Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Well, I think its high time I blogged about the stuff I actually work on.

Currently I am working in the broad field of semiconductor optics. In a more specific way, I try to make really really thin films (~ 50 nm) of tungsten oxide and characterize them.

Why tungsten oxide? Cause it is a really interesting substance in the sense that it has a chromogenic nature. Chromogenic materials are ones which have the ability to change their color due to incident signals. Chromogenic materials may be further divided into different types depending on what sort of signal causes the change in color. They can be photochromic ( light signals), electrochromic (electrical signals), gasochromic ( gas signals).

The really cool thing about tungsten oxide is it is sensitive to all three types of signals.

So right now my job is to make really thin films of tungsten oxide on different host materials (substrates). In order to get these films made, laser pulses are made incident on a tungsten oxide target which then gets deposited on the substrate. By varying the different parameters we can have different sorts of films.

These films can then be used to devise sensors.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

After a really long hiatus I am back to promising that I will be more regular with my blog. Lots of things have happened since I last typed in anything for the WWW ( whole wide world) to know.

Since the last time lots of things have happened and I think theres a need for an update.

I have got more used to Chapel Hill. Growing used to the small town and its unique social life. You bump into the same people everywhere you go, giving it the close knit feel that you expect from a town of around fifty thousand people. I have discovered quiet a few new watering holes in this town.

Unlike earlier where our weekends meant time spent at Fuse and nowhere else, we have started other places as well. Most notably Milltown. Its a really cool place with a lot of outdoor sitting, which is always great because of the awesome Carolina weather. Also it has a really long list of European and American beers to chose from. The only notably negative side of Milltown is that the service really starts to suck after 1 am. Also if you really just want to have alcohol and you are in no mood to enjoy the weather and you think PBR would do as good a job, Fuse is a better place for purely economical reasons.

Other places which have become quiet a favorite include Elmo's, which serves awesome breakfast food. This has become quiet a regular sunday brunch place for us. The only downside is that it seems to be regular sunday thing for a lot of other people as well, which translates to a 40-45 minutes wait every time.

However, if you are in a hurry you can always go to Panzanella or Weaver Street Market and its still real good.

There have been other changes too...but I will get to them soon enough...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

After a long time, here I am back to typing in my two cents worth.

For those non believers ( which included me till five minutes ago) heres the fact. As those chain mails say, Coke or Pepsi is bad. Trust me, I didnt think that I had to see the day when I would be sick from the carbonated sugary syrup. But nearly two litres of coke in a time span of around 2 hrs is not a good idea. I did it, and then thrown up, and felt miserable...and unlike being drunk when theres those few precious moments of incoherence, you are completely aware of the unease all through.

I hate those free refills.

And I hate not being able to see soccer matches on the telly. No offence, but the Americans need to learn that there are better games than what they play.

It looks like all the games here need people to be huge.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I consider myself to be a liberal. A person who is pro-change. Liberal is defined as "tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded". And this is where I start asking questions about how liberal I am. Is it that I am so liberal, that any ideas that do not supprt my liberal view becomes unbearable to me. Isnt it that then I am just becoming another person in the other camp?

When I look around I dont see ourselves as much different from the liliputs in Gulliver's Travels, who fought over something as trivial as how to break an egg. We fight over race, color, money, religion, sexuality....

And we never learn.

Why do we fight over how someone else looks or makes love if we are happy with ourselves. All causes of fighting are because of a sense of insecurity in us that forces us to prove to ourselves and others that we are strong.

Why do we think that the whites, blacks, browns or yellows are superior to one another?

Why do we think that it is important to read the Bible, the Quran, the Gita?

Why do we think its natural for a man to love a woman only?

Why do we think that if we are allowed to flaunt our WMDs, should someone else have to hide it?

Why do we believe that a certain part of the world is ours only and everyone else who wants to be there is an illegal immigrant?

What makes us feel that our language is superior?

What makes us feel that our deeds are being kept note of and we will be treated accordingly later?

Why do we think that we deserve better when there are others dying even before they can ask that question?

Why do we think that it is better to bring a child into a world where it will never be loved, than to kill it even before it can feel its death?

Why do we think that a girl-child is a burden?

Why do we think that a gun is going to keep us safe?

Why do we act as liliputs when we could be giants?

Thursday, January 18, 2007


How many times have you wanted to be a king. To be the premier of all those around you. And then you have realised that you cannot be a king in these days of the overrated form of governance known as democracy. And then what do you do, you move on in life being another petty subject of a country of millions.

Not everyone in this world gives up that easily though. There are some amongst us who will go to any lengths to be king.

One such example is Paddy Roy Bates, the premier or king of the Principality of Sealand. This "country" has its own constitution, own flag and even issued passports. However, according to wikipedia it consists of "man-made off-shore installation named HM Fort Roughs, a former Maunsell Sea Fort located in the North Sea 10 kilometres (six miles) off the coast of Suffolk, England, as well as territorial waters in a twelve-nautical-mile radius."

This micronation is only a part of a sea fort built by the British during WWII, and abandoned and allowed to sink. However part of it is still above water, looking like an abandoned oil rig. However, small as it might be it is a proud nation. It has held its own against an attempt of invasion by the British.

It has a hereditary constitutional monarchy and a total population of less than ten permanent residents. However the royal family has put up the nation for sale. Some of you with a load of cash may bid for it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


What can a stretch of road in the middle of a busy city mean to anyone. A road where when you walk by you are just another anonymous person, another entity in the countless millions, another ant in the bustling ant colony. Can a street, an alley, a road grow into being a part of you. A Road that is in no way yours, a road that you share with thousands of other people whom you dont know or have no intention of knowing.

There are relationships that you get into, not because you want to or because you have to, but just because you happened to be there. My relationship with Park Street is something of that sort. A relationship that started of with the usual flirtings during the teenage years. Walking down the streets, with nothing at all to do...gazing at the cars flow by, the beautiful girls walk away and the once in a while useful trip to some fancy restaurant.

And then came the college days. Three years of knowing each other. Three years during which I walked her length innumerable times, getting to be part of her daily crowd. Three years during which I had fights, friendships, laughter, tears thats I shared with her.

Those daily ritual of walking back with friends to the bus stop, walking for 45 minutes what would normally take 15 or less. Shouting on the middle of the road as if we owned the world. Feeling so much at home.

Those treats at Peipings or Bar-B-q, those intellectual rounds at Oxford, killing time at Music World. And visiting the cemetery. And the bribing of cops for running a trafic light, did it all.

All thanks to Park Street...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Recently, I have been walking a lot. Yeah, a lot. Mostly its from my new apartment to school or back. The walk to school is bad, trust me. 1.5 miles uphill is a pain. However on the bright side I guess I will be getting some much needed exercise.

For those not impressed by 1.5 miles walk here are some facts.

the Mt. Everest is roughly 5.7 miles high. That means if I walk the distance four times I walk just as much...and then they make a big deal about climbing the highest peak in the world...

also the highest building in the world is Petronas Towers at a measly .4 miles high...I will see how easily you go up to the top of that using the stairs smartass....

the deepest ocean trench is about 7 miles deep and not too many people have gone that deep, and here I am going an equal distance every trips I make and still get no credit...

if instead of walking on the earth if I was walking straight away from it, I would reach the top of the troposphere in roughly 6 days...

the only thing that you could you hold against me is the speed...yeah I am not Roger Bannister...and take nearly half an hour walking the distance...