Located on the first floor of the engineering building the UCSB Nanofabrication Facility is an awe inspiring scientific wonderland. As part of my research on LEDs, and laser diodes I have been granted access to the UCSB nanofabrication facility to process gallium nitride wafers which already have device layers grown on them into individual LEDs or laser diodes.
The facility is used by students as well as industry and seems to be a busy place regardless of time of day.
Inside you’ll find several corridors (or as they are more commonly referred to “bays”) branching off of a main hallway. Each bay is lined with crazy, “mad scientist” looking equipment ranging from the ordinary microscope to huge metallic vacuum chambers with rods, windows, and wires protruding from them.
As an undergraduate student, having access to this facility is an amazing opportunity. I have been able to get experience that I doubt would be possible without becoming involved in undergraduate research. Experience ranging from just the basics of how to gown up properly and typical clean room etiquette, to the 190+ step process of turning a gallium nitride wafer into actual laser diodes.
The Nanofabrication Facility at UCSB is also an amazingly helpful and cooperative environment to work in. Since there are people inside who range in experience from post doctoral researchers and industry professionals to the novice undergraduate intern; I was pleasantly surprised to find that everyone was very helpful and offered advice and assistance freely. This truly makes for an amazing environment to learn in.
It also has a iris scanner to enter the building, which is just plain cool…