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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M022854/1
Title: Pilot Manufacturing with Ultrafast Laser Plasma Implantation (ULPI)
Principal Investigator: Jose, Professor G
Other Investigators:
Jha, Professor A Steenson, Dr DP
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemical and Process Engineering
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 May 2015 Ends: 30 April 2017 Value (£): 1,203,352
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Manufacturing Machine & Plant Materials Processing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
28 Oct 2014 MAFuMa Interview Panel A Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form

The Ultrafast Laser Plasma Implantation (ULPI) equipment will provide a pilot level research and manufacturing capability for advanced functional materials and surfaces, between the atomic and microscopic scales, . For this Leeds patented technique, we use lasers with a pulse duration in the femtosecond range which is capable of producing high density and high kinetic energy plasma for implantation into a substrate, as opposed to methods to produce surface coatings. The demonstration of concepts, IP and specifications for the pilot ULPI equipment have been developed through ongoing research at Leeds, using equipment originally designed for coatings via femtosecond pulsed laser deposition (fs-PLD), which was RCUK funded (EP/D048672/1). The strategic equipment proposal is aimed at creating a world first small-scale manufacturing capability for ULPI, surpassing many conventional surface modification techniques such as ion-exchange. Furthermore, ULPI can open new doors in the manufacture of advanced materials, where previously no options were available, for example with integrated photonic circuits on glass with active and passive functionalities.

ULPI enables implantation of fs-laser generated plasma species into a variety of glass, semiconductor, metal and ceramic surfaces from custom ion/plasma source materials. These layers can be formed between 10's of nanometres to several micrometres in depth with well-defined sharp interfaces with substrates. This equipment will enable multi-functional hetero-epitaxial materials engineering, which will support not only integrated photonics, but also optoelectronics and electronic circuit fabrication. We are partnering with the Universities of Cambridge, York, Sheffield, Sheffield III-V centre, DSTL and 10 industries to achieve these aims.

At present there is no photonic equivalent to CMOS circuit fabrication for enabling complex multi-functional devices and circuits on a chip, which is the field of photonic integration's main limitation. Our background research in ULPI of inorganic glasses into Silicon/Silica substrates has created a new opportunity for research on ULPI based materials and device fabrication by incorporating multi-target fs-laser ablation induced plasma, which eliminates the need for individual processing chambers and offers a new route to novel manufacturing procedures for the fabrication of PICs combined with standard electronic components which is the main aim of the linked research project SeaMatics (EP/M015165/1).

A further aim of the pilot-ULPI facility is to scale up the fabrication for multi-functional materials with appropriate process monitoring and diagnostic tools to ensure excellent control over photonic, optoelectronic and electronic functions in-situ. While this equipment is for more advanced research into low TRL manufacturing projects, it is also valuable for the final stage TRLs of other more mature technologies which are on the verge of commercialisation.

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Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk