The University of Southampton

Southampton research facilities upgrade to accelerate UK 2D materials uptake

Published: 26 January 2021
Early development of large scale 2D materials in Novel and Compound Glass Facility

A new state-of-the-art material processing system in Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) will expand the UK's non-carbon 2D materials research.

The specialist equipment, located within the Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics, will upgrade its Novel and Compound Glass Facility, enabling unparalleled large-scale 2D material processing for the UK scientific community.

The investment is one of four key research facilities at the University of Southampton to benefit from over £700,000 assigned to Professor Mark Spearing in a Core Equipment Award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Professor Simon Coles has also received over £400,000 in the funding round for a significant upgrade to the Southampton-based UK National Crystallography Service.

The new system is designed for the growth and processing of 8-inch wafer scale 2D materials, thin-films and large aperture glasses at a fraction of the time required to date.

This facility will rapidly accelerate the development of 2D materials and allow for large scale films, compatible with industrial processes. This will revolutionise the uptake of the technology for semiconducting applications in the UK as for the first time it will provide wafer scale 2D materials beyond graphene to research institutions and industry.

Dr Ioannis Zeimpekis, co-Investigator and Senior Research Fellow at the ORC, says: "The tight integration of functionality in the new vacuum system will offer unprecedented quality 2D materials on wafers but also unique combinations of thin films and bulk glasses processing.

"This upgrade to our state-of-the-art infrastructure will provide a unique service for material manufacturing in the UK that will attract and train world-class scientists, while further expanding our collaborating community."

The expanded Zepler Institute facility will directly benefit a large number of major research programmes at the ORC such as National Hub in High Value Photonic Manufacturing, Fiberized Platforms for Integrated Nanosheet Materials and the Manufacturing and Application of Next Generation Chalcogenides.

The upgraded facilities are available to any interested external users from academia and industry through flexible research collaboration agreements and service contracts.

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