Wednesday, July 16, 2014

First, have a Belgian beer, but then get to work!

From left, Matthew, Polly, Rustin and Eugene try the local brew.
Today's blog comes from Eugene Yoon a senior in chemical and biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Leuven is a very pretty college town with lots of trees and friendly people. The weather can be rather erratic as it was raining a lot for my first week here and now it is hitting the 30's (Celsius) in my third week.

Our group from Hopkins decided to celebrate our arrival on our second day after getting settled in with a nice dinner in the town square. Dinner in Belgium would not be complete without the delicious premier beer that the country is famous for. Matt and I sampled the tripel karmeliet because our waiter told us it was his favorite.

Like I said, the city itself is quite beautiful. A lot of it has forest-like areas with paths for biking and running, but once you get inside the city there are many majestic buildings as well. There is also the Oude Market which is essentially a strip of cafes and bars where many of the college kids like to hang out. It is also definitely going to be the place to be to watch the world cup games!

IMEC is one of the world's premier research institutions in micro and nanoelectronics. It was founded in 1985 as the interuniversity MICROelectronics center, so perhaps INEC might be a more fitting name in the 21st century? Anyways, on our first day we received a tour around the place by our host PhD student, Evelien Mathieu. We saw the "ballroom" which is a massive cleanroom which houses multimillion dollar equipment viewable through a glass wall.

The ballroom is this deep!

I am working with my supervisor and PhD student, Jordi Cools, on a project combining mutlielectrode arrays developed at IMEC and 3D self-folding microstructures from professor Gracias' lab. Although the P line (production line) equipment is state-of-the-art and can fabricate nano-scale structures, IMEC also has an experimental research section called the III-V lab.

I will probably spend a lot of time in the III-V since P line stuff is inacessible to me because it is for high throughput and standardized industry processes. There is much work to do and with that I will conclude this blog entry!

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