Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Testing very small stuff

I was cleaning out my inbox (again) and started reading a recent issue of Evaluation Engineering. I realized that I had referenced articles from them before, did a search, and found three separate times (one, two, three). So the next box car in my train of thought ran, "I wonder what they say about nanotech testing?"

For the last 9 months or so I've been involved in testing devices that involve either MEM structures or nanoscale devices. This has required a certain evolution in my thinking. For example, a few years ago I had never thought I'd have to automate & analyze the data from an interferometer that imaged micro-scale shutters. I did just that this past spring.

I think the first time I was really aware of nanotechnology as a going concern was back around 1991 when I read Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition. Of course, that book is somewhat out of date 18 years later, but at the time it was a great read - I still have my copy.

SO I've been reading more about testing at this level lately. Here's a few articles:
Battery development & testing
Testing a nanotech system

Keithley has been particularly active in this area. Two years ago they introduced a nanotech testing blog. A couple of weeks ago I received a Nanotechnology Test & Measurement Resource Guide. Good for them.

After reading more details about nanotech testing over the past couple months, I've come up with two conclusions. One, I've barely scratched the surface. Two, nanotechnology is rapidly expanding, and I thnik the need for testing it will be key in the 21st century.

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