Friday, April 30, 2010

A circumstantial discovery

At the conference in Bangalore last week, Jeremy Levy (U. Pittsburgh) gave a fascinating talk about a significant new discovery that allows one to fabricate nanoscale electronic circuits at the interface between two transition metal oxide materials. (as described in this Science paper)

There were several things that were circumstantial about this discovery.

* Jeremy had tickets to the 2006 World Cup Final in Germany. This led to a visit to Augsburg that stimulated the original ideas.

* As a kid, Jeremy had played with
Etch A Sketch and understanding how it works inspired the basic idea on how to "write" the circuit onto the interface.

* The original fabrication was not done under vacuum but in air. It turned out that the water vapour present was essential to inducing charge carriers into the interface.

When I started writing this post I thought the discovery involved serendipity, but that involves more when one is looking for something different.

1 comment:

  1. Yes I was also there at Bangalore conference. It was truly fascinating talk.