The University of Glasgow has been awarded a £3m share of £85m new government funding for equipment to support pioneering research to improve the efficiency of electronic and optical components. This research includes developing advanced processes on multiple commercial micro- and nano-fabrication tools manufactured in the UK by Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology that can be transferred directly into companies for production.
Announced by UK Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts at an event this week in London, the award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will support work undertaken by researchers from the University of Glasgow’s College of Science and Engineering in collaboration with Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology, the National Physical Laboratory, the National Microelectronics Institute and Gas Sensing Solutions.
The funding will allow the University to purchase new equipment including several Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology tools to etch semiconductor materials and deposit electrically insulating layers, techniques used to fabricate high performance electronic and optical devices including transistors, LEDs and lasers.
The equipment will support a range of new research projects including:
- The development of more efficient power electronics, which could improve the lifespan of batteries in many consumer electronic devices as well as reduce their carbon footprint
- Improving the efficiency and durability of solar collection technology, creating a dramatic reduction in the cost of large-scale exploitation of solar energy
- The development of a ‘superspectral’ imaging camera which will integrate visible, infrared and mid-infrared imaging sensors on a single chip for the first time, with applications for security and medical sensing technology
Professor Douglas Paul, Director of the University’s James Watt Nanofabrication Centre, who led the funding bid, said, “Glasgow has a long history of successful exploitation of research which goes all the way back to James Watt’s invention and commercialisation of the condenser for the steam engine, and this award will help us continue that proud tradition. We’re pleased that the EPSRC accepted our funding bid and we’re looking forward to helping support the UK’s efforts to become a more energy-efficient nation.”
Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: "For Britain to get ahead in the global race we have to back emerging technologies and ensure our universities have the latest equipment. This capital investment will help scientists make new discoveries and take their research through to commercial success. It will drive growth and support the Government’s industrial strategy."
About Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology
Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology offers flexible, configurable process tools and leading-edge processes for the precise, controllable and repeatable engineering of micro- and nano-structures. Our systems provide process solutions for the etching of nanometre sized features, nanolayer deposition and the controlled growth of nanostructures.
These solutions are based on core technologies in plasma-enhanced deposition and etch, ion-beam deposition and etch, atomic layer deposition, deep silicon etch and physical vapour deposition. Products range from compact stand-alone systems for R&D, through batch tools and up to clustered cassette-to-cassette platforms for high-throughput production processing.