University of Glasgow James Watt Nanofabrication Centre officially opened

Microelectronics International

ISSN: 1356-5362

Article publication date: 31 July 2007



(2007), "University of Glasgow James Watt Nanofabrication Centre officially opened", Microelectronics International, Vol. 24 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

University of Glasgow James Watt Nanofabrication Centre officially opened

University of Glasgow James Watt Nanofabrication Centre officially opened

Lord Broers officially opened the new James Watt Nanofabrication Centre at Glasgow University.

The new facility within Glasgow University, centred on the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, will be the focus of interdisciplinary research at the nanometre scale and brings together many different research groups working in engineering and the physical and life sciences.

The Centre has comprehensive micro and nanofabrication facilities housed within 750m2 of cleanroom space including one of the most advanced large area high-resolution electron beam lithography tools in the world. Glasgow University has been engaged in micro and nanofabrication for more than thirty years and has a wealth of accumulated expertise in core fabrication technologies.

The Centre opens in the same week as multi-million pound funding for a major nanoelectronics research project at the University of Glasgow was announced.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funding, worth over £4m, is a huge boost to the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre.

As world leaders in compound semiconductor transistor technology, five teams from the University of Glasgow will collaborate in a £4m research project, led by Professor Iain Thayne of the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, to develop transistor technologies required for future generations of integrated circuits. It is anticipated that the work will have a major impact in key areas of electronics including microprocessors for computers, but will also be used more widely in numerous medical, safety, imaging and communications applications.


The $200 billion global semiconductor industry produces integrated circuits for all modern electronic appliances including mobile phones, cars, medical diagnostic equipment and systems to control the safe operation of factories and public transportation and the powering the internet.

In short, they are vital to modern life in the twenty-first century. Since, the invention of the transistor in 1957, manufacturers such as AMD, Intel, IBM and Freescale have been successful in developing ever more complex integrated circuits by making the individual transistors smaller and finding ways to combine more of them together on a single chip. The result has been a regular increase in the computational and processing capability of integrated circuits by doubling the number of transistors in each circuit every 2-3 years.

Currently, the most advanced integrated circuits contain hundreds of millions of transistors, each of which is 1/10,000 of the diameter of a human hair in size. Until now, this increase in capability has resulted from making smaller silicon-based transistors, however fundamental limits imposed by the properties of silicon are now being reached so that alternative materials need to be considered. In the view of all the major manufacturers, a strong candidate to enable continued performance improvements for the industry are compound semiconductors (Figure 4).

Figure 4 Lord Broers (foreground) accompanied by University Principal Sir Muir Russell at the opening of the new James Watt Nanofabrication Centre

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