Cake Making—In class
In my microelectronics class on Thursday we modeled the building of a transistor using cakes. My team consisted of a Danish student whom I’ve grown close with and a couple of American students. The exercise was done to help us understand the many processes in building a single transistor of a semiconductor.
I’ve realized it is amazing what we can do with technology today. For instance, the semiconductors in our laptops today can contain upwards of 1 BILLION transistors. That is in a space of maybe one square inch. We used entire cakes to represent one transistor.
It was a good exercise. I do not think they do this exercise at RPI, but, now I think they should. I plan on sending some of my professor’s details about this lesson. Not only was it fun, but, if you take it seriously like my group did, you can learn a lot. Most groups did take it very seriously. I’m not sure if it would work the same way at RPI because you need to find a large kitchen to do this. We needed a means of heating chocolate as well as bowls and mixing tools/forks/knives to complete the cake. I’m not sure we have a kitchen available.
The tools we used to create our “transistor” was layers of cake to represent the silicon; the main ingredient. Then, we used strawberry and vanilla icing to represent p type or n type doping. Chocolate was the metal and chocolate also represented the connections. In our case, we decided to build a CMOS inverting circuit. That is the most basic/fundamental circuits you can build. It turned out really well. I did most of the planning, along with the other Danish student. The other two Americans in our group were clueless.
At the end, we got to eat the cake and it was really good. It gave me a nice sugar high before leaving for London.
We used overhead sheets to design the "mask," which defines what to cut out.
We cut out and filled our "N Wells" with strawberry jelly. Then used liquid nigtrogen to cool it.
You can see the transistors now. The chocolate is the metal of the transistor and the vanilla pudding is the "P Well." Again, using liquid Nitrogen.
After another layer of cake, we used chocolate powder and chocolate syrup to make the connections to the layers below.
We ate it. It was good.