, the NIST group imparted the electron waves with significantly increased orbital momentum thus creating a potential route to increasing the resolution of a microscope. By employing this technique they hope to provide high-contrast, high-resolution images of, for example, biological samples which currently have a high level of transparency. In addition, US readers especially may be interested to note that NIST has launched a new competition for grants to support the construction of new or expanded scientific research facilities at institutions of higher education and non-profit scientific research organizations. The agency expects $20 million to be available for grants ranging from $5 to $10 million over a period of no more than five years. Further details via this link.

Monday 14 February 2011

CashedIn

According to Reuters, LinkedIn, whose website caters to professionals and has 90 million users, has announced its intention to go public. The company has filed with US regulators for an initial public offering of Class A shares of up to $175 million. So I/we put our information on a web site and someone sells it for $175 million? ... I must be missing something.

Friday 11 February 2011

Flexible FET

All plastic electronics? Not quite, but a recent report from Georgia Tech is interesting. The research team used an existing device and changed the gate dielectric to a bilayer gate dielectric. The bilayer dielectric is made of a fluorinated polymer known as CYTOP and a high-k metal oxide layer. Used alone, each has its benefits and its drawbacks. CYTOP is known to form few defects at the interface but has a very low dielectric constant, which requires an increase in drive voltage. The high-k metal oxide uses low voltage, but doesn’t have good stability because of a high number of defects on the interface. However the combination worked well and the only time they saw any degradation was when they dropped it into acetone for an hour. There was some degradation, but the transistor was still operational!

Thursday 10 February 2011

Avoiding defects

Recent work from North Carolina State University describes a technique for reducing defects in gallium nitride (GaN) epitaxial films grown on sapphire substrates (‘Embedded voids approach for low defect density in epitaxial GaN films’, Appl. Phys. Lett. 98, 023115 (2011), 17 January and this link). By embedding a series of high density micro-voids within thin films, the group were able to create sinks or termination sites for dislocations. According to the team, TEM and AFM analysis confirm dislocation density reductions of 2-3 orders of magnitude with particular benefits for LEDs emitting in the ultraviolet range.

Monday 7 February 2011

Thought for the month

"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist (1856 - 1950).

Friday 4 February 2011

Schrodinger's bird?

Apparently the robin (Erithacus rubecula) is a user of quantum coherence. The conclusion comes from analysing data showing that the magnetic compass used by robins could be disrupted by extremely small levels of magnetic noise. When the noise, a small oscillating magnetic field, was introduced it completely disabled the robins' compass sense which then returned to normal once the noise was removed. According to the Oxford team, only a system with components operating at a quantum level would be this sensitive to such a small amount of noise. No robins were harmed in the writing of this newsletter.

Thursday 3 February 2011

RTA beats Roger Federer

Federer won five consecutive men's titles at Wimbledon from 2003–07, matching a feat achieved only by Bj√∂rn Borg (Sweden) in the open era. William Renshaw (Britain) won a record six consecutive Wimbledon men's titles before the open era. RTA has now won 6 consecutive k-Space Associates "Representative of the Year Awards", 2005-2010. We look forward to making this 7 times consecutively, matching Renshaw's record at Wimbledon and Lance Armstrong's record for the Tour de France.

k-Space Sales and Marketing Manager, Eric Friedman, congratulated the RTA team for their hard work in supporting the European customer base and continuing input to k-Space product development.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Funder or funding

Readers may be interested in the Royal Society Enterprise Fund. The on-going fund was set up as part of last year's 350th anniversary of the society. The fund is both seeking philanthropic supporters and early-stage technology businesses (or ideas very close to business creation) to fund.