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

Thursday 27 October 2011

PVD Products PLD/MBE Systems

A new video from PVD Products, Inc. our partner in pulsed laser deposition systems has just been launched on YouTube. Take a look and see why customers choose this system, which RTA installs and supports in Europe.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Q3 results for Thermo Fisher Scientific

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO), the world leader in serving science, today reported its financial results for the third quarter ended October 1, 2011. Highlights include revenue growth of 13% to a record $2.97 billion and adjusted operating margin increased 120 basis points to 18.4%. RTA is of course pleased to have contributed its small part!

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Not a flash in the pan?

Research group Gartner expect the 2011 market for worldwide ICs to decline slightly compared with 2010. Demand for DRAM memory being impacted by the reduced demand for PCs. However the growing demand for smartphones and iPads is fuelling the 20% growth for NAND flash memory devices. A week following the Gartner report, Samsung announced the operation of the world's largest NAND flash memory line. Located in Korea and housed in a twelve story building, Samsung started construction in May last year and the operating line is capable of producing over 10,000 12-inch wafers per month.

Thursday 20 October 2011

44,300,000 is a big number

Research and analysis by Strategy Analytics says that the recovery of the GaAs industry continued throughout 2010, resulting in a 26% increase in demand for semi-insulating (SI) GaAs substrates. They estimate that 2010 saw the consumption of nearly 30,000,000 square inches of SI GaAs substrates. The market research firm predicts that the total SI GaAs substrate market will grow at a compound annual average growth rate of 6% to more than 44,300,000 square inches in 2015.

Tuesday 18 October 2011


Researchers from ETH Zurich and CNRS France have used MBE to fabricate and RF analyse AlGaN/GaN HEMTs grown on (110) silicon substrates. Cut-off frequencies of 70GHz were measured.

The full text is available at this link.

Thursday 13 October 2011

To replace the transistor

Semiconductor Research Corp (SEC), a US university-research consortium, and the National Science Foundation, the US government agency supporting fundamental research, are funding 12 nanoelectronics research grants to $20 million. The interdisciplinary research teams at 24 participating US universities are funded to find a nanoelectronic switching mechanism as a replacement for the transistor. The Nanoelectronics for 2020 and Beyond programme involves several IC manufacturing companies including Globalfoundries, IBM, Intel, Micron Technology and Texas Instruments. The Nanoelectronics Research Initiative within SEC has a goal of demonstrating the feasibility of novel computing devices in simple computer circuits within the next five to ten years.

Details of the funded projects are available at this link.

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Thinking the unthinkable

We await the outcome of further work and data reviews as to whether neutrinos actually do cover the 732 km from CERN in Switzerland to Gran Sasso in Italy faster than the speed of light. It is difficult to fully comprehend the implications of these findings for the Special Theory of Relativity, but a large number of text books would need serious changes. Whilst history shows that nobody is infallible, betting against Einstein is not usually a good idea and many scientists remain sceptical. In 2007, MINOS scientists at the Fermilab also clocked neutrinos apparently moving faster than the speed of light, but the margin of error for that experiment was far greater than what was reported at CERN. Bad news travels fast, but perhaps Professor Close (Oxford University) is right to note that "the only thing that travels faster than light is a rumour."

Thursday 6 October 2011

NEXUS invests in Thermo Scientific XPS

The National EPSRC XPS-User’s Service, NEXUS, based at Newcastle University has invested in two high performance XPS systems from Thermo Scientific, the Theta Probe and the K-Alpha. In addition to supplying high quality instrumentation, both Thermo and RTA are supporting the facility with advanced applications and operator training, annual XPS Workshops and regular site visits to review operations and answer user questions.

The K-Alpha is being installed this week and will be available to users shortly afterwards.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Nudge Theory

Most of us need to influence the behaviour of other people at some time and adopt various approaches in order to achieve the outcomes we desire. Do we expect others to agree and follow us because we tell them; or do we expect their rational thought processes to naturally arrive at the same conclusion as ourselves? How do you manage to get someone to stop smoking or invest in blue sky research? This month has seen much comment both in the US and UK about the use of Thaler & Sunstein's Nudge Theory within political circles and its social and economic impact. Without getting lost in the "libertarian paternalism" debate, nudging involves presenting choices in a certain way. The key is in arranging the choice architecture so that individuals can be nudged in a certain way without taking away their freedom of choice.

Like many in the 1970s I was enthralled by the insane humour of Monty Python's Flying Circus and know that this resonated in other countries too, including Germany (see below). They had a rather different and perhaps less advisable take on nudging. In uncertain times it is good to laugh.