Semiconductor Materials & Devices Research Group

quantum well transistor

The SMD Group is internationally leading in the epitaxy of semiconductor materials, electron microscopy of devices and materials, and the design, fabrication and engineering of both electronic and opto-electronic devices. This is made possible by an extensive array of resources in terms of both personnel and capital equipment.

Semiconductor devices and materials are ubiquitous. Such devices have transformed our world over the past few decades, enabling the internet age both in terms of fibre based communications and wireless communications, revolutionising data storage, bringing high resolution printing to the home, etc. The current research within the group is wide ranging spanning projects aimed at providing solar-powered hydrogen generation to the imaging of skin tissue to enable rapid cancer diagnosis.

The SMD group is the largest group in EEE in terms of both staff numbers, research outputs, and in research income. The group benefits from extensive cleanroom facilities including; state-of-the-art epitaxy, lithography and device manufacturing tools, ultra-high resolution electron microscopy, and numerous suites of tools for opto-electronic and electronic device design and characterization.

The Group is proud to host the EPSRC National Epitaxy Facility, acting as the hub for the UK’s III-V research. Furthermore, we are delighted to be responsible for a number of spin-out companies.

The Group also runs the Kroto Centre for High-Resolution Imaging and Analysis providing state-of-the-art, atomic scale structural and compositional materials characterisation by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) for both in-house and external users. The heart of this is a new field-emission scanning TEM (STEM), the JEOL Z3100-R005, which so far is the only 300kV instrument in Europe with a cold field-emission gun as cathode and double aberration correctors for both illumination and imaging lenses. It reaches a resolution of 0.05nm in both parallel illumination and focused beam scanning modes, that's smaller than an atom. This world-leading instrument is complemented by a smaller 200kV field-emission analytical TEM (JEOL 2010F) and a dual-beam focused ion beam SEM (JEOL 6500F Fabrika) complete with electron beam lithography, gas injection system and an Orsay Physics Ga+ ion beam column. The group enjoys strong links with the Departments of Materials Science & Engineering as well as Physics at Sheffield, as well as a number of external academic and industrial collaborators.