Our investment in semiconductor research equipment in the last 12 months totals £6 million

A new £2million Cluster Tool funded by an EPSRC grant at the University of Sheffield will change the way in which semiconductor quantum dots are produced. The newest piece of equipment is part of a larger EPSRC grant which will allow the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and the Department of Physics to work beyond their current capabilities. The Cluster Tool will grow quantum dots for use in semiconductor circuitry to a higher quality than is currently possible, and place them on semiconductor materials with more accuracy.

These dual features will allow an advancement in technology leading to more secure communications and new forms of computing by moving away from maths based systems to physics based systems. Physics based systems are harder to compromise and allow for multiple processes to occur at the same time.

The new tool, funded as part of the National Strategy in Quantum Technologies, will ensure the department will be able to supply semiconductor quantum dots to research groups around the UK through the National Centre for III-V Technologies.

The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering has also invested £1.5million in an Electron Beam lithography machine, which can pattern and process semiconductor materials on a true nano scale allowing nano scale fabrication; and £500,000 in a materials exploration machine to develop semiconductor materials for use in energy and photonics, including 2D materials beyond graphene.

Combining all three machines will lead to exciting advances for the quantum industry and brings the investment by the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering to £6 million in semiconductor research equipment over the last 12 months.

The Cluster Tool is expected to be in situ by early 2017.

Read the EPSRC press release