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ELEC05 - Developments toward low and ultra low voltage electron microscopy (CONFIDENTIAL)

Summary of the impact

Since the 1950s, when they were first developed, scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) have revolutionised science. However, the large physical size of these machines and their aggressive treatment of samples has limited their use. Now research carried out by Professor Mohamed El-Gomati has led to the development of products for global companies including Agilent, Carl Zeiss and Shimadzu. These products include the world's first low-voltage desktop SEM, capable of resolving features smaller than 5 nanometres, and handling radiation sensitive samples such as biological and medical materials, novel photoresists, nanotubes and nanorods. The smaller size has also improved accessibility of such instruments leading to significant efficiency gains for companies and academia worldwide.

Submitting Institution

University of York

Unit of Assessment

Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials

Summary Impact Type

Technological

Research Subject Area(s)

Physical Sciences: Other Physical Sciences
Engineering: Materials Engineering, Interdisciplinary Engineering

1. The impact of the floating low-energy ion gun (FLIG) on the consumer electronics industry

Summary of the impact

This case study describes the invention, development and subsequent commercial application of the floating low-energy ion gun (FLIG), a key enabling technology for high-resolution depth profiling, in particular of semiconductor devices. Following its invention at the University of Warwick, the FLIG was commercialised and now plays an important role in the semiconductor industry as a key analytical instrument. Intel and its competitors have used the FLIG in developing specific technologies, such as the PentiumTM, XeonfTM and CoreTM i7 processors. Its impact extends beyond the electronics industry to consumers worldwide since the FLIG has played a key role in the development of multicore processors for personal computers, intense low-energy lighting for automotive and civil engineering, mobile telecommunications technology, and many other areas of advanced electronic, and other material, technologies. This invention has also led directly to an ISO standard for depth resolution.

Submitting Institution

University of Warwick

Unit of Assessment

Physics

Summary Impact Type

Technological

Research Subject Area(s)

Physical Sciences: Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics, Other Physical Sciences
Chemical Sciences: Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural)

The National Ion Beam Facility at the service of UK industry

Summary of the impact

The Surrey Ion Beam Centre (based at the University of Surrey) pioneered the field of ion beam applications and is regarded as world leading, having initiated a significant number of high profile research activities for which it received recognition through the Queen's Anniversary prize in 2002. It works actively with industry, developing bespoke processes and services, particularly for the photonics industry, ultimately generating millions of pounds for the UK economy. It also serves as a European Centre for doctoral training.

Submitting Institution

University of Surrey

Unit of Assessment

Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials

Summary Impact Type

Technological

Research Subject Area(s)

Physical Sciences: Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics, Other Physical Sciences
Technology: Communications Technologies

Development and exploitation of a buckminsterfullerene, C60+ based primary ion beam system for secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS)

Summary of the impact

Pioneering research at the University of Manchester developed a primary ion beam system based on buckminsterfullerene C60+ for secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) that has revolutionized the field by providing unprecedented insight into the 3D depth profiling of organic materials, and spawned the development of second-generation polyatomic sources. A commercial C60+ ion beam has been developed in collaboration with Ionoptika Ltd that has lead to: the sale of 70 units with value greater than £2m; the development of a new spectrometer with sales of £2.5m; the creation of five employment positions. Technology has been transferred to a Japanese instrument manufacturer contributing to £ tens of millions sales.

Submitting Institution

University of Manchester

Unit of Assessment

Chemistry

Summary Impact Type

Technological

Research Subject Area(s)

Physical Sciences: Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics, Other Physical Sciences
Chemical Sciences: Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural)

Entirely new forms of microscopy

Summary of the impact

Basic research combining scanning probe microscopy with thermal, spectroscopic and chemical analysis has enabled the development of powerful, entirely new forms of analytical microscopy. Commercialisation of instruments for micro-thermal analysis began by TA Instruments, in 1998, based on four patents, followed by a Lancaster start-up company Anasys Ltd. These instruments have since been extensively used in multidisciplinary applications by scientific industry and government laboratories. Anasys has sold over 100 units of these nanoscale thermal analysis instruments (total turnover £3M) and many leading polymer industries, research institutes and academic programs worldwide are now users of this technology.

Submitting Institution

Lancaster University

Unit of Assessment

Physics

Summary Impact Type

Technological

Research Subject Area(s)

Physical Sciences: Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics, Other Physical Sciences
Chemical Sciences: Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural)

CPO software package for designing charged-particle optical systems

Summary of the impact

A software package called CPO has been developed that simulates the motion of charged particles in electromagnetic fields. More than 200 benchmark tests have established CPO as the gold standard in low-energy charged-particle optics. A spin-off company was formed to market CPO, [text removed for publication]

Submitting Institution

University of Manchester

Unit of Assessment

Physics

Summary Impact Type

Technological

Research Subject Area(s)

Physical Sciences: Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics, Other Physical Sciences

From space science to medicine; the application of novel sensor technologies in healthcare

Summary of the impact

Space science and medicine share a fundamental requirement for radiation sensors of the highest possible sensitivity. The development of imaging detectors for major X-ray observatories such as the European XMM-Newton and NASA's Chandra provided the impetus for a broad-based, intensive programme of deliberate technology transfer from the Unit's Space Research Centre (SRC) into the life sciences and medicine. The resulting impact now extends far beyond the exploratory provision of prototype sensor technologies for biomedical researchers into the full-scale commercial exploitation of those technologies with industry partners in the UK and Europe and, in three separate cases, to early-stage patient trials. Impact is being delivered in clinical specialisms from oncology to ophthalmology; from neurotoxicology to emergency medicine. The impact delivery mechanisms — the hospital-based Diagnostics Development Unit (DDU) and the campus-based Bioimaging Unit — are themselves novel and have achieved national prominence as examples of best practice in the drive for economic return even from established blue skies research.

Submitting Institution

University of Leicester

Unit of Assessment

Physics

Summary Impact Type

Technological

Research Subject Area(s)

Physical Sciences: Other Physical Sciences

Failure in Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors (MLCCs) for AVX Ltd

Summary of the impact

The provision of professional analysis and advice has created an economic impact of $0.6M with AVX Ltd, a leading supplier of electronic components within the Kyocera Group. This information was pivotal to AVX Ltd retaining a major contract, for multi-layer ceramic capacitor (MLCC's) supply through to the automotive manufacturer Volkswagen Group. Our intervention addressed a reliability issue in the MLCCs and allowed them to improve processes and revise manufacture protocols. The impact drew on previous collaborative research with AVX Ltd and innovative methodologies for preparation of micro and nanoscale samples of materials in capacitors in academic research.

Submitting Institution

Queen's University Belfast

Unit of Assessment

Physics

Summary Impact Type

Technological

Research Subject Area(s)

Physical Sciences: Other Physical Sciences
Chemical Sciences: Inorganic Chemistry
Engineering: Materials Engineering

Enabling SEMATECH and industrial member companies to improve their transistor technology

Summary of the impact

Researchers within the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCL have investigated the properties of defects in bulk HfO2 and at Si/SiOx/HfO2 interfaces. Results have been used by an industrial partner, SEMATECH (SMT), to improve the quality and reliability of high-performance microelectronic devices based on transistors. This has helped SMT to meet project objectives on behalf of member companies such as Intel and IBM, and UCL research results have been consistently highly evaluated by these companies. Recommendations made by SMT have been implemented by industrial partners in their currently manufactured devices, such as the 22nm process technology released by Intel in 2011.

Submitting Institution

University College London

Unit of Assessment

Physics

Summary Impact Type

Technological

Research Subject Area(s)

Physical Sciences: Condensed Matter Physics
Chemical Sciences: Inorganic Chemistry
Engineering: Materials Engineering

Economic impacts of computer controlled polishing and metrology of ultra-precision surfaces

Summary of the impact

A unique UK national capability for large optics manufacture and associated technologies has been exploited. This case study describes the benefits realised from research into high precision surface-removal processes plus metrology, applied to large area functional surfaces producing precisions down to nanometres. Research into metrology for optical manufacturing, into increasing the dynamic range of a CNC polishing machine and into the issues associated with scaling up from prototype to commercial mass production of large off-axis aspheric mirror-segments for future extremely large telescopes has made a significant contribution to the progress of the ESO European Extremely Large Telescope project and has brought commercial benefits to Zeeko Ltd.

Submitting Institution

Glynd┼Ár University

Unit of Assessment

Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials

Summary Impact Type

Technological

Research Subject Area(s)

Physical Sciences: Other Physical Sciences
Information and Computing Sciences: Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing
Engineering: Manufacturing Engineering

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