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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S024441/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing
Principal Investigator: Smowton, Professor PM
Other Investigators:
Missous, Professor M Buckle, Dr PD Elgaid, Professor K
Beggs, Dr DM Liu, Professor H Wang, Professor T
Mokkapati, Professor S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Airbus Operations Limited Compound Semiconductor App. Catapult Compound Semiconductor Centre
Hitachi Ltd Huawei Group IconicRF Ltd
IQE (Europe) Ltd Linwave Technology Limited Lumentum
Lumerical Inc. LUX-TSI National instruments
National Physical Laboratory Newport Wafer Fab Limited Oxford Instruments Plc
Photon Design Ltd Plextek pureLiFi Ltd
Seagate Technology SPTS Technologies Stratium
The Rockley Group UK Toshiba
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: Cardiff University
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 July 2019 Ends: 31 December 2027 Value (£): 6,870,689
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Electronic Devices & Subsys. Manufacturing Machine & Plant
Optoelect. Devices & Circuits
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Nov 2018 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training Interview Panel I – November 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
TOPIC: "Semiconductors" are often synonymous with "Silicon Chips". After all Silicon supported computing technologies in the 20th century. But Silicon is reaching fundamental limits and already many of the technologies we now take for granted are only possible because of Compound Semiconductors (CS). These technologies include The Internet, Smart Phones, GPS and Energy efficient LED lighting!

CSs are also at the heart of most of the new technologies expected in the next few years including 5G wireless, ultra-high speed optical fibre connectivity, LIDAR for autonomous vehicles, high voltage switching for electric vehicles, the IoT and high capacity data storage.

To date CSs are made in relatively small quantities using fairly bespoke manufacturing and manufacturers have had to put together functions by assembling discrete devices. But this is expensive and for many of the new applications integration is needed along the lines of the Silicon Integrated Chip.

CDT research will involve: the science of large scale CS manufacturing (e.g. materials combinations to minimise wafer bow, new fabrication processes for non-flat surfaces); manufacturing integrated CS on Silicon and in applying the manufacturing approaches of Silicon to CS. The latter includes using generic processes and generic building blocks and applying statistical process control. By applying these approaches students will address and invent new ways to exploit the highly advantageous electronic, magnetic, optical and power handling properties of CSs and generate novel integrated functionality for sensing, data processing and communication.

NEED: This CDT is a critical part of the strategic development of a CS Cluster supporting activity throughout the UK. It is part of the development of a wider training portfolio including apprenticeships and CPD activities, to train and upskill the CS workforce.

Evidence of the critical need for a CDT, has been identified in a survey and analysis conducted by UK Electronics Skills Foundation highlighting the specific skills required in this rapidly growing high technology industrial sector.

"We are looking for PhD level skills plus industry experience. We don't have the time to train up new staff."

"There are no 'perfect employees' for CS companies, as this is effectively a new area. Staff, including those with PhDs, either have silicon skills and need CS-specific training, or have CS skills and need training in volume tools and processes, either in the cleanroom or in packaging." - quotes from CS Skills Survey - Report UKESF July 2018.

We have worked with the CSA Catapult utilising the skills need they have identified as well as companies across the spectrum of CS activities and are confident of the absorptive capacity: the expected PhD level jobs increase for the existing cluster companies alone would employ all the students and the CDT will support many more companies and academic institutions.

APPROACH: a 1+3 programme where Year 1 is based in Cardiff, with provision via taught lectures using university approved level 7 modules and transferable skills training, hands on and in-depth practical training and workshop material supplied by University and Industry Partner staff.

A dedicated nursery clean room to allow rapid practical progress, learning from peer group activity and then an industry facing environment with co-location with industry staff and manufacturing scale equipment, where they will learn the future CS manufacturing skills. This will maximise cross fertilisation of ideas, techniques and approach and maximise the potential for exploitation.

Y2-Y4 consist of an in depth PhD project, co-created with industry and hosted at one of the 4 universities, and specialised whole cohort training and events, including communication, responsible innovation, entrepreneurship, co-innovation techniques and innovative outreach.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.cf.ac.uk