Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

College's Newest Science Lab Contains Specialized Focus

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

College's Newest Science Lab Contains Specialized Focus

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY (JR) -- Oklahoma City Community College will begin offering classes in semiconductor manufacturing technology in January.

The program, which grants an associate in science upon completion, prepares students to fabricate integrated circuits and high-tech electrical components in environmentally controlled cleanrooms.

Dr. Robert P. Todd, president of the college, will dedicate the semiconductor manufacturing technology lab, along with the new biotechnology and human anatomy labs, during a special ceremony from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday. Tours of the entire Science Complex will be given. The public is invited to attend.

"Integrated circuits, on a large scale, are like transistors," explains Dr. Debra Burris, professor of physics and director of the program.

"They are basically computer chips made up of millions of microprocessors," she said. "Anything that is programmable, like a VCR or a cell phone or even a kid's toy, uses these components. As you can imagine, that encompasses an enormous number of products that we use every day."

Students will learn to create the highly sensitive devices that serve as the brains for these products through the process of etching minuscule circuits using chemicals and light.

"The process is a lot like taking a picture," Burris said.

"You start with a wafer and put a photo emulsion on it. You then overlay a negative of the component, and essentially take a picture. The emulsion reacts to ultraviolet light; all of the parts that are exposed will react when you put the wafer in the developer. Then, when we put the wafer into the acid, it will only etch away certain parts of the circuit. The principles of how this works have actually been known for a long time. We're just doing it on a smaller scale."

A new semiconductor manufacturing technology lab, designed to simulate a professional cleanroom, has been built so that students will be knowledgeable about industry standards. And, just like professionals in the industry, students will work in protective bunny suits.

"A cleanroom is a dust-free, environmentally controlled lab, and the bunny suits aren't designed to protect us, but to protect the devices we are working on from us," Burris said. …

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