Compound Semiconductor Underpinning Equipment

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering

Abstract

Compound Semiconductor (CS) materials are a Key Enabling Technology at the heart of modern society. They are central to the development of, for example, the 5G network, new energy efficient lighting, smart phones, satellite communications systems, power electronics for the next generation of electric vehicles and new imaging techniques. Simply put, these technologies support our connected world, our health, our security and the environment. The next generation of these technologies can only be achieved with a step change in CS manufacturing and we aim to the UK at the centre of this CS manufacturing research. This is not only important activity in its own right but will also support systems researchers in all of these important fields.
The step change will be achieved by applying the manufacturing disciplines and approaches of Silicon to Compound Semiconductors and by combining CS with Silicon. This includes developing integrated epitaxial growth and processing with critical yield and reliability analysis; establishing new standards for CS device production, with a guaranteed number of wafer starts per week for key statistical based process control and development via IT infrastructure; solving the scientific and manufacturing challenges in wafer size scale-up combining large scale, 150-200mm diameter growth and fabrication for GaAs based and GaN based materials and apply this to existing and developed advanced processes; introducing a multi-project wafer culture (as is the norm in the silicon world) to share costs and encourage the widespread use of larger wafers by academics and SMEs.
Critical to this approach is the characterisation equipment, which can be used in-line (during the manufacturing process) and over the larger (up to 200mm diameter) CS wafers we will utilise. This proposal is for this characterisation equipment to add to the large investment already made by Cardiff University and partners in epitaxial growth and fabrication infrastructure and equipment. We also ask for apparatus to allow high quality insulating layers to be deposited, which will enable the multi-project wafer approach to produce world leading performance, for access by our UK based circuit and system designers.

Planned Impact

Societal
Compound Semiconductor materials are a Key Enabling Technology underpinning the operation of the internet and enabling emerging megatrends such as Smart Phone usage, satellite communications/GPS, Direct Broadcast TV, energy efficient lighting, efficient solar power generation, advanced healthcare and ground breaking biotechnology. Simply put these technologies support our connected world and the future health of the planet.
Economic
Our vision is to ensure that the UK's research strength in compound semiconductors will be embedded in manufacturable approaches so the UK can commercially address the opportunities that compound semiconductors will provide. The global market for compound semiconductors is currently worth around $33.7Bn, with a compound annual growth rate of 17.3%, and underpins 100s of billions dollar related industries from telecom to automotive. Expanding commercial activity in the compound semiconductor sector will provide an important boost for the UK economy and maintain UK advanced manufacturing competiveness. A good example of this is Cardiff headquartered IQE Plc, the global leader in supplying compound semiconductor materials (~£130M turnover).
Our aim is to strengthen the relationship between academia and industry and this will be achieved by 1) changing the mind set of researchers to start from solutions that allow rapid translation to production by providing access to production scale and research tools that are functionally similar along with highly skilled support for the tools and processes; 2) Co-location of research and industry staff to maximise cross fertilisation of ideas, techniques and approach in an environment that supports interaction.
The EPSRC Manufacturing Hub funded translation / business developer together with staff from the Compound Semiconductor Centre will support SMEs through product prototyping, IP generation, skills development and training. They will help bid for external grants, coordinate partner forms, form networks and prepare roadmaps.
Skills Base
The cutting edge equipment operated as part of a manufacturing process offers an excellent training opportunity, inculcating a manufacturing mind set in a UK strategically relevant high technology field. We will embed technological excellence and the latest manufacturing approaches in UK industry. PDRAs and students will participate in high level meetings with the commercial organisations and will work alongside R&D staff from industry. There will also be a direct economic impact via the provision of skilled workers to relevant companies, a feature of our previous projects.
Outreach
The Hub funded outreach specialist will promote the reach and importance of compound semiconductors and the strategy and activity of the Hub in manufacturing. The specialist and the team will address audiences from school students to stakeholders to politicians. Resources are available from the Hub to train researchers and staff in media interactions and outreach using a range of innovative formats such as performance and theatre production skills.
Knowledge Dissemination
Via conferences such as UK Semiconductors and Photonics West, the latter providing an excellent mix of science and commercial activity. We will publish in open access peer reviewed journals such as those from both the Nature and IEEE stables.
Our aim throughout will be to engage new partners and we will hold workshops, use feasibility funding, actively canvas and make use of our existing partners and contacts, relevant KTNs, the Welsh Optoelectronics Forum and other appropriate bodies to connect as widely as possible

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description We have added metrology capability to our current facilities, begun to develop manufacturing processes for compound semiconductor devices and integrated circuits (supporting high priority areas in Communications and Sensors), supported the Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub (CS Hub) through increased collaboration, developed an open access facility for the UK academic community to support the translation of research to manufacturing scale.
Exploitation Route Equipment will be used to develop collaborations with industry and academia.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description The equipment purchased has been essential in enhancing capability for both the Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub (CS Hub) and the Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) at Cardiff University. The equipment available has allowed us to begin negotiations with new industrial and academic collaborators and to develop new research proposals. It will be essential for attracting research funding and generating research publications for the CS Hub, generating collaborations, and new customers for the TRAC ICS facility. The equipment forms an essential component of the ICS capability and has assisted in developing the profile of ICS.
 
Description MSc Module ENT610
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing CDT)
Amount £6,271,740 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2019 
End 10/2027
 
Description European Space Agency (Single-chip Ka-band doherty amplifier
Amount £70,886 (GBP)
Organisation European Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country France
Start 03/2018 
End 02/2020
 
Description Innovate UK Kairos
Amount £139,442 (GBP)
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2018 
End 03/2021
 
Description Non-linear (large signal) Millimetre-wave Devices, Circuits and Systems On-Wafer Characterization Facility
Amount £1,459,152 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S01005X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 12/2019
 
Description WEFO (ACNM Project)
Amount £232,751 (GBP)
Organisation Government of Wales 
Department Welsh European Funding Office
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2019 
End 01/2020
 
Description WEFO (Asset project)
Amount £84,665 (GBP)
Organisation Government of Wales 
Department Welsh European Funding Office
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 12/2020
 
Description DILAN project 
Organisation Compound Semiconductor Centre
PI Contribution Working on the DILAN project to develop new processes for improved laser manufacture and function. Subsequently working on continuation projects to secure additional funding with the same collaborative team. Use of the axio imager and spectrum analyser to inform process development.
Collaborator Contribution Working on the DILAN project to develop new processes for improved laser manufacture and function.
Impact New grant application for SMART Expertise funding is in process.
Start Year 2017
 
Description DILAN project 
Organisation Computer Simulation Technology
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Working on the DILAN project to develop new processes for improved laser manufacture and function. Subsequently working on continuation projects to secure additional funding with the same collaborative team. Use of the axio imager and spectrum analyser to inform process development.
Collaborator Contribution Working on the DILAN project to develop new processes for improved laser manufacture and function.
Impact New grant application for SMART Expertise funding is in process.
Start Year 2017
 
Description DILAN project 
Organisation Swansea University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Working on the DILAN project to develop new processes for improved laser manufacture and function. Subsequently working on continuation projects to secure additional funding with the same collaborative team. Use of the axio imager and spectrum analyser to inform process development.
Collaborator Contribution Working on the DILAN project to develop new processes for improved laser manufacture and function.
Impact New grant application for SMART Expertise funding is in process.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Hong Kong University of Science 
Organisation Hong Kong University of Science and Tech
Country Hong Kong 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution 1.55um QDs on Si & InP: Characterisation of devices. Use of axio imager and spectrum analyser equipment to characterise devices.
Collaborator Contribution 1.55um QDs on Si & InP: Provision of devices.
Impact Results are have been submitted as an abstract for an international conference.
Start Year 2018
 
Description MacV Project 
Organisation Compound Semiconductor Centre
PI Contribution Working on the production of VCSELs for miniaturised atomic clocks. Use of the axio imager, semiconductor parameter analyser & vector network analyser & lightwave analyser as well as the electro-optical characterisation & six axis positioning system to develop VCSELs.
Collaborator Contribution Working on the production of VCSELs for miniaturised atomic clocks.
Impact Outputs include further funding via the Innovate UK Kairos project.
Start Year 2017
 
Description MacV Project 
Organisation Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Working on the production of VCSELs for miniaturised atomic clocks. Use of the axio imager, semiconductor parameter analyser & vector network analyser & lightwave analyser as well as the electro-optical characterisation & six axis positioning system to develop VCSELs.
Collaborator Contribution Working on the production of VCSELs for miniaturised atomic clocks.
Impact Outputs include further funding via the Innovate UK Kairos project.
Start Year 2017
 
Description MacV Project 
Organisation National Physical Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Working on the production of VCSELs for miniaturised atomic clocks. Use of the axio imager, semiconductor parameter analyser & vector network analyser & lightwave analyser as well as the electro-optical characterisation & six axis positioning system to develop VCSELs.
Collaborator Contribution Working on the production of VCSELs for miniaturised atomic clocks.
Impact Outputs include further funding via the Innovate UK Kairos project.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Official clean room opening 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Equipment formed an integral component of the official opening of the Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) Clean Room facility. This was attended by about 40 industry collaborators and academics. The facilities were promoted and capability advertised. This promoted links between primarily members of the CS Cluster as well as other businesses and ICS.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description UK Universities and Science Minister Visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) were visited by UK Universities and Science Minister Chris Skidmore MP. The Minister viewed the equipment purchased under the underpinning equipment award and was informed of the essential capability enhancements with potential effects on the UK economy in the long term.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019