Category Archives: Safety in ‘III/V’ processing

Another innovative way to detect HIV

Dear all,

While surfing on the internet I came across this short interesting article in the paper.
Okay, it’s HLN but I found it interesting because it fits perfectly with my blog.

The article shows that there is so much room for innovation in medicine.
Thanks to a normal disk that we normally use for entertainment we can detect one of the most harmfull diseases known. One of the diseases that causes one of the most death in the whole world, not only the third world.

I find this really touching and I’m thinking do something with it in my next studies.

What do you guys think?


The mChip

Hi everybody,

In my last post I talked about five medical breakthroughs in medicine thanks to technology. In the fifth breakthrough I named the mChip (mobile microfluidic chip).
I was sorry that I didn’t tell you more about the mChip so I did a little research to make it up to you.

I found information on these two websites. Of course there are more websites but then it becomes to technical.

I recommend you to watch the Youtube-clip of the first link in which the biggest part is explained.

The goal is or was, because they achieved their goal, to develop a low cost testing device in resource limited settings and that this device could be transported and fabricated everywhere.
This was necessary to avoid long waiting times, trips to hospitals far away that can’t paid,…

Like Samuel Sia tells in the clip that indeed the biggest challenge is to fabricate the card or chip at low cost possible. In the other article I found some numbers and the total price of the card is $1 and the instrument costs $100. This isn’t a lot of money but they are still trying to lower the price. This low cost can be achieved because they use only 3 simple parts: a plastic tube loaded with blood and chemical reagents, molded plastic card and a syringe. Also low amount of molecules are necessary to detect the species.
It is possible to bring the manufacture in place because everything is kept as simple as possible. The facilities can be moved all over the world on short notice and produce the same quality and quantity.

What I find really interesting in this type of research is how a lot of different kinds of science are coupled in one invention and how the progress and development of one new technology has its positive influence on other research.

For example:
I find it impressive how few molecules can be inserted in the loop channels and capture the species you want to detect. This is pure biology, the bonding of anti-bodies
In the post-processing to get the results other branches of science are used. The chemical reaction of gold and silver, spectroscopy to detect how much light passes through the loop after the reactions of the antibodies,…

Another example:
The main idea was to fabricate this mChip but now the research expanded and also focuses on other developments. Like stated in the text they focus on the interaction between cells and their extracellular environment to form human tissues and organs. This research again connects different branches of science including biochemistry, molecular biology, micro-fabrication, micro-fluids, materials chemistry and cell and tissue biology.

Five medical breakthroughs thanks to technology

While surfing on the internet looking for others breakthroughs in medicine achieved thanks to the evolution in technology and IC, I ended up reading this article:

Okay, now I know it’s not the most scientific source but it shows exactly what I am telling time after time. Technology is really important for the development of our health.
The article shows the latest 12 most significant medical breakthroughs. The article has been published on January 25 2012 so it is possible that it is a bit outdated but that doesn’t matter to my purpose. I just want to show you that from the 12 breakthroughs, 5 are only possible due to technological improvement. That’s almost 50%…

Let’s look at the third point: Skin cells Printer repairs burns (Huidcellenprinter herstelt brandwonden)

Thanks to the 3-D scan and 3-D printing it will be possible to ‘easily’ provide the patient of new skin after he suffers skin loss of skin burn.
It’s not the biggest and most deadly ‘disease’ but it shows that also the daily problems need to be investigated to help improve people’s health.
As mentioned in the article this technique can possibly evolve to ‘organ printing’ and would be a serious breakthrough in donor transplants and also a better solution as the second point in the article (alternative for donor organs).

The fourth point of is: Stomach Pacemaker combats obesity (Maagpacemaker bestrijdt obesitas)

This is also an ‘invention’ that has nothing to do with the most complicated diseases but a disease that occurs daily.
It’s the perfect alternative for unhealthy diets where people starve their selves or take pills that are not 100% controlled or worse not 100% safe.
It is also an alternative for the stomach ring.
The only disadvantage is the high price but this can lower in time as it is introduced in the market or when more research has been done.

The fifth point of the article is close to my previous post: Minilab accelerates correct diagnosis (Minilab versnelt correcte diagnose)

The minilab can detect all kinds of bacteria, viruses in the blood in a very short time instead of the examinations that are done nowadays and which take a lot of time. Examples are the MRSA-bacteria, better known as hospital bacteria. But also flue, cancer and HIV can be detected more quickly due to the minilab.
The fact that there are a lot of similar techniques, points out that those techniques are very doable and very useful!

The tenth point of the article is close to the point of the 3-D printer and 3-D scan: Brand new imaging technique (Gloednieuwe beeldvormingstechniek)

It is a new imaging technique that has been developed. Thanks to this technique it is possible to identify different areas in the lungs. The authentic tests could not identify the different areas and left doctors with no idea about which parts were affected. It is very helpful for people who suffer of ‘the innocent’ kind of asthma or for patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
It is an important breakthrough because now it is possible to give personalized and individual treatments to people because the doctors can see how the inhaled medication is distributed in the lungs.

The twelfth and last discussed breakthrough is: Cheap chip detects infectious diseases (Goedkope chip spoort besmettelijke ziekten op)

This chip is called the mChip (mobile microfluidic chip) and can tell whether the patient is infected with HIV, syphilis or other infectious diseases.
The greatest advantage is that it operates very fast. Instead of very long analysis hours it gives a result that is equally accurate in only 20 minutes.
This chip is also interesting because it can help in our debate about development aid. If this kind of chip is used in third world countries, the death rate -that is a consequence of those diseases- drops and the health increases. Then maybe the people realize that they can have a chance at a better life and they make a ‘click’ like we did after Pasteur’s inventions.

Cancer detecting micro-chip

Hi guys,

Apparently today I am in a very inspiring mood so here is another post about micro-chips in de medical section.

The purpose of my posts is to make you aware of the wider application area of micro-chips.
With this statement I mean that micro-chips are not only usefull to make your computer go faster, to have a smaller of thinner smartphone,…

No micro-chips can also be used to save peoples lives!

The link below is the article that I am posting about.

It is about a micro-chip that can determinate cancer and tells in wath stadium the cancer is evolved.
I chose this article because in my family there is someone who is suffering from cancer and I see the misery and problems from the first row. That’s why I find this article especially interesting and I want to share it with you.

Thanks to this micro-chip the doctor can be advised when the cancer becomes active and it shows how much damage it already caused to the body.
This all without the complicated examinations that a cancer patient has to undergo these days. Like I said, I’ve seen in from nearby and it is not nice.
It goes from numerous blood tests, PET-scans, other blood tests,… and it takes forever to get the results of the tests. Especially when you are the patient.
This is one of the advantages.
The biggest advantage though is that the cancer can be determinate without the specific tests and that they can directly aply the right treatment.
I speak again about the example of my family. The cancer there was detected ‘by accident’ when doing a small operation. This was a like we say in Dutch ‘geluk bij een ongeluk’ becaus if the small operation wasn’t done maybe the cancer was never determined or determined to late and the person I am talking about wasn’t here anymore.
I am sure that you may all know someone who hasn’t been this lucky and when the doctors discovered the cancer it was already to late.

I hope that this kind of stories can make you aware of the importance of research of using the technology of today in the medical industrie.

Thanks you for your time.

Micro-chip medication

Hi everybody,

In my quest of a new topic to blog about I found a very interessting article about the application of micro-chips. The content is again medical related.

The article is about the RFID microchip. Briefly explained: it is a very small micro-chip that is incorporated in medication to control or check the how the patient takes his medication and to supervise on the effect of medication and the patients health.

Here is the link to the article:

Here you can see a picture of the size of the chip:


I find this a very good invention in very different and helpfull ways.

Most of the people don’t like to take medicines and when they have to take the medicines they often take them irregularly of stop taking them before they really begin to help. With this RFID micro-chip this will not be done onobserved anymore. Your doctor will be aware that you aren’t taking you medication the right way and he can show you the risks.

This can be very helpfull for example in the case that you somebody who is close to you is an addict or has a serious problem and he doesn’t want to face it. So you obligate him to go to the doctor. The doctor then prescribes him the medication but after one week the patient stops taking the medication. Now using this RFID micro-chip you can control the patient and help him to carry on taking his medication.

An other example is for the people who forget to take their pills it is a handy way to set a reminder. Like stated in the article you can connect the micro-chip with your smartphone and then your smartphone gives you a reminder. For example the women who take birth control pills. A lot of them get in trouble because they take it irregularly because they simply forget. Thanks to the chip inside the medication they can get a reminder that they have to take it.

An example of the use of the chip is stated in the article below:

It also shows the use. In this example you don’t have to take the medicin yourself but the micro-chip gives it to you.

What do you guys think of this invention and evaluation?

One question that rised up in me is; is this type of medication ethically correct? Because it’s like stated in the article: “Big Brother is watching you”.
You can find a critical article on the link below:

‘Human Body on a Microchip May Test Drugs’

We all know and notice that the way we live today is totally different than ‘in the old days’. Everything is going faster and is controlled by electronics. We are all aware of the latest technologies and it has become obvious that everyone has multiple of these gadgets and knows how to work with them.

A large part of this technological revolution is due to the microchip. I think most of the people who have a little bit of science background know the ’law of Moore’. It states that the amount of transistors in an integrated circuit (microchip) doubles every two years due to the technological progress. To the present day this law still stands and for us it is very clear. Everything becomes faster, smaller, thinner,…

Personally I was not or am not surprised anymore when Steve Jobs or Tim Cook said that the new Iphone would be faster, had a better design… Or when Microsoft tells they will launch a new and better tablet.

What really intrigues me is the use of IC-technology in the biochemistry, the pharmaceutical and the medical sector. That’s what I find really attractive about the latest technology end this part of the technological era. And I think big companies like Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, … should invest more money in that kind of research instead of fighting each other for patents about some new application of making their new smartphone or tablet a few mm thinner. In my free time a sometimes read about new things they try to introduce and a few days ago I found an interesting article on the internet newspaper.
The title is ‘Human Body on a Microchip May Test Drugs’. It is about simulating the working of the 10 most important human organs on a microchip. Every microchip will ‘be’ one organ and they will be connected to each other. The designers go very deep because the can even simulate the muscle contraction of the organs. The goal is to replace laboratory animals for testing of new drugs and other pharmaceutical products because the test on these animals are not always accurate and may have a good effect on them but not on the human body. It is also a better and faster testing method.

You can find the link here:

Maybe this post sounds crazy to you because it is a strange way to like technology but maybe that’s my abnormality of being a chemical engineer. What do you guys think about this subject?

Safety in ‘III/V processing’

Dear all,

In the following text I will give a little explanation about my masterthesis

The title of my masterthesis is ‘Safety issues of III/V processing in microchip manufacturing’. I do this in cooperation with Imec which is situated in Heverlee, Belgium.
My primary supervisor is the head of security of Imec , and actually I work for him. I also stay in close contact with the engineers and a group of scientists that work on this project.

The project didn’t started a long time ago so the work I am going to do can be very crucial for the development of those safety issues which makes it much more interesting for me and it is a bigger challenge because it’s a starting branch of a big and successful company.

In a first stage I have to understand how a microchip is fabricated and how it works. All the steps have to be clear. I also have to understand the techniques that are used to fabricate a microchip.
After this step I had to give a presentation at Imec in front of the head of security and it went great.
Now I am walking in to the second phase which is the understanding of all the chemical reactions of III/V processing and the safety hazards that come with them.
After this brief introduction I am going to discuss the biggest difference between the normal way of fabricating a microchip and III/V processing.

In normal IC development the different layers of the microchip are put on each other. For example we start with a p-doped Silicium (IV) substrate and we start to put other materials on top of this to for example form a pn- and np-junction or to protect the layer beneath (this is done by SiN, TiSi2)… After almost every step that a new layer is composed there has to be an ‘etching-‘or ‘masking’-step. In these steps a part of the layer is removed to form a connection hole or to be filled up with another material. These etching steps are crucial and critical steps because they are often performed by a chemical reaction. Due to this chemical reaction gasses can be formed that can give safety hazards.

In III/V processing the microchip is formed out of components of the third and fifth column of the table of Mendeljev. The base of the microchip is already formed. We don’t work from top to bottom by putting layers on top of each other. A question that may rise is: How do you form the connection holes? And how can the microchip are provided of the necessary material? This is done by penetrating the microchip from the top to the desired layer. This is again done by different etching steps. These etching steps are different from those used in the normal IC manufacturing.

My key purpose is to discover the chemical reaction that occur in these etch-steps and try to find alternatives of solutions to ensure the safety of the employees at Imec. The final goal is to elaborate a risk-analysis. This is not only done by me but in cooperation with the head of security and the engineers.