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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P030459/1
Title: Bid for new Electron-Beam Lithography Tool
Principal Investigator: Calder, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Weaver, Professor JMR Sorel, Professor M Gadegaard, Professor N
Thoms, Dr S Thayne, Professor I Dobson, Dr PS
Paul, Professor DJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Chinese Academy of Science CNIT Columbia University
Compound Semiconductor Tech Global Ltd Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL Kelvin Nanotechnology Ltd
Konstanz University M Squared Lasers Ltd Nanjing Tech University
Nanjing University of Science and Techno National Physical Laboratory Polytechnic University of Milan
Queen's University of Belfast Scottish Enterprise Seagate Technology
Stanford University Teledyne e2v (UK) Ltd University of Birmingham
University of Bristol University of Electronic Science and Tec University of Nottingham
University of Oxford University of Rome I (La Sapienza) University of Strathclyde
University of Sussex
Department: College of Science and Engineering
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 April 2017 Ends: 31 March 2018 Value (£): 2,000,000
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Microsystems
RF & Microwave Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Communications
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
18 Jan 2017 Underpinning multi-user equipment Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The last fifty years have seen spectacular progress in the ability to assemble materials with a precision of nanometers (a few atoms across). This nanofabrication ability is built upon the twin pillars of lithography and pattern transfer. A whole range of tools are used for pattern transfer. Lithography is a photographic process for the production of small structures in which structures are "drawn" in a thin radiation sensitive film. Then comes the pattern transfer step in which the shapes are transferred into a useful material, such as that of an active semiconductor device or a metal wire. Lithography is the key process used to make silicon integrated circuits, such as a microprocessor with eight billion working transistors, or a camera chip which is over two inches across.

The manufacture of microprocessors is accomplished in large, dedicated factories which are limited to making one type of device. Also, normal lithography tools require the production of large, perfect and extremely expensive "negatives" so that it is only economical to use this technology to make huge numbers of identical devices.

The applications of lithography are far broader than just making silicon chips, however. For example, large areas of small dots of material can be used to make cells grow in particular directions or to become certain cell types for use in regenerative medicine; The definition of an exquisitely precise diffraction grating on a laser allows it to produce the perfectly controlled wavelengths of light needed to make portable atomic clocks or to measure the tiny magnetic fields associated with the functioning of the brain; Lithography enables the direct manipulation of quantum states needed to refine the international standards of time and electrical current and may one day revolutionise computation; By controlling the size and shape of a material we can give it new properties, enabling the replacement of scarce strategic materials such as tellurium in the harvesting of waste thermal energy.

This grant will enable the installation of an "electron-beam lithography" system in an advanced general-purpose fabrication laboratory. Electron beam lithography uses an electron beam rather than light to expose the resist and has the same advantages of resolution that an electron microscope has over a light microscope. This system will allow the production of the tiniest structures over large samples but does not need an expensive "negative" to be made. Instead, like a laser printer, the pattern to be written is defined in software, so that there is no cost associated with changing the shape if only one object of a particular shape is to be made. The electron beam lithography system is therefore perfect for making small things for scientific research or for making small numbers of a specialized device for a small company. The tool will be housed in a laboratory which allows the processing of the widest possible range of materials, from precious gem diamonds a few millimetres across to disks of exotic semiconductor the size of dinner plates.

The tool will be used by about 200 people from all over the UK and the world. By running continuously the tool will be very inexpensive to use, allowing the power of leading-edge lithography to be used by anyone, from students to small businesses. The tool will be supported and operated by a large dedicated team of extremely experienced staff, so that the learning curve to applying the most advanced incarnation of the most powerful technology of the age will be reduced to a matter of a few weeks.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk