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Barrier to entry for hardware material science experiments?

  1. Jan 31, 2017 #1
    I read phys.org and science daily, daily. I read about all these amazing experiments and discoveries and I want to try my own experiments. A lot of articles are about emerging computing technologies, and often the article emphasizes how inexpensive these materials and processes are becoming.
    I am interested in seeing a price tag next to an article and maybe an itemized list of all expenses.
    I'm not super rich, but I'm sure I make enough money to mess around with this stuff.

    Why does it feel like there is a major barrier to entry for hardware material science experiments?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 2, 2017 #2


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    Your description is vague. Can you point one of these "articles" that you are referring to?

    Experiments are expensive because of the nature of the setup and the stringent requirements. For example, something that is done in "vacuum" isn't done in just any level of vacuum. It may be in ultra-high vacuum (i.e. 10-9 Torr or lower), and the requirement to get to that level in a reasonable amount of time requires not only an investment in expensive pumps, but also an investment in vacuum vessels, fittings, vacuum "hygiene", etc.

    Secondly, "inexpensive" is a relative term. If I'm designing a particle accelerator, maybe $1 million is "inexpensive" considering that it can easily reach well beyond that usually. But do you have $1 million lying around?

    Finally, I don't quite understand what "emerging computing technologies" is, and how this is an "experiment".

    In this forum, it is always preferable if you include proper citation to give everyone else a clearer idea of what you had in mind.

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