The University of Sheffield to collaborate on ambitious £5.54m manufacturing innovation project for advanced materials and devices.

  • £5.54m Programme Grant awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to a consortium led by the University of Glasgow.
  • The University of Sheffield brings expertise in the epitaxy and engineering of semiconductor devices to the project.
  • The ‘Hetero-print’ project brings together electronic engineers, chemists, physicists and materials scientists from the Universities of Cambridge, Glasgow, Manchester, Strathclyde and Sheffield.

The project will investigate a major new direction for electronics manufacturing to bring new capabilities to the manufacture of electronic, photonic and other micro-systems.

An ambitious research project involving the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, the Department of Physics and the National Epitaxy Facility (nationalepitaxyfacility) at The University of Sheffield aims to develop new manufacturing techniques for advanced materials and devices and has been awarded more than £5m in funding.

The ‘Hetero-print’ project brings together electrical engineers, chemists, physicists, materials scientists and engineers from the Universities of Cambridge, Glasgow, Manchester, Sheffield and Strathclyde.

Over the next five years, they will use a £5.54m Programme Grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop a range of new techniques and applications for printing of electronic and photonic devices on the micro and nanoscales. EPSRC’s Programme Grants provide funding to world-leading research groups to address significant major research challenges.

Semiconductor laserThe Hetero-print team will work to extend the existing capabilities of micro and nanoscale ‘transfer printing’; a technique which allows the integration of diverse high-performance electronic and photonic devices to provide innovative manufacturing solutions and enable new applications.

The projects’ research is expected to drive the next generation of electronic manufacturing with capability for highly integrated systems. In recent years, transfer printing has enabled the development of complex technology such as flexible displays made from micro-LEDs. In this ambitious new programme, the team will demonstrate applications in quantum systems, distributed sensors, electronic skins for robotics, and light enabled wireless communications.

Co-investigator, Professor Jon Heffernan from The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at The University of Sheffield, said: “We are at the cusp of a revolution in the electronics industry, with a shift from Moore’s Law to the powerful opportunities of heterogeneous integration, whereby the mixing of devices such as transistors, sensors and lasers will lead to the creation of whole new system concepts and applications.

“We are delighted to be partners in this exciting new project to develop advanced electronics printing methods, allowing us to create new concepts in highly integrated electronic systems that up to now have not been possible. We have a world class multidisciplinary team to realise our ambitious vision. The University of Sheffield will provide its internationally leading expertise in semiconductor devices and our advanced semiconductor epitaxy available through the National Epitaxy Facility.”


Professor Peter Skabara, Ramsay Chair of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow and the project’s principal investigator, added: “We are very pleased and proud to have the support of EPSRC through their Programme Grant initiative for the Hetero-print project. The technology we’re building upon is rooted in semiconductor industry techniques, and we will work on many exciting new applications in the fields of flexible electronics, new forms of displays, silicon photonics, photonic integrated circuits, sensors for medicine and healthcare, novel quantum-based sensors, smart labels, e-skins/robotics and photovoltaics”.

Work on the Hetero-print project is due to begin in early June 2018. The Programme Grant-supported research will run until 2023.

For more information please contact Vicky Sampson on 0114 2225184/ v.sampson@sheffield.ac.uk.