Building a circuit to blink an is the hardware ’s version of the venerable “Hello, !” program — it teaches you the basics in a friendly, approachable way. And the blinky light project remains a valuable teaching tool right up through the hardware wizard level, provided you build your own LEDs first.

For [emach1ne], the DIY LED was part of a Master’s degree course and began with a slice of epitaxial  that goes through cleaning, annealing, and acid etching steps in preparation for photolithography. While gingerly handling some expensive masks, [emach1ne] got to use some really cool tools and processes — mask aligners, plasma etchers, and electron beam vapor deposition. [emach1ne] details every step that led to a nursery of baby LEDs on the , each of which was tested. Working arrays were cut from the and mounted in a lead frame, bonded with gold wires, and fiat lux.

The whole thing must have been a experience in modern fab methods, and [emach1ne] should feel lucky to have to tools like these. But if you think you can’t your own semiconductor fab, we beg to differ.

[via r/engineering]

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