To study semiconductors at Japan's top university, first, you need the right clothes — protective overalls, shoe covers, plastic gloves and a lightweight balaclava to keep your hair out of the way.

Then, surgical mask in place, you step inside an "air shower" to remove all the dust from your body that could potentially contaminate the precision equipment.

You are now ready to enter the University of Tokyo's clean room, a highly controlled space where microchips are handled.