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UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

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Electronic Materials and Devices

Improvements in electronic materials and the development of ever-more advanced device design and fabrication strategies lie at the heart of the Information Revolution.


Overview

Much of the EMD Group research is driven by the following fundamental technological questions:

  • How can the spectacular performance of Si integrated circuits be sustained as fundamental physical limitations arise?
  • What alternative electronic device technologies can achieve performance specifications which exceed the capabilities of Si?
  • There is an increasing need to integrate electronics and semiconductor-based sensor technology in extreme environments where high temperatures or high radiation levels may be encountered, how can we provide devices for this?
  • How can quantum phenomena be harnessed in micro- and nano-electronic devices to yield new technologies, such as quantum computers and biotechnology? 

Since the gate length of today’s silicon MOS devices are below 10 nm, addressing these issues necessarily requires expertise in all aspects of Nanotechnology – from nanofabrication using photon, ion and electron beams to self-assembly of organic molecular monolayers, to understanding and harnessing quantum mechanical behaviour present in such nanoscale devices.


 

People

Group Members

Visiting Academics

 

  • Prof Philippe Bergonzo (Director of Research, CEA-LIST; Seki Diamond Systems Inc.)
  • Prof A Ramirez (Bell Labs, Murray Hill)
  • Prof S Parkin (IBM Almaden)
  • Prof Glenn Tyrrell (former CEO, Applied Scintillation Technologies Ltd)
  • Prof Stuart Holmes

 

 

 

Biographies of group members

Dr Neil Curson

Dr Curson is the UCL Director of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Characterisation of Materials, a Senior Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the London Centre for Nanotechnology and a visiting Senior Lecturer at the University of Surrey. His research interests are centred around understanding and controlling the behaviour of atoms and molecules at surfaces and the development and deployment of new scanning probe lithography techniques, towards fabrication of nanoscale electronic devices and atomic-scale components for quantum information processing. Topics of current interest include microscopy, spectroscopy and optical characterisation of singe dopants and dopant nanostructures in Group IV semiconductors, surface chemistry of dopant precursors, and surface modification of organic single crystals

Prof Richard Jackman

Professor Jackman heads UCL’s Diamond Electronics team whose laboratories are within the London Centre for Nanotechnology. Diamond is a wide-band gap semiconductor with unrivaled carrier transport properties, can sustain very high breakdown fields, is resilient to radiation and tolerant to a wide range of extreme environments.  This leads to its potential use within the diverse areas such as high frequency electronics; high power electronics; ‘radiation hard’ electronics; high temperature electronics; Corrosion resistant electronics; biocompatible electronics; space-bound electronics; radiation detectors; biosensors; electrochemical sensors; quantum computing.

 

Prof Anthony Kenyon

Prof Kenyon’s research interests focus mainly on nanostructured materials and devices and their applications in electronics and photonics. Particular areas of interest include: Resistive switching/ RRAM; Resistive switching in silicon oxides; Si-based RRAM; Neuromorphic applications of RRAM devices; Light-triggered resistance switching; Resistive switching in polymer nanofibers; Memristors.  Other topics of interest include Self-assembled arrays of metallic nanoparticles for photonics, electronics and plasmonics, silicon photonics and rare-earth doped photonic materials.

 

Dr Hidekazu Kurebayashi

Dr Kurebayashi’s Research areas of interest include: Spin transport; Spin excitation by the spin-orbit interaction; Developing low-power spin memory devices; Magnonics.

 

Dr Arnold McKinley

Dr McKinley’s research areas of interest include: Nano-ring structures on Solar Cells for light capture; Ring antennas for use in THz communications; issues of Renewable Energy resources, particularly integration of solar photo-voltaics onto the electrical grid.  Nano-scaled rings can be used in the microwave region for meta-materials and in the microwave, terahertz (THz), and infrared regions for communications. The THz band is expected to open during the next five years, and these rings structures will make excellent antennas. I am currently looking for a material to use in fabricating nano-rings to enhance light capture in solar cells.

 

Prof John Morton

Prof Morton's research takes spins of electrons and nuclei in a range of nano-scale materials and devices to develop a new generation of quantum technologies, including quantum sensors, quantum memories, and quantum computers.

 

Dr Ioannis Papakonstantinou

Dr Papakonstantinou’s research interests include: Smart, “thermochromic” windows; Nanophotonics for solar cells; Luminescent Solar Concentrators; Biomedical Devices; Visible Light Communications; Micro- nanofabrication

 

Dr Ed Romans

Dr Roman's research areas include i) Pulsed laser deposition of high temperature superconductor thin films and new oxide materials for nanoscale devices.

 

Prof Paul Warburton

Prof Warburton works on the physics and applications of superconductor and semiconductor nanodevices. He has a specific focus on quantum annealing using superconducting devices, and on high-mobility oxide interfaces.

In addition, the LCN involves over 200  full-time staff across three central London sites: Bloomsbury (UCL), South Kensington (Imperial College) and The Strand (King's College London). Academic, research and support staff contribute their skills across the LCN’s four main themes.


Research Themes

EMD staff are key within the LCN, with its four main themes, which help the Centre deliver its science and technology mission:

Theory and Modelling

Leading techniques and technologies to simulate visualize and design nano-scale structures and devices in the biological and non-biological areas; first principles atomic/molecular level theory, systems modelling and other powerful computational tools

Nano-characterisation

The full range of optical, electron, ion and scan-probe based technologies required to image and understand nanostructures in both the biological and non-biological materials including silicon, III-V, organics and diamond, and unconventional substrates such as plastic and metal foils.

Nano-fabrication

Large clean room space with the ability to produce nano-materials and devices using various biological and non-biological materials; silicon, III-V fabrication and unconventional fabrication – e.g. organics and diamond

Systems

The range of techniques and technologies required to translate nanotechnology into workable products for industry; hybridisation and integration techniques, error handling and re-routing algorithms, methods to connect bio- and non-bio systems.

 


Research Projects

EMD has a flourishing & diverse portfolio of areas technological excellence including:

  • Quantum annealing using superconducting qubits 
  • Diamond Electronics - exploring the use of this wide-band gap semiconductor for nano-electronics, power electronics, and electronics that must withstand high temperatures and/or high radiation levels, including the use of diamond sensors. 
  • Resistive switching materials and devices for novel memory systems and computation 
  • Neuromorphic devices and circuits – devices that perform computation in ways inspired by the brain, and the use of nano-materials such diamond for the formation of living cellular neural networks. 
  • Quantum control of spins in molecular materials and silicon devices. 
  • Building devices atom by atom for applications in nanoelectronics and quantum information processing. 
  • Exploration of new quantum effects in low dimensional semiconductor systems and devices fabricated using advanced growth techniques.

Our future strategy includes the following:

  • Development and exploitation of new suite of cleanroom tools in the LCN (including 100keV EBL, direct write optical lithography and dedicated silicon furnace stack) aimed for the fabrication of quantum devices 
  • Investigation of new materials and strategies for semiconducting, superconducting and magnetic devices, switches, Josephson junctions, and memories.
  • Exploration of new device structures in diamond, including nanowires which support ballistic transport for nanoelectronics, power devices and plasmonics.. 
  • Neuromorphic devices for non-von Neumann computing. 
  • Development of quantum technologies including quantum memories, sensors, and processors in silicon devices, and diamond quantum device neural interfaces for the study of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Exploration of new quantised electron transport phenomena and fractional charges when electrons are free to adopt a minimum energy configuration including Many Body Localization.
      

 


Collaboration

The EMD plays a key role in the London Centre for Nanotechnology, a joint UCL – Imperial College collaboration with over £31M of infrastructure funding; this has recently been supplemented by an investment in Quantum Technology, which within the LCN at UCL alone amounts to more than £13M. The UCL Quantum Science & Technology Institute (UCLQ), Directed from within the EMD group, inaugurated in May 2014, serves to coordinate and support research across the university across a range of departments and disciplines, helping to develop this fast-advancing field of research.  This has led to collaboration with scientists and engineers from an increasingly diverse range of disciplines, including not only physicists and materials scientists, but also those from the Life Sciences.

The group is also very active within the UCL Centre for Micro-Biochemical Engineering and is co-investigating development programmes to fundamentally change many biopharmaceutical processes. The interaction of electronics with cellular materials is facilitated through the links with the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (ICH) which, together with its clinical partner Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH), forms the largest concentration of children's health research in Europe.

Industrial engagement is strong, for example, with BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Photonis as examples. Activities are also associated with international institutes, such as for the LHC at CERN, Geneva and the JET Fusion facility in Oxfordshire. Many current projects being pursued are pan-Europeam being supported by the EC’s Horizon 2020 programme. This includes activities in Power Electronics and the important emergent technology known as ‘mem-ristors’