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Belfast 2001,view from the River Lagan close to the Ormeau Bridge.
The notice reads: 



Bulgarian Experience


A serious look at NI Politics!


Not floating bodies in space but UHV nanocavities in silicon formed by implantation of helium and annealing to 1050 deg. C. NISRC, Queens University Belfast

Nanotechnology Workshop, Sofia, Nov 2000

Rain and wind interminably lashed the whole of Western Europe seemingly for months on end, while the Balkans were privilege to the sunniest autumnal months of the Continent. Sofia, Bulgaria was host to an informative two days of lectures and discussions on the latest developments in nanoscience and technology featuring a large representation from BAS and Sofia University as well as the USSR and Poland with invited speakers from the West.
The workshop included presentations on modelling, characterisation, synthesis and processing with respect to optical, magnetic, electrochemical, chemical and mechanical properties of  materials. Applications covered a wide range of topics from batteries to microelectronics and sensors.

The ancient town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria
The old Roman ampitheatre in the foreground against a background of the modern city with mountains in the far distance
(More pictures of Bulgarian historical places)

Guidelines for writing papers and sending to journals.
This guide is necessary because many papers being submitted are of very poor quality!

Vacuum science and technology courses!

Thin film deposition courses!
Nanotechnology is all the rage now, and an almost essential word if you want to stand the remotest chance of getting your grant application approved by HMG,UK. Late in 2004, the hot topic of nanotechnology brought scientists from all parts of the world to a 12 day school and conference in the Black Sea resort of Sozopol, Bulgaria. This NATO sponsored event was designed to introduce the latest advances in nanotechnology to young people working in laboratories across the globe and featured lectures, tutorials and poster sessions in subjects ranging from biotechnology to nuclear physics. Relief from the intensive intellectual effort was provided by excursions to historical places like Nesebar, evening parties with demonstrations of walking on hot coals and midnight jiving sessions to live music

Dr Richard Hurley
Home page
Silicon atoms bonding at the junction of two wafer surfaces brought together, (see NISRC for wafer-bonding services)

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  • Consultant and lecturer in High Vacuum Science and Technology.
  •  Specialist in thin film deposition, ion beam technology, 
  • electrical phenomena in high vacuum and low-pressure systems.
[QUB Icon]The Queen's University of Belfast
Northern Ireland Semiconductor Research Centre
School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Ashby Building, Belfast BT9 5AH, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)28 90329632/90274084
Fax: +44 (0)28 90963595/90667023

Electronic submission
Papers to VACUUM
Reduce long snail-mail delays during reviewing and revision

ION...2004/2006. Numbers of participants continue to increase indicating the popularity of this Polish conference on ion beams and related material science. Proceedings to be published in Vacuum
NISRCcurrent research is producing ultra-thin silicon on silicide (SSOI) using smart-cut technology (H implantation), with silicon wafer-bonding. Of  particular interest is the reduction of cross-talk achieved by locating the silicide layer underneath the insulating oxide layer. Applications include high speed digital circuits and high frequency low noise analogue circuits on the same chip using a ground plane that effectively  pins the substrate potential producing a major reduction in cross-talk.
NISRC participating in a SILICON-GERMANIUM collaborative programme to develop heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs). Funded by EPSRC (UK), other Universities involved in the project include Southampton, Liverpool, Surrey, and Imperial College (report: Electronics Weekly, 22/11/2000).
IBM 's plans for a 300mm fab include copper wiring, SOI, low-k dielectrics and line widths below 100nm. Production expected 2003.

The latest on Silicon wafer bonding was discussed at the 6th Int. Symposium in San Francisco (ECS Int. Meeting), Sept 2001. Silicon-on-Insulator was a important topic with thin layers of high quality silicon being produced by methods as diverse as the explosion of implanted hydrogen bubbles to slicing with high-pressure water jets, or just old-fashioned etching. Needless to say all these methods need a final smoothing process, either polishing or hydrogen annealing.

'Stone Forest,' a remarkable natural phenomenon from 50 million years ago, situated 18km west of Varna and well worth a visit. 
Stone Forest (Pobitite Komani)
There have been many theories, but currently it is believed that these carbonate - cemented sandstone structures were formed due to microbial methane oxidation around natural gas seepages - so called "bubbling reefs". The cementation occurred in the sub-bottom marine sands some 50 million years ago and now are exposed by subsequent erosion of the surrounding unconsolidated sediments and vertical tectonic movements of the earth crust. (
VEIT 2003 13th International Summer School on Vacuum, Electron and Ion Technologies 15/09/03 - 19/09/03. First Announcement

VEIT 2001,
Twelfth International Summer School, Varna, 
Bulgaria (17-21 Sept)

Sunny Bulgaria was host to a wealth of interesting papers and talk on Vacuum, Electron and Ion Technologies. The appalling events in America prevented the attendance of the North American speakers, a significant loss to the school program. The main emphasis was applications, especially thin films including hard coatings and semiconductors, (proceedings to be published in Vacuum).

Relaxing after Nanotechnology in Sozopol,  Bulgaria, 2004.
scientists jiving
To the band!
clarinet and band
Photography: Vesselin Houbanov

Time Traveller

November 2002

Bon Dia! As silicon wafer bonding scientists and engineers prepare for the ECS Paris conference in 2003, they can look back to the delights of the Autumn 2002 Workshop session in Barcelona, famous for its pickpockets, seafood and Gaudi. Substantial emphasis on low temperature bonding for MEMS, layer transfer, polymer substrates (for the flexible transistor?), with plasma processing seemingly now the standard treatment for bond strengthening (but can the particles be eliminated for good yield?). We look forward to the Paris meeting.

Sept 2001(San Francisco)
The ECS Joint International Meeting included the 200th meeting of the ECS itself. It was an occasion for an expensive banquet for those on generous expense accounts. It has to be said there were some grim expressions amongst delegates when the wine-waiter failed to appear...? You guessed right; it was a case of 'if you want a drink with your meal, then buy it yourself,' from a wheeled-in bar! After an evening of self-service courses, the tables were cleared in no uncertain fashion by the Hilton staff anxious to get off duty. Thankfully the technical program was of higher standard. Report below.
July 2001
Bulgarian scientists desperate plea to the new Prime Minister (ex-King Simeon II)for resources to keep science and technology alive in Bulgaria. Currently scientists have to travel abroad to read the literature. Equipment and consumables urgently needed.

April 2001
Big Brother could be a little closer with  DERA's new record in transmitting quantum cryptography keys (Electronics Weekly, 04/04/2001). Information is encoded on  polarisation states of individual photons; its impressive and using satellites will be used for secure communication between Governments.  The same  Governments of course that demand the right to monitor every facet of the Internet.
February 2001
As Gerald Marcyk continues his European tour, rumours persist in Ireland of Intel laying off significant numbers of staff. Has the downturn in the semiconductor industry already arrived?


While in Varna visit the Archaeological Museum in the centre of town, formerly a quite splendid girls' high school, (in those days with red carpet ascending wide majestic stairs to the Principal's inner sanctum). Here lies the 'oldest gold in the world,' suggesting an independent civilisation in Bulgaria some 6000 years ago.
Skeleton adorned with gold ornaments, (Varna Arch. Museum)

Time Traveller cont.

Glyn Moody of Computer Weekly suggests the use of the hyperlink on web-sites may be under threat after a recent US ruling concerning DVD copyright, (DeCSS case).This and other recent rulings from US judges on copyright matters related to the Internet have quite serious implications for civil liberties. (DeCSS case, Harvard discussion)
The EFF is a starting point to explore civil liberties issues on the net and points to some interesting legal cases in recent years.

How is Broadband working out for you?

With optic fibres outside in the road it should be brilliant, but the truth is that without all-optical switching, optical fibre networks are severely limited in performance. Packet-level optical switching could be ten years away!
Discussion, Electronics Weekly Archives.
December 2000
Gerald Marcyk, INTEL announces prototype of new  transistor belonging to the world of nanotechnology (CNET Dec 10, 5:30 pm PT). A CD of 30 nm allows chips containing 400 million transistors to run at 10 GHz on <1V. Production expected in five years with applications in real-time language translation and speech recognition.
October 2000
Philips Semiconductor believes the downturn in the global chip market will not come until the end of 2002 and in the meantime plans a new Euro 2bn fab capable of 0.12 and 0.10 micron processes. The 0.12 micron process is currently under joint development with STMicroelectronics at Crolles, France. Chip geometries below 0.1 micron require lithography at 157 nm with resolution enhancement; ASML expects to deliver tools by 2003.Latest news at:

"A fusion of Polish folk from Kazimierz Dolny and Western jazz."


ION 2002, Kazimierz-Dolny,  June 2002

Numbers had increased substantially this year, indicating this is becoming an increasingly popular conference in Eastern Europe and not surprising considering the extra-curricular entertainment provided which ranged from an organ concert on the oldest organ in Poland to a fusion of Polish folk and Western Jazz! The range of scientific papers demonstrated the key importance of materials science and future conferences will emphasise this aspect. The proceedings are to be published in the journal Vacuum.

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