IET Innovation Awards
24th November 2010 - The Annual IET Innovation Awards were held in London. DNA Electronics won the 2010 Innovation Award for Emerging Technologies for their Semiconductor-Only DNA Analysis – a new silicon chip technology for real-time DNA analysis, eliminating expensive and time-consuming laboratory processes.

The innovation was judged winner in a record three categories, also winning the Innovation Awards for Electronics and Healthcare Technologies.

Professor Hugh Clare, one of the judges of the awards commented that the standard had been higher than ever this year, and was particularly impressed with the entries in Nanotechnology and Microsystems Technology.

The Centre for Molecular Nanometrology Chooses A Nanosight LM-10 System

October 2009: NanoSight's success continues.  Nanosight, manufacturers of unique nanoparticle characterisation technology, has announced that the Centre for Molecular Nanometrology at the University of Strathclyde has selected an LM-10 characterisation system to aid in their research and development of new biosensors.

Hugh Clare, CEO of Nanoforce, said that he is very proud of his long association with NanoSight stretching back more than 10 years, and wishes the company every succes for the future.

MSL Picosecond Laser Micromachining Facility

Microbridge Systems Ltd (MSL) has a unique Picosecond Laser micromachining facility, built by Oxford Lasers.  

Picosecond Laser applications include hole drilling, blind hole and pocket milling, 3D structures, 2.5 machining and micro-cutting as well as discrete parts.  Very tight tolerances of +/- 1 micron can be achieved on simple structures by moving the workpiece.

Almost any material can be machined.

Nanoforce is very proud of its long association with MSL.

Further information about MSL can be found at MSL

Nanoforce Develops Conducting Cermics

Nanoforce Ltd., A spin-out from Queen Mary University London (QMUL), has one of only a handful of Spark Plasma Sintering Machines (SPS) that exist in the world.  This equipment is unique in the UK, and scientists within Nanoforce have been using it to manufacture high quality ceramics.  Recently this has included the development of conducting ceramics using carbon nanotubes (CNT)

Professor Hugh Clare the chair of Nanoforce commented "The SPS machine offers the possibility of manufacturing high quality ceramic-CNT materials that can be used for very high temperature sensors for example."

More information can be found at: Nanoforce

Professor Hugh Clare Gives Keynote Speech at Cardiff Healthcare Conference
The New Technologies in Healthcare 2009 Conference was held on 13th May 2009 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

Ieuan Wyn-Jones, Deputy First Minister and Minister for Economy and Transport opened the conference.
Emente’s CEO, Professor Hugh Clare gave the keynote speech, details of which can be found at Professor Hugh Clare, Cardiff Healthcare Conference
Professor Clare highlighted a number of examples of work he has carried out in the healthcare sector over the years and included some current work.

Professor Clare said that this was the most exciting time in history for the medical profession and healthcare in general. “We are seeing the application of new technologies right across the board,” he said “with excting new research being carried out around the world.” He went on to say, “The event highlighted the strength of the medical device sector in Wales, as well as advances in new technology and opportunities for suppliers and healthcare professionals across the Principality.”

The event featured industrially acknowledged experts who presented facets of their expertise throughout the day. There was also an opportunity for one-to-one meetings during the day via a brokerage service, with upwards of 200 meetings being held.

 All the presentations given on the day can be accessed at the following link:

AML Announces its Most Significant Deal in the Company’s History
For a number of years I worked with a large research institute in Texas. I became quite friendly with some of the people I worked with, and always looked forward to my trips. I remember Eddie saying to me on my first trip that in Texas it was either hot or hotter. Eddie was great. He is a taciturn Texan with a subdued but hilarious sense of humour – he made me laugh.
I remember on one trip I had a meeting with Eddie and a number of other people in one of the freezing meeting rooms. One of the things I learnt very quickly about Texan life is that if you have to wrap up warm to survive the air conditioning. I attended meetings wearing layers of overcoats, scarves, mittens, and even a balaclava if it was a particularly hot day because the air conditioning would be turned up high.
Eddie arrived in the meeting a little late carrying a largish brown cardboard box. He sat opposite to me and put the box on the large board table. I could just see Eddie around the box. The meeting continued. After a time Eddie could contain himself no longer, and asked me if I was going to ask him what was in the box in his dead-pan manner. “What’s in the box Eddie” I dutifully asked.
The attention of the meeting was now on Eddie’s box. He lifted the top of the box and tilted its contents onto the table. It was the skeleton of quite a large rattle snake. Eddie had a small holding, which since it was Texas was about the size of Wales. Eddie used to tell me about going home in the evening and wandering across his smallholding and talking to his cows in the dark. He said he got more sense out of his cattle than he did out of his colleagues. 
It seems he had been cutting the grass around the base of his fence posts using his tractor, and the snake had been lurking in the long grass when it had met an untimely end. The fire ants had done the rest by picking the skeleton clean in double quick time.
Eddie insisted on giving me the rattle. How could I refuse? He produced a small plastic bag that sealed. He broke off the rattle, put it in the plastic bag, and then put that in a small brown cardboard box that he produced from his briefcase.
There is a twist in the tail of this story. When I got back home to England, I doled out the presents as I always did to my children, and then I came across the small brown cardboard box, which I had forgotten about. My daughter was all eyes. I said to her, “I bet you can’t guess what’s in the box.” Without hesitation she said “A rattle snake.” You could have knocked me over with one of Eddie’s quips.
So what’s in the box at Applied Microengineering Ltd (AML)? AML is an innovative supplier of wafer bonding machines and bonding services. It has recently announced that its in-situ Aligned Wafer Bonding (AWB) machines are today firmly at the leading edge of global product innovation, with 2009 sales successes with a market leading mobile phone component manufacturer, commercial organisations and renowned academic institutions.

The most significant AWB sale in AML’s history has been placed by a market-leading organisation in Taiwan, to deliver high-volume production wafer level packaging technology utilised by the global mobile phone market.
“The company previously tried a machine from one of our competitors, but it was failing to meet the stringent specifications and throughput that were required,” explains CEO of AML, Rob Santilli. “We demonstrated that our AWB’s could combine the highest levels of alignment accuracy and high throughput, 8” wafer level, adhesive bonding for this high-volume production requirement, so crucial to this market. The new function provided by this technology is mind blowing and everyone with a mobile phone will want it! Today, we have a unique capability in this area and an advantage others cannot compete with in the large and growing market application of high accuracy, adhesive bonding, with both thermal and the first ever aligned, UV cure option system planned for this July, with even faster throughput.”
If you would like to learn more about what AML “has got in its box” then visit its website

Eminate Launches Natto

Some years ago, I found myself sitting in the vets with a goldfish bowl on my knee which contained a sick goldfish.  Sitting next to me was my young daughter, with her cute blond bunches, looking anxiously at her pet which was doing its best to swim on its side.  I had lost count of the goldfish which had been "returned to the sea" by being flushed down the toilet, and had still not worked out how I had been persuaded to make an appointment with the vet.  We sat there with serious pet owners.  There were three large dogs, a couple of cats in baskets, and there was me with the goldfish bowl - not even a tank, not even a bit of greenery in the bowl!  My daughter changed her gaze to look up at me.  Her face was full of trust - daddy was going to sort it out.

We had been sitting there for a few minutes when Sam came into the vets carrying a large brown cardboard box that had something banging around inside, and making quite a racket.  I said hello to Sam, but did not ask him what he had in the box, out of politeness.  He sat down next to me, and the focus of attention was now on the animated cardboard box on Sam's knee, and not on me or the goldfish bowl. 

Sam ran a garden centre, but even Sam's best friends would say he was a little disorganised.  He was a lovely man, with a heart of gold, but his small garden centre was scruffy, and Sam was scruffy.  The cardboard box on his knee was scruffy.  I remember once asking Sam if he had a particular plant.  He searched around for a bit, turning over crates and boxes, and large plant pots.  After a fruitless search he raised his right hand, he turned on his heels and he raced off, out of his garden centre, across the road and up the path of his house opposite.  He re-appeared from the back of the house with a spade and he proceeded to dig a plant up from his front garden, and he triumphantly brought it back and charged me a tiny amount of money for it.  I hadn't the heart to tell him that it wasn't the plant I had asked for. 

The scruffy cardboard box went quiet.  You could have heard a pin drop.  The three dogs were gazing at the box.  Slowly the flaps on the top of the box rose and a skinny little head appeared.  It was the head of a scrawny tortoiseshell cat that had clearly been making inroads into its nine lives.  It was missing an eye and an ear; it was even scruffier than Sam.  Sam felt inclined to say something.  He explained that the old injuries were the result of a car accident.  This had left the cat not very well equipped to cross the road, and he had tried to keep the cat indoors.  Unfortunately, the cat had escaped from the house that morning, but hadn't gone very far before it had been run over and now had a broken leg. 

We were called in to see the vet.  I put the goldfish on his desk, and sat my daughter on my knee.  The vet looked very carefully at the goldfish, and then spent the next tweny minutes talking about goldfish, and the health of goldfish.  The goldfish swam in cirlcles on its side the whole time.  At the end of the twenty minutes the vet said there was no charge!  The goldfish survived for another twelve months gently swimming round on its side.

I was reminded of this incident when I recently talked to Dr Roger Carline, the CEO of Eminate who told me about the launch of a new product by his company.  This is a new health food that will stop people swimming on their sides.  Not exactly, it is a health food that provides a rich source of Vitamin K2, essential to bone health if taken regulalry in the diet.  It has been an important part of the Japanese diet for centuries and has been recognised as bringing important health benefits.  It is no coincidence that the incidence of osteoporosis and other bone disorders is lower in Japan than in many other parts of the world.

The product is manufactured from boiled soya beans which are fermented using Bacillus Subtilis.  The fermented beans become sticky and stringy when stirred and are eaten accompanied by soy sauce or mustard.

While Natto is widely eaten in Japan, its strong smell and flavour make it unappealing to western tastes.  Honda Trading has teamed up with Eminate Limited to extract and encapsulate Natto's beneficial components using proprietary micro technology methods to produce dietry supplements in a taste-free format.

Perhaps it might have worked wonders for the goldfish after all.

If you would like more information on Natto see the Eminate website.  There isn't a goldfish in sight!

metaFAB Becomes the Newest Spoke in the Dedicated CEMMNT Hub
One of my three favourite subjects at school was woodwork.  The other two were art and mathematics, with most of the other subjects, apart perhaps from physics, trailing somewhere in the rear. 
I remember one woodwork class especially. We were learning to use spoke-shaves to shape wood. I found it easy and had soon completed the task we had been given.  I watched fascinated as one of my school-mates, who was not terribly coordinated and did not enjoy woodwork, wrestled with the spoke-shave and the piece of wood. 
What had started out as a reasonably sized piece of wood was in imminent danger of becoming a toothpick. The piece of wood was such an irregular shape he found it difficult to hold it in the vice and had resorted to holding it with one hand to steady it and taking shavings off with the spoke-shave held in the other hand.  
One-handed operation of a spoke-shave is not something to be recommended. As I watched he managed to take a small slice off the end of his thumb.  He looked at it, and the tiniest drop of blood appeared. Then what took place seemed to happen in slow motion.  My school-mate turned an incredible shade of incandescent grey, beads of perspiration appeared on his brow, and he slumped to the floor. As someone said to me years later “I can’t stand the sight of blood especially my own.”
I was reminded of this story recently when The Centre of Metrology in Micro & Nano Technology (CEMMNT) announced that metaFAB had become the latest spoke in their hub and spoke organisation. An agreement between metaFAB and CEMMNT, means that the metrology facilities at metaFAB will be promoted alongside that of Taylor Hobson, QinetiQ, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), BAE Systems and Coventor through the dedicated CEMMNT Hub.

Professor Hugh Clare is the chair of the CEMMNT Industrial Advisory Board and commented “CEMMNT provides a comprehensive measurement service to industry and other organisations at the micro and nano level, and the addition of metaFAB will strengthen the capability with the addition of further specialist equipment. This will strengthen CEMMNT's capabilities as a one-stop-shop for small-scale measurement.”

Have you ever done the tour of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff?  I can thoroughly recommend it. I sat in the Queen’s seat and waved regally to the staff working hard down at pitch level. They were re-building the pitch for a rugby game after they had taken it out a few days earlier for a rock concert. The floor was still mainly concrete, and the turf was being brought in bit by bit, contained in what were essentially giant square plant pots. 
The turf in the Millennium Stadium has to be some of the best travelled grass in the world. The word “grass” being used in its old fashioned sense, as being something green that footballers play on.  I suppose that could refer to its modern usage as well!   
Wales has many things it can be proud of, including XGEN
Since its foundation in 2007, XGEN – a unique amalgamation of the UK's top micromachining and MNT organisations – has established an international reputation for technical innovation and expertise.

Solving complex applications problems has been a strength within each of XGEN's three centres and pulling these skills, experiences, know-how and technology together under one umbrella has made XGEN a force to contend with on the international stage. The combination of these skills means that the wealth of expertise on offer can be applied to unique customer requirements enabling the development of practical, successful and cost-effective solutions for large and small businesses alike.
LML, MicroBridge and metaFAB are three Wales-based companies working together to exploit emerging micro and nanotechnologies (MNT) and showcase world-class research, development and production facilities.
A one-stop-shop that ensures a streamlined service and increased manufacturing efficiency through collaboration and innovation.
Find out more: 

IET Innovation Awards 2008

Among the 15 winners of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Innovation Awards for 2008 were applications designed for airport security systems, water supplies in developing countries, and mobile financial services. The annual awards scheme, which attracts hundreds of entries from around the world, is a unique opportunity for industry innovators to showcase their brightest ideas. It culminated in a glittering awards ceremony at the Park Plaza Riverbank, London hosted by television presenter Maggie Philbin on the 4th November 2008. Professor Hugh Clare was one of the judges and commented that the standard of entries this year was higher than ever.

Nanoforum 2008

Some years ago I was being driven at death defying speed along an Italian motorway by a testosterone laden taxi driver. He was driving me from Rome to Pozzilli. I had made this journey many times before with the same taxi firm. It was a typical small Italian company. Founded by his father, my driver was one of two sons who worked for the company, and the fourth driver was a cousin who had just happened to have played a couple of games for Chelsea

I was driven by the family each time I visited Pozzilli and felt safe in their charge even travelling near to the sound barrier. On this particular day we never left the outside lane, which meant that I could see the grim concrete crash barrier whistling past on the left-hand side of the car through the gaps between my fingers. 

My driver was wearing the obligatory shades which he wore in all weathers. He was also driving with the obligatory one hand, which was sheathed in a leather driving glove. The needle of the speedometer hovered around the 180 kph mark. His mobile phone went. He took it out of its holder on the dashboard and held it to his ear. Then he started talking, and of course he had to gesticulate while he was talking, which meant that he did not have any hands on the steering wheel. It was at that precise moment that I learnt what Italian men’s thighs are for.

I was reminded of that pivotal moment in my life when I was making my way to UK NanoForum 2008. I guess the thighs of Italian men had been honed making their way to and from the Forum all those centuries before.

The third annual UK NanoForum comprised a one-day conference and exhibition bringing over 100 senior international delegates from more than 20 countries (including Italy!), together with the best of the UK's nanotechnology community. The event took place on the 28th October 2008 in London, and international delegates got the opportunity to visit many UK MNT facilities during the latter half of the week.  The first UK Nanoforum conference was hosted by Professor Hugh Clare in his capacity as the Director of the UK MNT Network.  Professor Clare commented that Nanoforum 2008 had been a very successful networking event.  

Semefab Becomes an Independent Wafer Fab Foundry

A few years ago I went with a colleague to visit Semefab, which is located on the outskirts of Glenrothes.  It is a beautiful part of the world, North of Edinburgh.  We arrived by train and were the only people to alight at Glenrothes station.  We had planned to get a taxi from the station to the hotel, but were dismayed to find that there was not a taxi in sight and after a 20 minute wait we decided to walk into the town.  It was mid-afternoon, and Glenrothes seemed to be shut.  Our footsteps echoed as we walked along the street.  I was beginning to feel that we had stumbled into an off-season Brigadoon - when the people don't appear.  Miraculously, in the middle of a row of closed shops was one that proclaimed a taxi service, and parked outside was a taxi.

We went in.  There were grubby wooden floorboards and a high wooden counter.  On the other side of the counter two young children were playing on the floor, crawling on their hands and knees.  Presently a young woman appeared, and informed us that we would have to wait for the taxi driver to finish his fish supper - it was about four o'clock in the afternoon.

The driver eventually finished his meal and ushered us into his taxi, and off we went.  After a ten minute drive we turned into the driveway of an estate that turned out to be a golf course, and at the end of the driveway was a rather nice hotel.  Things had definitely begun to look up in Glenrothes. 

We went to the desk and checked in - at least we tried to check in.  The young man on the desk told us that we did not have reservations, and that they were fully booked for the night.  We got out our reservations, and it was only then that we found we had been taken to the wrong hotel by the taxi driver.  I suppose he had been rather relaxed with his stomach full of fish and chips and a couple of mugs of hot sweet tea.

I telephoned the taxi firm and told them what had happened.  A red-faced taxi driver appeared after a short wait, and he was very apologetic.  Yes, we had given him the right name of the hotel, but he had taken us to the wrong one.  Off we went again.  After a short drive the taxi turned into a grim housing estate, and there was our hotel in the middle of it.  The taxi driver to his credit said it was his mistake and refused to take any more money.  So that was my introduction to Glenrothes.

On 21 August 2008, Semefab (Scotland) Ltd became an independent wafer fab foundry with TT electronics plc acquiring the majority of the assets of its parent company, Semelab plc. Semefab (Scotland) Ltd. shall continue to supply product to 'TT electronics Semelab Ltd' pursuant to a long-term supply agreement.

As an autonomous company, Semefab will continue to offer its global customers the same level of service and process capability throughout its fab1, fab2 and test operations. Semefab

NanoSight Receives 100th System Order for Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis System

April 2008 - NanoSight Limited, the nanoparticle characterization company, has recently received their 100th purchase order for their unique nanoparticle tracking analysis system which counts individual particles in liquid. Professor Steffen Petersen of the University of Aalborg in Denmark has selected the NanoSight LM10 to study the build-up of multi-layered, targeted nanoparticle drug delivery systems.  NanoSight

Conducting Polymers
There has been a good deal of excitement in recent years regarding the development of carbon nanotubes CNTs). The outstanding physical properties of CNTs make them attractive for combining with other materials to create composites. Nanoforce Technology Ltd is working with other UK companies to develop electrically conductive polymer-CNT composites. 
Professor Hugh Clare, the chair of Nanoforce commented "This technology opens up many possiblities for micro and nano electronics in the coming years and Nanoforce is at the forefront of developments."

More information can be found at: Nanoforce

University of Liverpool Helps Industry to Commercialise Nanotechnology
The University of Liverpool has created a centre for nano-formulation as part of the DTI's investment to help industry harness the commercial opportunities offered by Nanotechnology. The centre is now open for business and has just received its first contract.
The University is making available a unique facility to enable micro and nano structures to be incorporated into a wide range of end uses. Combined with its specialist academic capabilities, the University will create new technologies and work with companies to transfer them into their businesses.

International Energy Agency (IEA)
Have you ever walked across a university campus? If you have never had the pleasure then I suggest you try it some time. Students move at their own pace which is considerably slower than human beings. You will find yourself walking into the back of them, no matter how slowly you try to walk yourself. This will leave you covered in bits of pizza, curry, and the odd crumpled beer can. If we could harness the latent energy of students then we could solve the world’s energy problems at a stroke, as well as going a long way to eliminating global warming.
An organisation with these two issues very firmly at the top of its agenda is the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA is very dynamic and publishes a good deal of free literature each year to encourage all of us to be more responsible with the precious earth’s resources. Of interest is the impact Nanotechnology is likely to have in areas such as the creation of a Hydrogen Economy.  You can download free IEA publications at the link. IEA

UK-LMC Presented with Prestigious MNT Quality Mark
I can’t believe that Wales has just won the Grand Slamb (typo!). Some of my best friends are Welsh including one of my brother’s-in-law. Wonderful time for me as well because I have never seen him in such a good mood for years. I suppose he will come down to earth eventually, but long may it last.  
Other good things are stirring in Wales as well. The UK Laser Micromaching Centre (UK-LMC) at St Asaph has just received the prestigious MNT Quality Mark presented by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). This award is affiliated to the IMechE’s MX awards, which are internationally recognised as a sign of excellence in manufacturing by a company. 
The award was presented to Dr Nadeem Rizvi, CEO of UK-LMC by Professor Hugh Clare in his capacity as chairman of the Microsystems and Nanotechnology Manufacturing Association (MMA) on behalf of the IMechE.

You can read more about this story Daily Post

Really Small Things
Measurement is important to every schoolboy once he hits puberty. Size suddenly becomes very important. And so it is with Microsystems Technology and Nanotechnology. The smaller things get, the harder they are to measure and characterise. I think that applied to some of my unfortunate schoolmates.    
Recently, Lord Sainsbury of Turville, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, dedicated the new £1.3 million clean room at AMETEK Taylor Hobson’s Leicester, England, headquarters. The new clean room, which consists of Class 7 (10,000) and Class 4 (10) areas, is equipped with the latest metrology instrumentation for micro and nano technologies (MNT).

The facility is an expansion of Taylor Hobson’s Centre of Excellence laboratory at Leicester, which provides measurement support, training and advice to UK manufacturing and research companies in the
field of MNT through the CEMMNT (Centre of Excellence in Metrology for Micro and Nano Technologies) partnership.  You can read more at CEMMNT

We had English thrust on us at school by a rather dour Yorkshire-man. He always seemed aloof and brooding. So it was something of a surprise when he took time out from intimidating us to tell us a story one day. He swore it was true, and who am I do doubt somebody that would not have been out of place in an Emily Bronte book. In fact, thinking about it all these years later he would have made a very good Heathcliffe.
It seems that our English teacher used to play in a cricket team in a Yorkshire league. He told us that he was not too bad at cricket, which for a Yorkshire-man means he was bloody good. On this particular Saturday, his team had travelled across the moors to play one of their arch rivals, but when they arrived at the ground their star player and captain was missing. When the lines had been marked out, and the stumps banged into the ground, there was still no sign of him. Panic set in, which was heightened by the site of the two umpires walking out to the middle. The vice-captain went out for the toss of the coin. They were to bat first, and without their opening batsman spirits were low.
Our teacher’s team had a demon fast bowler who was a gentle giant and he decided to take matters into his own hands.  When he got to the wicket he put his heels against one of the stumps and marched down to the other end counting aloud in his booming voice. When he got to the other wickets he shouted out “twenty one!” Now every schoolboy knows that a cricket pitch is twenty two yards long. This pronouncement, that the pitch was short by a yard, started an argument between the two teams. One of the umpires, a rather short gentleman, decided he would prove that the pitch was the right length. He strode back in the opposite direction counting out loud, and when he got to the other end of the wicket he shouted out “twenty three!”
Well you can imagine the arguments that took place. The pitch was longer in one direction that the other and neither was the right length. Both teams and both umpires then spent the next twenty minutes striding up and down the pitch arguing violently until the missing captain turned up. It seems he had turned right instead of left in Ilkley. He talked to the umpires, said he was happy with the pitch, and went on to score 50 runs and take six wickets, and won the match.  
Our lives are governed by standards.
Standards are very important when it comes to science and technology. We have witnessed over the years countries trying to gain commercial advantage for their own industries by playing the standards card.
So, for the growing field of Microsystems Technology and Nanotechnology, we are seeing a good deal of activity, and committees are now engaged in setting the standards for the industry in stone: or perhaps in a nanoparticle.
British Standards has just issued its first document PAS 71 Vocabulary, Nanoparticles. A well worn Yorkshire phrase is that “you don’t get ought for nout”. Well in this case you do because they are offering this standard free of charge. You can download a copy at BSI

Joint CEMMNT and Nanocentral Conference

At a conference organised jointly by CEMMNT and Nanocentral at Loughborough University on 16th October 2007, Professor Hugh Clare described the tools that Emente Ltd has developed to help companies focus on business pull for new technologies, particularly in the area of Microsystems Technology and Nanotechnology (MNT). 

European Network of Excellence Conference – University of Lancaster
A European Network of Excellence event was held at the University of Lancaster from 1st – 4th October 2007.  The theme of the four day conference was “Design, Test & Manufacturing Technologies for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems”.
Professor Hugh Clare, CEO of Emente Ltd gave a talk about “Micro and Nano Facilities in the UK”. His presentation can be found at Lancaster University

A Really Small View of the Earth

Last Saturday I was sitting with my laptop on my knee gazing down the garden out of the patio doors.  I say gazing down the garden, but I could only see about half way down because the rain was so heavy; and it was the middle of August. I had the lights on to read my documents. That got me thinking about global warming and the evening before, when I watched the weather-girl presenting a chart that had a thick blue vertical line representing rain and a thick red horizontal line representing the Earth warming up. The graph proved conclusively that the higher temperature the more rain we get. In fact, the rainfall appeared to double for every one degree rise in temperature. The graph rose so steeply it went straight off the top of the page and through a hole in the studio ceiling.

It had been necessary to walk down to my local in the rain to console myself in a few pints and argue about the merits of prawn crackers with the usual crowd.

My mobile phone went. It was my boss. He wanted to know how I was getting on with the report. He said he would e-mail me his contribution, the opening paragraph, on Sunday.   I put the phone on the arm of my armchair, and watched as it slid gently off and into a cup of cold tea I had forgotten to drink which was on the floor next to me. I got a towel and dried off the carpet. I drank what was left of the tea.

I sat down again, and then something really strange happened. The clouds drifted away to leave a bright blue sky and fierce sun that came in through the patio doors. It soon got so hot that I had to open the doors, and before I knew it I was stretched out on some garden furniture, in shorts and T-shirt, with an ice-cold beer on the grass next to me; lap-top on my knees and mobile phone next to the beer.

I couldn’t really read my laptop screen in the sunshine, I was screwing my eyes up. I decided I needed to phone Josh and ask him about his chapter. Have you ever tried to use a mobile phone in bright sunshine? Don’t bother, you can’t read the screen. I tried shielding the screen with my hand; I tried holding my papers in front of it; I crouched behind the sun-lounger. Still couldn’t read it. I dived into the bushes that fence my garden off from my neighbours. How was I to know that she was sunbathing in the buff? The screams were heard in the next town. I am due to appear before the magistrates’ court in a few weeks’ time.

Help might just be on the way. Bit late for my appearance in court though.

The help comes in the shape of IQE plc which has just become a founding partner in a £3.3 million research project which will focus on developing energy efficient solid-state light sources. The project, codenamed NoveLELS, is being backed by the UK Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. This august body with the long title was formerly part of Department of Trade and Industry. Predicted global warming has resulted in a scramble to develop energy efficient light sources (not to say waterproof ones!) with a number of governments already taking steps to limit or ban the use of inefficient incandescent lighting within the next ten years. Governments have always kept us in the dark.

The £200 billion global lighting market is dominated by three major companies, GE, Philips and Osram – an American, a Dutch and a German company respectively.  Typical that the Dutch should make light “bulbs”, and that a German company should be throwing light on the 21st Century, when this was the nation that did its best to plunge the whole world into darkness in the 20th Century. These three companies along with most G8 governments are investing heavily in programmes to develop alternative sources for illumination.

Results Orientated Solutions

Professor Hugh Clare is interviewed by Alexander Hughes, Executive Recruitment Consultants about results orientated solutions and his career in Microsystems Technology and Nanotechnology (MNT). 

Anglo-Swiss Relations in Nanotechnology

In an interview on Swiss television, Professor Hugh Clare described the many good things happening in the world of Nanotechnology in the UK.

Importance of Networking
In an interview with Nanotoday 9th February 2007, Professor Hugh Clare talks about the importance of networking .  You can read the full interview at  Nanotoday

Growth Spurt
Professor Hugh Clare talks about the growth of a Microsytems Technology and Nanotechnology industry in the UK in an interview with The Engineer. 
He discusses the sector that deals with the very small.   Starting off as offshoots of many established sectors, including traditional engineering fabrication, microprocessor development, pharmaceuticals and plastics, nanotechnology is now creating its own distinct breed of practitioner. He predicts that when the dust settles it's going to be a large industry in its own right.
The full interview can be read at The Engineer

Small Scale Technology ... Big Plans
Hugh Clare talks to Materials World about his vision for Microsystems Technology and Nanotechnology (MNT) in the UK, September 2006. 

Offical Opening of BegbrokeNano
On Wednesday 26th July 2006, Professor Hugh Clare, Director of the UK Micro Nano Technology Network offically opened BegbrokeNano during a Nanotechnology Open Evening held at Oxford University Begbroke Science Park.

BegbrokeNano, one of the DTI funded UK Micro Nano Technology (MNT) open access facilities, builds on the existing services offered by Oxford Materials Characterisation Services (OMCS) in measurement and characterisation at the nano scale.  Begbroke Nano

2006 MNT Network Award for Innovation in Micro-systems and Nanotechnology
Hugh Clare presented the 2006 MNT Network Award for Innovation in Micro-systems and Nanotechnology to SELEX Sensors & Airborne Systems Ltd at an MX Awards ceremony in London. William Hague introduced the event.

ISO Standards to Infiltrate Nanotechnology
An article in ScienceDirect, October 2005 looks at the impact ISO standards will make in Nanotechnology.

Intertek ASG Awarded MNT Quality Mark

The 2005 awards ceremony for the MNT Quality Mark was held in London on 29th September 2005 and the awards were presented by Professor Hugh Clare, Director of the MNT Network. Intertek ASG were one of the companies presented with the award which was received by Dr John Conti-Ramsden on behalf of Intertek ASG. Intertek

Micro and Nanotechnology (MNT) Network Event

Opening Speech by Lord Sainsbury of Turville at the Micro and Nanotechnology (MNT) Network Event 29th September 2005.  Speech 

Microtechnology Meets Nanoscience -

A talk given by Professor Hugh Clare, Director of the UK MNT Network, at an IEE Seminar in London on 8th July 2004 focussed on the commercial opportunities of combining Microscience with Nanotechnology.           Summary of Talk

Archived News

- Loughborough University (UK) Conference - Thursday, 29th January 2009 

- Free ISD Conference, Liverpool, 13th November 2008

- INCOSE UK 1-Day Event, Technology Life Cycle Management, 22nd May 2008

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