Battle mountain
After a year of preparation, demos and a just-missed world hour record, the Delft Human Power Team departs for its main challenge on Friday.

Their destination is the long, flat track of Battle Mountain, in Nevada (US). From Monday to Thursday the team will try to set a new world speed record for a human-powered vehicle, which is currently 133 km/hour. More than 15 teams will compete, including student teams from France, the US and Canada.

Robot seminars
The emergent Delft Robotics Institute is opening with a series of lectures by robotics experts, starting on Thursday 15 September. Organiser Martijn Wisse (3mE) has an impressive line-up, featuring Andy Ruina (Cornell University), Matt Johnson (IHMC, Florida) and Atsuo Takanishi (Waseda University). First in line is Tijn van Zant (University of Groningen), who will discuss the efforts to develop a domestic service robot. Thursday 15 September, 15:45.

Name: Agata Šakic (25)Nationality: Croatian Supervisor: Professor Lis Nanver (Delft Institute of Microsystems and Nanoelectronics (Dimes), faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science)Subject: On-chip electronics for silicon charged particles detectors. Thesis defense: In two years

“Together with my supervisor, I’ve made the most sensitive silicon electron detector in the world. In the past, silicon photodiodes could only measure at electron energies greater than 5 kilo electron volt (keV). Our detector can measure electron energies down to 200 eV. "Special configurations of our diodes form detectors that enable accurate nanoscale imaging in Scanning Electron Microscopes. But improvements in low-energy, charged-particle detection are of great interest for many more applications, including in medical diagnostics, space missions and electron beam lithography.

"An article of ours has been accepted for presentation during the two most important conferences in our field this year: the European Solid-State Device Research Conference in Spain, and the International Electronic Device Meeting in San Francisco. Our article will appear in their proceedings. In December, I will travel to San Francisco to give a presentation, which I’m preparing for now. I’m quit nervous, as many of the leading people in the electronics industry will be present. Compared to them, I’m just a kid.

"How did we succeed in making such a sensitive detector? We created a very uniform layer of a photosensitive material, called Dimes Boron Layer, on a silicon wafer. It is only 2-nanometers thick. Normally, on top of the boron, a layer of metal is situated, which is partially etched away to create the electrodes and fully expose the photosensitive surface. It is very difficult to etch away this metal without damaging the photosensitive boron layer that lies beneath, however. But we found an etching chemical with which this is possible.

"I conduct my research in collaboration with FEI, an important supplier of electron microscopes. FEI wants to commercialize new detectors containing the Dimes photodiodes. "It’s nice to work this way. Every time I make a wafer with photodiodes, I set aside some diodes for the company, and then ‘play’ with the rest. I add for instance some thicker or thinner layers of oxide (which serves as insulator) on the chip to see how this affects the speed of the diode. If the diode fails, then scientifically speaking that is an interesting result as well. "Before coming to Delft, I studied electrical engineering in Zagreb, specializing in microelectronics. But in Croatia there is no microelectronics industry. Fortunately, my supervisor there did part of his PhD research in Delft and had good contacts with Professor Lis Nanver, who is now my PhD supervisor. Nanver and I have successfully applied for the Huygens Scholarship Programme.”

Solar panels
Last month TU Delft students and employees installed solar panels at the St. Cyprian Special Science School in Agbani, Nigeria. Providing the school with solar power was the practical outcome of the Solar Energy Nsukka project, a collaborative effort between TU Delft and the University of Nigeria at Nsukka. The St. Cyprian Special Science School now enjoys silent, uninterrupted power. Moreover, the setup also functions as a solar expert centre. The project received a grant from Oxfam Novib.

Ocean energy
By using the temperature differences between water of various depths in the ocean off the coast of Curacao, YesDelft company Blue Rise intends to generate electricity for Curacao’s airport. The company, supported by six TU Delft MSc students, is building an Ocean Temperature Energy Conversion set up for this purpose. Earlier this year the students won the TU Delft Design Challenge with their research on the feasibility of such energy conversion on Curacao.