The Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP visited the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre at the University on Tuesday 5th October 2010.
Professor Douglas Paul, Director of the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre and Dr Gordon Mills of Kelvin Nanotechnology accompanied the Secretary of State on a tour of the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre. The centre brings together many different research groups working in engineering and the physical and life sciences. Research groups are currently working in optoelectronics, micro and nano technology, ultrafast systems, nanoelectronics, molecular beam epitaxy, atomic force microscopy and bioelectronics. The Secretary of State was presented with two chips fabricated in the cleanroom, one with the complete works of Robert Burns written on the the areas equivalent to the end of a pin head and also the smallest written University crest in the world (shown below on the left).
Engineers from the University of Glasgow produced these chips to highlight their world-leading nanotechnology expertise. The University crest is only 700 nanometres wide which is about one thousandth the diameter of a human hair. As Prof Paul explained "It is very difficult to explain to people about the world leading nanofabrication and nanotechnology we have at Glasgow. Whilst these examples may not be the most useful applications, they demonstrate the technology that is being used in nanoelectronics, healthcare, security, energy and optoelectronic applications, many of which will be in peoples homes within a few years. By nanopatterning surfaces, we can make them repell water, a property known as hydrophobic. One can imaging making glasses or bottles which never need to be cleaned as the hydrophobic coatings prevent any liquids from touching the surface. This has many applications and could potentially make plates that never need cleaning - people will never argue about who will be washing up every again!"