Metrology concepts for a new generation of plasma manufacturing with atom-scale precision

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

This research proposal is targeted at addressing the challenge of real-time metrology for control of flexible and reconfigurable technological plasma systems. Plasma technologies not only underpin many high-end multi-billion pound manufacturing industries of today, but also are critical elements for the invention of new devices of the future. A new revolution is underway in plasma processing; the 'ivy-bridge' 3-dimensional atomic layer nano-structures of Intel Corp. and new carbon-based supermaterials of Element Six have only just been realised. This opens up new horizons for inventions.

Envisaged applications of next-generation plasma processing include manipulation of edge-bonds of single-layer graphene, low power biologically implanted chips as sensors or neuro-motive devices, innovative chemistry applications for biofuel synthesis and realisation of micro-batteries, flexible micro-electronics, fabrication of micro-electromechanical devices, as well as directly using plasmas for medicine, surgery and pharmacy.

Realisation of all these critically depends on the development of new adaptable plasma processing techniques. As the industry transforms itself this is an exciting time. One critical bottleneck is the lack of adaptable process control. We propose a novel non-invasive sensor and virtual metrology concept to monitor substrate relevant parameters to enable real-time plasma tuning. This has developed from our pioneering research on the topic and recent discoveries.

Our innovative sensor - pulse induced optical emission spectroscopy (PiOES) is analogous to laser induced fluorescence spectroscopy and will instead of a laser utilise a non-intrusive low voltage rapid nanosecond electronic pulse to generate similar excitation conditions in the plasma. Electron impact excitation will create transient excited states and through the subsequent optical fluorescence, and associated temporal fingerprint, distinct atoms and molecules can be identified. The power and sensitivity of the technique originates from exploiting both the energy dynamics as well as the population dynamics in the nonlinear plasma-surface interface (sheath) region. This will allow detection down to atomic layer defects within micron locality.

The aim of our research programme is to develop and demonstrate our metrology technique in three extreme working environments: low pressure anisotropic plasma etching, synthetic diamond manufacturing, and atmospheric plasmas for medicine and pharmacy. We will demonstrate this metrology technique in full fabrication reactors and environments. This project is a collaboration between world-leaders in the field: The University of York, The University of Bristol, Intel Corp., Element Six, Andor Technology, Quantemol, Smith and Nephew, Hiden Analytical and Oxford Instruments. An advisory board, including leading members from a diverse range of companies and academia, has been installed to ensure industrial relevance and uptake as the project progresses.

Planned Impact

According to the PACEC report [1], the industry sectors of "Advanced Materials and Micro and Nanotechnologies" that we propose to engage with have the highest Gross Value Add, i.e. return on collaborative research investment (£15.41 returned/£1 invested) of any industry sector in the UK.
Our project on "novel metrology concepts for a new generation of plasma manufacturing" will allow real-time process control, by exploiting the dynamics of the substrate-plasma interface. Applications of this technique, once realised, will have significant impact in the EPSRC and Technology Strategy Board highlighted areas of advanced materials, nanotechnology, next generation healthcare, energy and environment. An external Advisory Board for this project, consisting of both academics and companies, will provide guidance and assistance in delivering the impact for this project, including management of flexible funds in the project for future UK academic and industrial collaborations.

The primary economic impact of our project is through direct interactions with our industrial project partners.
- Employing our new metrology techniques will allow Intel Corp. to achieve the continuing drive towards smaller feature sizes, lower power and faster processors. Element Six will be able to improve the quality and cost efficiency of their carbon super-materials, expanding their market.
- Emerging cold atmospheric-pressure plasma technologies, improved with our metrology techniques, are increasingly implemented in large-scale industrial processes and commercial products. Their applications include plasma catalysis for diverse environmental applications e.g. synthetic bio-fuel generation, and plasmas in healthcare and medicine, e.g. cancer treatment and precise single-cell surgery. We will work with Smith & Nephew on this topic.
- Wider uptake of our proposed metrology technology in the other plasma-manufacturing industries will be achieved by engaging with the UK systems integrator companiesn our Advisory Board (Hiden Analytical and Oxford Instruments).

Society impact will mainly be through novel commercial products of existing and new start-up companies.
- Enabling the ongoing trend of smaller, faster and innovative (e.g. flexible) technology applications in everyday life.
- Improved quality of life for the ageing population in the UK and beyond through the direct use of plasma devices for medical procedures, but also the development of advanced biological sensors, neuro-robotics, and remote patient monitoring, thereby reducing the load on hospital beds.
- Environmental applications of cold atmospheric plasmas, will help society deal with current environmental issues like exhaust gas cleaning, alternative fuel generation, chemical and environment sensors.

Dissemination of outcomes of this project will include scientific and industrial conferences like the annual de Beers Diamond Conference, Intel European Conference and EPSRC Manufacturing Future Conference. The key result of this project will be the development of the concept of using the plasma itself as a sensor to monitor and control a plasma process. This will also impact other related highlighted areas with significant future application potential, e.g. plasma medicine, environmental applications and fusion energy. Flexible, impact acceleration funds in this project will be used to bring together UK academic and industrial beneficiaries in these fields and encourage further development of new collaborations, ideas and applications.

Finally, the project will train PDRAs and PhD students in the field of plasma manufacturing. Their experience of working with industrial plasma tools, as well as regular direct contact with a commercial environment will make them ideally suited for a future job in the UK plasma manufacturing industry.

[1] Technology Strategy Board, "Evaluation of the Collaborative Research and Development Programmes" compiled by PACEC Consultants, Sep 2011

Publications

10 25 50

 
Description Various plasma sources have been set up for a variety of technological applications, including nano-fabrication, synthetic diamond manufacturing, healthcare technologies. Plasma diagnostic techniques (e.g. nanosecond imaging spectroscopy and laser spectroscopy) and numerical simulation platforms have been established. Detailed investigations of novel plasma monitoring and control strategies have been carried out according to the work programme. All objectives have generally been met. The industrial implementation in WP4 is slightly delayed, however, it is still ongoing through new industrial investments beyond the project end date, clearly showing the continued industrial engagement. The activities in WP3 on atmospheric pressure plasmas have significantly over-delivered and attracted new industrial partners who have also provided additional funding for continued developments beyond the project end date.
Exploitation Route Knowledge transfer with academic and industrial partners are ongoing and have attracted additional industrial funding for continued developments beyond the project end date.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description The use is not yet fully implemented at this stage, however, there is significant commitment in particular from industrial project partners to continue with further development work. This includes new direct investments from new industrial partners. Details are currently confidential due to commercial sensitivities.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Chemicals,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Member of Council of Royal Societyl
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description chair of SP8 for REF2021
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Title Liu Hao et al. (2016): Determination of Stark parameters by cross-calibration in a multi-element laser-induced plasma 
Description Original data for the article "Determination of Stark parameters by cross-calibration in a multi-element laser-induced plasma" by Liu Hao, Benjamin S Truscott and Michael N R Ashfold 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Long Jiao et al. (2016) - Imaging spectroscopy of polymer ablation plasmas for laser propulsion applications 
Description Raw, unprocessed data files used in the preparation of the 2016 paper "Imaging spectroscopy of polymer ablation plasmas for laser propulsion applications" by Long Jiao et al. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation Aarhus University
Country Denmark 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation Complutense University of Madrid
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics
Country China 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation Deutsches Electronen-Synchrotron (DESY)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation Hokkaido University
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation Johns Hopkins University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation Kansas State University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Department Fritz Haber Institute
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation Moscow State University
Country Russian Federation 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation National Research Council - Ottawa
Country Canada 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation Radboud University Nijmegen
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation Sandia Laboratories
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation University of Gothenburg
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation University of Innsbruck
Country Austria 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation University of Kyoto
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation University of Louisiana at Lafayette
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation University of Maryland, College Park
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation University of Santiago de Compostela
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Academic collaborations 
Organisation University of Warwick
Department University of Warwick Research Students Skills Programme
Country Unknown 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Numerous scientific collaborations, most of which have already yielded joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input, combining and sharing of knowledge and/or of scientific capability.
Impact See list of outputs
Start Year 2014
 
Description Invited lecture at British Science Festival, Brighton 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Annual British Science Association meeting
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017