Did you know that ...

... one of the cleanest places in Germany is in the city of Oberkochen?

We all know the feeling: as soon as you've finished cleaning your apartment, you immediately find new clumps of dust on the floor. Are you imagining this? No – unfortunately that's just how it is. You can never sweep and mop so thoroughly that all the dust and dirt is eliminated. In day to day life, we just have to live with this reality, but what's good enough for the home is simply not sufficient for many applications in medicine and science. It was probably doctors who first designed and developed a cleanroom and turned it into a type of OR.

Since then, cleanrooms are used for many other applications – in optical and laser technology, aerospace engineering, the biosciences, the production of food and pharmaceuticals and in nanotechnology. Cleanrooms are especially important for semiconductor manufacturing, because even minuscule particles can interfere with the integrated circuits – and with this technology we're talking about fractions of a micrometer. That's why ZEISS has set up many different cleanrooms for the production of semiconductor equipment, such as lithography optics, at its company headquarters in the city of Oberkochen in southwest Germany, ensuring that the microchips produced with these technologies will ultimately work.

But in case you're feeling envious, keep the following in mind: even these cleanrooms are not 100% clean. A class 100 cleanroom contains around 3,500 particles per cubic meter of air – in comparison to 100 million particles in normal ambient air. Human beings are the greatest source of contamination, e.g. because of non-visible flakes of skin which become detached with every movement and particles in the air we exhale. The solution: cleanroom suits, shoe and hair covers, gloves, a mouthguard as well as special air filtration and ventilation systems.

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