From rings to nanostructures

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Chemistry

Abstract

The modern world works because of the huge developments in electronics over the last fifty years. The many devices we take for granted - mobile phones, tablets, laptops - are all dependent on the ability of the electronics industry to make smaller and smaller components on which the performance of these devices depends. For fifty years the industry has been able to double the number of components per chip every two years; this astonishing performance is colloquially known as Moore's Law, named after Gordon Moore the founder of Intel.

This project is to use chemistry in a unique way to extend Moore's Law further in the future. The applicant's group has a remarkable control over the synthesis of a class of compounds known as heterometallic rings. These rings show huge promise in two areas related to Moore's Law. Firstly, they can be used in the fabrication of the types of nanostructures already used by the electronics industry. The electronics industry uses lithography to write nanostructures, and our ring materials can be used to create the pattern used for lithography. Through our chemistry we can meet many of the requirements of this industry already, in terms of the resolution of the pattern written, how smooth the edges of the lines of the pattern are, and, in particular, how resistant the material is to the conditions used to "etch" the underlying silicon substrate to make the nanostructures. Our materials out-perform all competitor materials in one or more of these parameters. The main task for the Fellowship will be to increase the speed with which our materials can be written so that they will be adopted by the electronics industry. The industry is hugely dependent on this speed, i.e. how many "chips" can be made every hour is a key factor in the profitability of companies such as Intel.

Secondly, we can use our rings as possible qubits for quantum information processing (QIP). QIP would be a new means of carrying out certain computational tasks (e.g. searching directories, breaking codes) and a qubit is the equivalent for QIP of a bit in classical computing. Our synthetic control allows us to bring together many qubits - which are magnetic - in one supramolecule, and during the Fellowship we will develop equivalent but non-magnetic hosts into which we can insert these multiple qubit supramolecules. This will allow us to make materials where individual qubits only speak to neighbouring qubits under our control, and hence we can begin to think about carrying out simple computational tasks. No other group could seriously propose this synthetic work.

Planned Impact

Greater detail is given in the Pathways to Impact document. Four distinct areas of impact are envisaged:

1. Economic
This work has a clear pathway to impact in the lithographic work. The initial results on which the proposal is based have been the subject of patents and has led to a spinout company Sci-Tron Ltd, which won the RSC Prize for Emerging Technologies in 2016.
We are presently carrying out an exploratory project with Intel and a further project has been submitted to Intel for more substantial funding. These projects do not involve any new chemistry, merely exploitation of results we have already achieved. We are also in confidential discussions with a local SME about scale-up of existing chemistry, and with a major international chemical company which supplies the electronics market. These discussions all focus on molecules we have previously made and on issues such as cost of process and quality control of product.

The new chemistry and new processes developed in WP2, WP3 and WP4 during this Fellowship will therefore be immediately fed through our existing spinout and use established contacts.

The potential economic impact of the research on QIP within WP1 is further off, but potentially profound. The fact that we have now established contacts with Intel could also be important in exploiting this area. However it is not realistic to expect function devices during the timescale of this Fellowship.

Hence, the nature of the project is such that different strands have potential economic impacts in the short and in the long term.

2. Academic
Some of this is covered in academic beneficaries. In addition: early access to results from the project will be via papers on preprint servers and a project webpage, which will be regularly updated.
We will organize small select workshops in Manchester in 2019 and 2021. We have previously organized such meetings and our intention is invite between 30 and 40 visitors. Our colleagues will fund themselves to attend such meetings as they enjoy such in-depth and informal meetings. We will apply to host one of these meetings at the Kavli Royal Society International Centre. REPW is also the Conference Chair for the 17th International Conference on Molecule-Based Magnets, which will take place in Manchester in September 2020. This will be an ideal opportunity for the PDRAs and PhD students involved in the project to network with world-leaders in this field.

3. Societal
The School of Chemistry is developing a YouTube Channel (Chemistry At Manchester Explains Research Achievements - CAMERA); it will be launched in June 2017 with around 15 videos. During this Fellowship we will continue this practice, and request funds to produce 12 such videos in support specifically of this project. We believe that such an approach is the best way of reaching a very large audience.
We will also develop an exhibition for a Royal Society Summer Exhibition, probably for 2020. This activity will be led by a Project Manager funded by the University of Manchester. We believe that our unique approach to nanofabrication should provide a very exciting experience. If we are successful we will then seek to use that exhibition at local museums (e.g. Manchester Science Festival, Manchester Museum of Science and Industry).

4. People
This is also covered in academic beneficaries. We have a long track record of training outstanding PhD students and post-doctoral researchers who go on to significant independent academic careers. These include professors at several UK universities (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull) and international universities (Windsor, Canada; IIT Bombay, India; Barcelona, Spain). This impact is achieved by involving the PhD students and PDRAs in conference presentations so that they get the credit for their work.

Publications

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Alotaibi R (2021) The Synthesis and Characterisation of a Molecular Sea-Serpent: Studies of a {Cr24 Cu7 } Chain. in Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)

 
Description We are now at the point of supplying an advanced resist material to a US end user which, if their internal tests are successful, will have a major impact in the electronics industry,

We are now in discussion with a potential manufacturer based on the outstanding results we have obtained for EUV lithography. The partner is discussing funding an 18-month feasibility study followed by a commercial agreement.
Exploitation Route The outcomes could be used to manufacture better electronic chips.
Sectors Chemicals,Electronics

 
Description We are now commercialisation resist materials developed partly in this project through a spin-out Sci-Tron. Sci-Tron is supplying materials for testing to two overseas companies at present and has just been awarded an Innovate UK grant to develop the business further. A second Innovate UK grant was awarded which is close to finishing. We are in discussion with overseas partners for testing and are in discussions with chemical manufacturers about a licensing the technology.
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Chemicals,Electronics,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic

 
Title Geue_Supplementary_Dataset_Heterocluster_Paper.zip 
Description Supplementary dataset in support of the manuscript "Formation and Characterisation of Polymetallic Rings in vacuo", including raw data of ion mobility mass spectrometry and mass spectrometry measurements. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://figshare.com/articles/dataset/Geue_Supplementary_Dataset_Heterocluster_Paper_zip/21751442
 
Title Geue_Supplementary_Dataset_Heterocluster_Paper.zip 
Description Supplementary dataset in support of the manuscript "Formation and Characterisation of Polymetallic Rings in vacuo", including raw data of ion mobility mass spectrometry and mass spectrometry measurements. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://figshare.com/articles/dataset/Geue_Supplementary_Dataset_Heterocluster_Paper_zip/21751442/1
 
Title Supplementary Dataset in support of Adduct Ions as Diagnostic Probes of Metallosupramolecular Complexes using Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry 
Description Raw data of ion mobility mass spectrometry and mass spectrometry measurements as well as the outputs from DFT calculations. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://figshare.com/articles/dataset/Supplementary_Dataset_in_support_of_Adduct_Ions_as_Diagnostic_...
 
Title Supplementary Dataset in support of Adduct Ions as Diagnostic Probes of Metallosupramolecular Complexes using Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry 
Description Raw data of ion mobility mass spectrometry and mass spectrometry measurements as well as the outputs from DFT calculations. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://figshare.com/articles/dataset/Supplementary_Dataset_in_support_of_Adduct_Ions_as_Diagnostic_...
 
Title Supplementary Dataset in support of Adduct Ions as Diagnostic Probes of Metallosupramolecular Complexes using Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry 
Description Raw data of ion mobility mass spectrometry and mass spectrometry measurements as well as the outputs from DFT calculations. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://figshare.com/articles/dataset/Supplementary_Dataset_in_support_of_Adduct_Ions_as_Diagnostic_...
 
Title RESIST COMPOSITION 
Description The present invention relates to resist compositons, in particular to photoresists that can be used in photolithography, especially in the fabrication of integrated circuits and derivative products. The resist compositions of the invention include an anti-scattering component which has a significant amount of empty space, and thus fewer scattering centers, such that radiation-scattering events are more limited during exposure. Such anti-scattering effects can lead to improved resolutions by reducing the usual proximity effects associated with lithographic techniques, allowing the production of smaller, higher resolution microchips. Furthermore, certain embodiments involve anti-scattering components which are directly linked to the resist components, which can improve the overall lithographic chemistry to provide benefits both in terms of resolution and resist sensitivity. 
IP Reference WO2017055850 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2017
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact On-going discussion with potential commercial partner to fund an 18-month feasibility study followed by a commercial agreement.
 
Company Name Sci-Tron 
Description A company that makes materials for nano-fabrication. 
Year Established 2015 
Impact None yet