announces the first sales of its innovative new nanomaterial growth system,
the NanoGrowth-Catalyst, to the École Polytechnique of Montreal, and
the University of Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute.
These leading research organisations have chosen the NanoGrowth-Catalyst as
a platform for their work on materials including carbon nanotubes, silicon nanowires,
graphene and nanoparticles for semiconductor, optical device and other applications.
The growth system's multi-chamber design ensures the purest nanomaterial processing
conditions by continuously maintaining the substrate under vacuum, from the
deposition of catalysts to growth of materials.
One NanoGrowth-Catalyst system will be installed in Montreal, where it will
support a wide range of research groups from the École Polytechnique
and The University of Montreal studying topics including microelectronics, optoelectronics,
and thin film physics.
This system will be populated with every major processing facility available
including three processing chambers served by an automated handling system,
and growth techniques including CVD, PECVD, nanoparticle deposition, sputtering,
thermal annealing, and rapid thermal processing. It will also incorporate a
unique form of rapid thermal growth for nanomaterials developed to prevent the
agglomeration of catalyst particles. The configuration of the tool was specified
by Professor Patrick Desjardins, Director of the École Polytechnique's
Department of Engineering Physics.
One research group using the system will be the University of Montreal's chemistry
department, led by Professor Richard Martel. The group's interests are very
broad ranging, and include device-oriented programs looking at electronics,
optoelectronics, sensing technologies and energy conversion, and fundamental
research into the phenomena occurring at the interfaces of electroactive nanostructure
materials - through projects including the deposition of controlled-size nanoparticles
and passivation layers.
Dr Pierre Levesque of the University of Montreal's chemistry department comments:
"We were looking for a very capable system that could support wide-ranging
research, and which is easy to use. The very high-level software-controlled
automation of nanomaterial processing offered by NanoGrowth-Catalyst gives us
The Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) is a partner to Surrey NanoSystems
and has already been using an earlier version of the NanoGrowth system for around
four years to support its research into next-generation semiconductor and photonic
ATI is the first customer to receive the new NanoGrowth-Catalyst, and the
system's advanced processing resources are now starting to play a role in its
work. Facilities including the rapid infrared heating process and a water-cooled
chuck are helping ATI to grow ordered carbon nanotube (CNT) structures while
maintaining the substrate below 350 degrees C. Low temperature processing is
critical as CNTs are typically grown at around 700 degrees C - a level that
is incompatible with CMOS semiconductor fabrication. This pioneering semiconductor-related
work is currently the subject of a current ATI paper in the journal Carbon†.
"The top-down infrared heating technique provided by this tool allows
us to localise energy delivery very accurately", says Professor Ravi Silva,
Head of the Nano-Electronics Centre at the Advanced Technology Institute. "The
system provides unparalleled control of processing parameters, giving the required
flexibility to support research into nanoelectronic materials - including carbon
nanotubes, graphene and silicon nanowires - enabling us to overcome roadblocks
to ongoing semiconductor development."
"Some researchers are still relying on simple thermal furnaces to develop
nanomaterials", explains Ben Jensen of Surrey NanoSystems.
"The NanoGrowth system's comprehensive suite of deposition and processing
capabilities, plus end-to-end processing in vacuum, gives both researchers and
commercial developers precise and automated control over catalyst deposition
and material growth, to explore nanomaterial capabilities and turn ideas into
repeatable production processes."
In addition to these sales, Surrey NanoSystems has built a third system for
its in-house nanomaterials research effort, targeting materials for new forms
of conducting via structures and dielectric materials to support the continued
scaling of semiconductor devices. This system has three processing chambers,
automated handling, and includes every processing option available, providing
the best possible platform for research. Spare capacity on this tool will be
made available to universities and their researchers working in related fields.