Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Wtf are you talking about Willis?!

Not going to lie, when I first got my dissertation title I didn’t know what it meant. Straight up I had no idea what a nitrite thin film was. So the first task of this monster of a project was the simple task of googling what the bloody thing meant! As I did more reading into what thin films were I discovered that they are all around us and are one of the leading areas of research in modern day technology.
By definition a thin film is “(of a process or device) using or involving a very thin solid or liquid film” or in electronic terms “denoting a miniature circuit or device consisting of a thin layer of metal or semiconductor on a ceramic or glass substrate”
In other words thin films of various materials are made by settling a thin layer of material over a reacting surface. Think of it as a coating over a block. A nice little coat. Depending on the material used for the thin film it changes the properties of the layer and what it can be used for.
The process by which the layer is made is a type of surface engineering and it called deposition. I will go into more what this means later on (I bet you’re very excited)
The applications of thin films is massive! They can be used in so many different ways and they are used all around us, for example a familiar application of thin films is in mirrors. These are typically made by a thin metal coating on the back of a sheet of glass to form a reflective surface, this process is called silvering. A very-thin-film coating (less than about 50 nanometers thick) is used to produce two-way mirrors.

The main reason that the demand of thin films has increased is down to their uses in optics and their use in semiconductors. Due to the fact that (obvious by the name) they are such thin coatings they are perfect to be used to coat wires which helps in nanotechnology as the goal in future electronics is to make everything smaller and more efficient. Other examples of thin film application include being used in space science, defence, aviation and several other industries!
So there you go, the first insight into what delights are coming your way! The exciting, exhilarating world of thin films. Such a small part of the big bad world of material science and yet something that is applied all around you in everyday life from looking in your bathroom mirror to coating the wires in your laptop and even being used in space. What useful little things thin films are ay?

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

But my mom says I'm cool...

Your last year of university. It’s a very testing time with a selection of your lasts and first, a gaggle of essays and tests constantly being throw at you and the mastering of working off 4 hours sleep a night. Oh and of course that one piece of work that is famous for bringing men to their knees in tears, your dissertation. The taboo word of the year, no one wants to speak about it but it’s the only thing people have to talk about. Lucky for me I am in this place right now, constantly in the library reading journal after journal looking for ideas of how to write this 9000 words of misery. Great.
Oh Mark you have no idea
I am currently studying my undergraduate degree in pharmaceutical chemistry and for my dissertation in the form of a literature review which is just me reading and reading and reading scientific journals, articles, books and using this information to answer my title and then in the end bring forward my own ideas for the future of my topic (I bet you’re all jealous now). Alongside the 9000 words I need to write I am going to perform a presentation on my title, make a poster and make a public dissemination piece and this is where blogger comes in. A public dissemination piece is where I need to discuss my review with members of the public (you guys! Oh hey you!) and portray it in a way that anyone can understand. So hopefully it means that anyone will be able to know what I am wittering on about even without a background in chemistry, HOW EXCITING.
Oh and just wait, you haven’t heard what my title is yet *drum roll*
Coordination compounds in low oxidation states as precursors for the deposition of stoichiometric group IV and V metal nitride thin films
*fireworks and music and cheering of pure excitement*
To wrap this lengthy babble up what I am trying to do is to make everyone interested in science by making it as easy and as interesting (hopefully) as possible. So if you want to learn about how thin films are made, wow, please keep reading!
I will post what I do in small posts, I don’t want people falling asleep on their laptops now, and try to convey it in a way everyone will understand. I will include pictures as well just to keep it fresh and who doesn’t love a good science diagram *swoon*
If anyone has already gone through the tortures of a dissertation and have any advice how not to have a breakdown and buy the entire of ASOS then please share!

Stay cool and wish me luck!