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

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

k-Space Associates, Inc.
Phone: +1 (734) 426-7977

Phone: +49 8761 76 24 0

Friday 20 May 2011

Potential ITO replacement

Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology claim a replacement for indium tin oxide, as widely used in displays and solar cells. The replacement is a transparent, conducting film produced in water and based on electrically conducting carbon nanotubes and plastic nanoparticles. The research team combined low concentrations of carbon nanotubes and conducting latex in a low-cost polystyrene film. The nanotubes and the latex together account for less than 1% of the weight of the conducting film.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

NEXUS live

EPSRC has recently awarded a contract to Newcastle University to provide the EPSRC National Service for X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). NEXUS (National EPSRC XPS User Service) is hosted by nanoLAB at Newcastle University. The service is available to researchers eligible to receive EPSRC funding.

Plasmas, Surfaces and Thin Films 8 June 2011

This one day meeting at the Institute of Physics, London, has become an annual event providing a forum for those involved in using plasmas or ion beams for surface modification and thin film deposition. Steffen Cornelius from the Helmholtz-Zentrum, Dresden Rossendorf is giving an invited paper "Structure and Electrical Properties of Transparent Conductive Doped Zno Grown by Reactive Magnetron Sputtering".

Monday 16 May 2011

Busily doing something

As people, we don’t really care what we are doing - just as long as we are doing something. That is one of the findings summarised in an article published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Apparently when psychologists think about why people do what they do, they tend to look for specific goals, attitudes and motivations. But they may be missing something more general - people like to be doing something. According to the authors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign “People have this inclination to do more, even if what they do is trivial ... we want to do something, but what we do ends up not mattering much. You could end up with productive behaviour, like work, or impulsive behaviour, like drug use.” Clearly Descartes got it wrong: I do therefore I am.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Sun shines on Intel?

April put a shine on Intel's finances but also saw the IC giant take another small step in the solar business. MiaSole Inc., a manufacturer of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic solar panels, has entered into an agreement with Intel's Technical Manufacturing Services. Under the agreement, Intel will provide customized manufacturing services and systems, strategic consulting, operational knowledge and training to MiaSole as the company ramps its manufacturing facilities in 2011 and 2012. Oddly this is not Intel's first foray into the world of solar manufacturing. In June 2008, Intel spun off a start-up from inside its New Business Initiatives group (SpectraWatt) that made solar cells. The photovoltaic panel manufacturer set up it's activities in IBM’s former East Fishkill facility. After making a $90 million private investment in the plant and receiving another $8 million in federal grant funding SpectraWatt withered. The company has largely shut down its operations and its assets are being auctioned, with full closure expected in May. Better luck second time?

Monday 9 May 2011


Several readers are involved in materials growth techniques involving the use of phosphorous. The dangers associated with using this material are well known and safety precautions usually taken. Unfortunately, as reported by KTVU, last week's accident at Agilent Technologies in California is a reminder to us all of the potential risks involved. Over 100 staff were evacuated, 3 hurt and one person critically injured following an explosion whilst a maintenance team were cleaning an MBE machine that contained phosphorus. A regrettable but timely reminder to all of us to revisit and review our safety precautions and disaster planning procedures.

Saturday 7 May 2011

Granny Smith the stalker?

I do like a good conspiracy theory. Whilst not quite in the Roswell UFO or JFK assassination category, Apple has recently been in the news. Privacy concerns erupted when security researchers said a file found on PCs linked to iPhones, allowed them to create maps of the phones' movements for up to a year. "Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone," the company said in a statement last week. "Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so." Even Steve Jobs, who is on medical leave, was used to defend the iPhone's use of location data and stressed that it had never tracked the movements of its customers. Unfortunately the conspiracy theorists were encouraged as Apple did acknowledged that iPhones keep a database of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers. That information can then be used to help calculate location for applications such as maps. The company implied that the privacy concerns raised by that file were partly based on a misunderstanding. But it also said that a software error was the reason the files are storing up to a year's worth of information and that it would fix that issue and others in a few weeks. Apple's reaction is reminiscent of its response last year to reports that the iPhone suffered from signal loss when held a certain way. They stayed quiet for a week, then denied there was a hardware problem but said it would fix how the iPhone displayed its signal bars. Two weeks later, it offered free protective cases that insulated the antenna, mitigating the signal loss. It still denied the design was flawed. The phone's appeal stayed intact.

Thursday 5 May 2011

Digital Swedes

Sweden tops the rankings of the latest World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report. The report, which covers 138 economies, focuses on the power of ICT to transform society in the next decade through modernisation and innovation. It looks at three areas: The general business, regulatory and infrastructure environment for ICT; the readiness of the three key sectors (individuals, businesses and governments) to use and benefit from ICT; and the actual usage of available ICT. Sweden and Singapore continue to top the rankings. Finland jumps to third place, while Switzerland and the United States are steady in fourth and fifth place respectively. The UK is ranked 15th behind several countries including, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Taiwan, Korea, China and Hong Kong.