Macro photos of silicon wafers

Silicon wafer with three PC88 radio valves

Thanks to the wonders of eBay I now own three silicon wafers of some description, and because they contain microscopic detail I decided it’d be good to photograph them.

Focusing the camera was really hard, it’s bad enough getting a manual lens to focus but when the thing being photographed is so small it can’t be seen with the naked eye it requires a lot of trial and error. I also bought some old radio valves for a few quid off eBay too and decided to compare the two. It’s fun holding an entire wafer of ICs in one hand and having a single valve in the other.

Here is one of the wafers with some circuitry laid down in a regular pattern. The eBay bid says it was Intel memory of some description, but the wafer contains no visible writing to identify it. If I had a microscope I’d probably find something to read that’d identify it. The chips are arranged into small squares varying between half a centimetre and less than two millimetres across. I really like the edges of the wafers where there are half complete circuits due to the shape of the wafer. If these were processors, each one would be worth a hundred pounds or so, and the edge contains about 100 defective half made ones. A lot of the middle ones probably didn’t work properly either.

It’s hard to appreciate just how small the traces are on the surface, fortunately one of my hairs fell out while trying to get my camera to behave and I took a photo of it on the surface of the silicon wafer.

What’s wrong with this picture?

How not to make a banner ad
How not to make a banner ad

I saw this ad on a popular social networking website, and it just struck me as so wrong. Just because you’ve bought a horizontal banner doesn’t mean you can take a skyscraper ad (it’s not a “vertical” banner, it’s a “skyscraper” one, that’s the correct terminology) and just rotate it.

Unless this is a magical gravity-defying woman.

There’s crap ads, and then there’s stuff like this. Even the photo’s a bit poorly cropped too, the poor woman’s lost part of her right shoulder and a bit of knee and hip. My A-Level photography students could do a better job.

Blogs and websites I like to read

I use Google Reader to follow quite a lot of websites, blogs and anything else interesting that squirts out an RSS feed. For the curious, here is a list of my favourites. I’m leaving out the well known things like XKCD, Dilbert, Hack-a-day and so on.

I often find these kinds of sites while browsing around the comment fields of popular websites. It’s fun to click the random links in people’s signatures…

What are your favourite websites to visit? I’m always interested in new things to read.

Exploring my local area by bike

I’ve been out on my bike once again exploring the local area. Whereas most people tend to cycle down the river’s edge, looking at the rubbish-strewn dark trails that lead off into the reclaimed wilderness but continuing, I think “that looks an interesting way” and set off down it. Sometimes it turns into a nice little loop full of local interest, other times it turns into a bit of a crap ride.

Today was the second type of trail. It looked quite promising from Google Maps’ satellite view. My aim was to cycle into town but by going down the river. I now know this is not possible, there’s a railway in the way. I did find where the locals dump their rubbish and old fridges though.

For the morbidly curious, here’s the Google Maps link and you can download the KMZ file Deadend trail.

My Google Earth is now collecting a healthy pattern of red tracks running over the reclaimed land either side of the river. Looking at the area now, you’d never think there used to be a gravel quarry and coal mine. I think I’ll now try and cycle North up the river itself, rather than the canal part. Ultimately I’d like to cycle along the Pennine Trail to Leeds and then the other way to wherever it goes.

I took my previously mentioned Asahi Pentax film camera with me. Hopefully the pictures will come out and look good. I’ve almost stopped looking at the back for a preview image 😉

Here’s the stats for today’s ride

Created by My Tracks on Android.

Total Distance: 7.52 km (4.7 mi)
Total Time: 48:27
Moving Time: 33:32
Average Speed: 9.35 km/h (5.8 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 13.46 km/h (8.4 mi/h)
Max Speed: 27.90 km/h (17.3 mi/h)
Min Elevation: 68 m (222 ft)
Max Elevation: 84 m (274 ft)
Elevation Gain: 135 m (444 ft)
Max Grade: 3 %
Min Grade: -7 %
Recorded: Wed Sep 23 16:56:52 GMT+01:00 2009

Using a T-Mobile G1 with My Tracks is really really good.

Macro Electronics Photography

A cluster of SMD resistors that look like a small town
A cluster of SMD resistors that look like a small town

While building my MAME cabinet and sorting out the various motherboards in my posession, I got a bit bored and started taking random photos. Electronics are interesting close up, this image shows some surface mount resistors on the back of a motherboard, their positioning looking like a small town.

I took other pictures and they are on my photos website, so have a look at an iBook Logic Board and iBook 3GB Hard Disk fromwhen I upgraded a tangerine first generation iBook’s hard disk (which takes a mere 30 steps).

There are also images of an Intel Celeron CPU before adding heat paste and after adding heat paste (yes, I put on more than that, don’t worry… I know how to apply heat paste to CPUs). And some very dusty power regulation electronics on a PC motherboard plus a nice abstract shot of the underside of three PCI expansion slots.

Tagging my photo galleries

I run two photo galleries; a hand-picked collection of my best photos over at Landscape Photography, and a general gallery of all my photos. I’ve just installed the Gallery2 tags module on them to make finding photos easier, so rather than having to search by only the names of the files or words in the description there are now clickable tags that can be added, the idea being to link related photos together.

Tagging photos is easy if the content of the photo is used for tags, rather than its location or other non-visual information. For example, the following image

Burnt out car
Burnt out car

was taken in Wiltshire, and is of a burnt out car. The tags for the photo, however are

since that’s what I can see in the photo. I can’t see ‘Wiltshire’ or even ‘car fire’ (because it’s not on fire – tags must be accurate for this to work), but I can see some trees, some blue sky, a bit of frost and the melted bit at the front of the car where the bumper used to be. Tagging photos this way is simple if I imagine trying to describe the photo to someone. Tags should also be generic and re-usable, their puprose is to link items together. Having thousands of tags, each with only one photo is no good, if I do that I may as well just write a really good description instead.

War Memorial

(Cross posted from my Photo blog)

While driving through the outskirts of Scunthorpe, around Brigg, I saw the perfect scene to test my digital camera. There was a war memorial on a street corner lit perfectly by a light, casting really interesting shadows. Even better was the lamp post on the street corner that I could lean against.

Of the five photos I took, this was the best. Shot in RAW and post-processed in Photoshop to bring out the detail and change to black and white made the picture so much better than it originally was.

A light spot of Photochopping

I was mildly bored this evening so decided to have a play with the world’s favourite image editor and an attempt at some tilt-shifting. Not quite sure I have the effect but I kind of like the photo all the same, cropping it has made the composition of the image much better. Here’s the original to compare.

Oh, if the above image looks square, click on it. My blog seems to do bad things to images that don’t fit its template.

Tesco Value Lager

Tesco Value Lager

Are you an aspiring chav or wannabe alcoholic? Do you wish you could drink as much beer as your friends, but are actually a bit of a lightweight? Or has your giro not come through this week and you need a quick beer fix and only have 97p left? Well fear not, Tesco to the rescue!

Witness the curious stuff known as ‘Tesco Value Lager’ which comes in can form, four of, for 97p. Yes, 97p for for cans of lager. And as soon as you open one the reason for its insanely cheap price will become obvious.

It has a whole 2% alcohol content per can. Yes, that’s 0.9 UK Units per can. It is lager, it just doesn’t have much of a kick to it. You will have drunk stronger shandy when you were a kid.

While roaming the Meadowhall Centre looking for the way out, I found this slightly odd display for some Durex sex lube. The lube itself wasn’t the odd thing, more the sticker saying “try me” on the tester bottle.

So… are we supposed to get naked and smear it on ourselves and give it a test first? Or what? It is cherry flavoured, so maybe it’s something to suck on if you’re hungry.

Try now, buy later. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Try now, buy later. Satisfaction guaranteed.