Arun's Tech Blog

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My First Wafer!

Finished processing the first layer on my first microelectromechanical systems device wafer today! Took it through the entire process. Cleaning -> Chromium deposit -> Gold deposit -> L-edit design -> Masks made offsite -> Cleaning -> HMDS spin-on -> Photoresist spin-on -> Prebake -> Exposure -> Postbake -> Development -> Gold etch -> Chrome etch -> Resist strip. The devices on the images below are on at a micron scale. Lets take a look! Who would have guessed that one day I would use a microscope for something actually useful? Photoresist development looks spot on – disregard the dirty microscope lense Alright! The thicker beams are definitely etched well but it looks as if the 4-micron beam may be overetched... read more

Old school cabling (Courtesy of the Smithsonian)

These pictures are from the Aerospace Smithsonian, the first few are of a power-distribution-unit from the Space Shuttle and show some, surprisingly, messy looking cabling. However, in their defense, it is pretty neat and I doubt visual aesthetics were any where near as important as using the shortest cable paths due to weight concerns. Also surprising, the cables exhibit minimal insulation. Once again I would think this is attributed to weight concerns yet as it is such a critical component I would have expected something sturdier so as to avoid any possible complication that could be brought about by a short or disconnect due to mechanical failure from the violent launch. Lastly there is a large soldered circuit which was... read more

Lessons from electronics in rockets

During Battle of the Rockets the UIC AIAA team got to see some pretty serious rockets shoot off as well as fire one of our own. If only once. The team trecked down to Virginia in a couple vans to join several other universities in several competitions. For the largest competition, there was an autonomous rover to be built and deployed by our largest rocket and although I was happy with where the rover had gotten to after only a week or two of non-stop emergency construction, we never got to see it work due to a failure in the main parachute deployment system. There is not much to be learned from an electronics standpoint when your work gets slammed... read more

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