Monday May 27, 2013
1 min read

Monday May 27, 2013

Monday May 27, 2013

Still life of funnel with gold. One rule of the cleanroom: if it looks like gold, it probably is.

We use a lot of gold in the cleanroom, as it turns out to have pretty useful optical and electrical properties. It’s just unfortunate coincidence that it’s also lovely and shiny and terribly expensive. Fortunately, for most of our purposes, we need layers of gold that are so thin (hundreds of nanometers, or around a thousandth the width of a human hair) that the material cost is relatively low.

So, this is in all likelihood a funnel that someone used for gold. There is actually waste gold - again, not significant quantities - that gets etched away or peeled off or discarded. I’ve had the odd experience of using Scotch tape to peel off gold from a microscope slide (it comes off easily… gold sticks notoriously poorly to materials like glass).

The colors are weird and yellow here because this particular room of the cleanroom is all lit in a strange yellow-orange. They have to avoid high-energy visible light like green and blue because it’ll interfere with some of the chemical processes they’re working on in that room. Gets really weird to work in there, after a while. The yellow starts to look white again…