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Bartending lessons for microassembly

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12:20pm, September 21, 2004

Pour half a shot of hot ethylene glycol, such as the antifreeze in your car's engine. Add a sprinkle of light-emitting diodes and a pinch of tiny, cuplike casings. Shake well.

Such a concoction would be an awful drink, but electronics manufacturers may soon start following such recipes to accelerate their assembly lines.

Heiko O. Jacobs and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities have demonstrated the feasibility of quickly assembling hundreds of identical microcircuit components by agitating subunits in liquid ethylene glycol heated to 100°C.

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