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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K018388/1
Title: Metrology concepts for a new generation of plasma manufacturing with atom-scale precision
Principal Investigator: Gans, Professor T
Other Investigators:
O'Connell, Dr D Wagenaars, Dr E Ashfold, Professor M
May, Professor PW
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Andor Technology Ltd Element Six Ltd Hiden Analytical Ltd
Intel Corporation Ltd Oxford Instruments Ltd Quantemol Ltd
Smith & Nephew
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of York
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2013 Ends: 21 December 2018 Value (£): 1,979,776
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Manufacturing Machine & Plant
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
26 Nov 2012 Flexible & Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This research proposal is targeted at addressing the challenge of real-time metrology for control of flexible and reconfigurable technological plasma systems. Plasma technologies not only underpin many high-end multi-billion pound manufacturing industries of today, but also are critical elements for the invention of new devices of the future. A new revolution is underway in plasma processing; the 'ivy-bridge' 3-dimensional atomic layer nano-structures of Intel Corp. and new carbon-based supermaterials of Element Six have only just been realised. This opens up new horizons for inventions.

Envisaged applications of next-generation plasma processing include manipulation of edge-bonds of single-layer graphene, low power biologically implanted chips as sensors or neuro-motive devices, innovative chemistry applications for biofuel synthesis and realisation of micro-batteries, flexible micro-electronics, fabrication of micro-electromechanical devices, as well as directly using plasmas for medicine, surgery and pharmacy.

Realisation of all these critically depends on the development of new adaptable plasma processing techniques. As the industry transforms itself this is an exciting time. One critical bottleneck is the lack of adaptable process control. We propose a novel non-invasive sensor and virtual metrology concept to monitor substrate relevant parameters to enable real-time plasma tuning. This has developed from our pioneering research on the topic and recent discoveries.

Our innovative sensor - pulse induced optical emission spectroscopy (PiOES) is analogous to laser induced fluorescence spectroscopy and will instead of a laser utilise a non-intrusive low voltage rapid nanosecond electronic pulse to generate similar excitation conditions in the plasma. Electron impact excitation will create transient excited states and through the subsequent optical fluorescence, and associated temporal fingerprint, distinct atoms and molecules can be identified. The power and sensitivity of the technique originates from exploiting both the energy dynamics as well as the population dynamics in the nonlinear plasma-surface interface (sheath) region. This will allow detection down to atomic layer defects within micron locality.

The aim of our research programme is to develop and demonstrate our metrology technique in three extreme working environments: low pressure anisotropic plasma etching, synthetic diamond manufacturing, and atmospheric plasmas for medicine and pharmacy. We will demonstrate this metrology technique in full fabrication reactors and environments. This project is a collaboration between world-leaders in the field: The University of York, The University of Bristol, Intel Corp., Element Six, Andor Technology, Quantemol, Smith and Nephew, Hiden Analytical and Oxford Instruments. An advisory board, including leading members from a diverse range of companies and academia, has been installed to ensure industrial relevance and uptake as the project progresses.

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Organisation Website: http://www.york.ac.uk