On Thursday, December 9th, 2021, SUNY Polytechnical Institute in Albany, New York, gave the New Visions Engineering Class of 2022 an informative and engaging tour of the facility. After gaining visitor access from security, the class met Stephan Stewart, the Equipment Engineer, and Elaine Garrett, the Public Education and Outreach Coordinator, who were the tour guides. To start the tour, Mr. Stewart gave brief explanations of some of the molecules used to make computer chips, mainly focusing on silicon. He then selected a student from the class to perform a mock cleanroom preparation. It was a fun way to present information without students’ attention wandering to the other interesting items in the room. He also demonstrated different chemical and material properties that come into play during operations performed at the institute.
After he made some funny comments to keep students engaged, we started the tour in a classroom where there was a device showing the properties of plasma. He used different pressures, metal structures, and water to manipulate the way the plasma behaved. It was an exciting stop, and many students took videos of the demonstration.
When we moved on, we saw front operating unified pods transporting materials through the building safely and some of the cleanrooms where scientists were working on products and experiments. Mr. Stewart explained how the yellow lighting in the clean rooms prevents unwanted exposure to shorter wavelengths from affecting the sensitive equipment and products. Near the end of the tour, we could see into the cleanrooms and saw some of the machines that are used in the process of creating the computer chips we had learned about at the beginning of the tour.