QUB teams up with international researchers to solve manufacturing problem
Researchers from CQMT have teamed up with international researchers to solve a manufacturing problem for electronic materials.
QUB will be part of a collaborative project worth £1 million between two US-based institutions and two counterparts in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, aimed at undertaking research that will develop new knowledge related to the manufacturing of electronic materials that will not form naturally, but that exhibit useful properties. The tri-partite project comprises of teams from University of Virginia (USA) led by Prof. Jon Ihlefeld, James Madison University (USA) led by Prof. Christina Rost, University College Dublin (Republic of Ireland) led by Prof. Brian Rodriguez, and Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland) led by Dr. Amit Kumar.
The material of study in this effort is hafnium oxide with a specific arrangement of atoms that results in a spontaneous electric charge separation that can be changed with application of a sufficient voltage. This functionality is useful for future generations of low power computing and computer memory. This particular hafnium oxide structure is challenging to prepare and often contains regions with other atomic arrangements that do not exhibit the useful spontaneous charge separation property. This project will aim to undertake fundamental research to provide the knowledge needed to directly and completely form the hafnium oxide structure of interest. This new process will overcome the challenges of structural purity that have hindered mass production of hafnium oxide-based computer memory devices and enable development of new computing elements that consume less power. Such low power devices are needed to reduce the overall energy consumption related to computing. This, in turn, will enable the development and manufacturing of new microelectronic technologies that could lead to new functionality and less energy consumption. The project is funded by National Science Foundation (USA), Science Foundation Ireland (Republic of Ireland) and the Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland) under the US-Ireland R&D Partnership programme.
This project brings together researchers from several disciplines, including materials science, electron and scanning probe microscopies, and physics. As part of the project, the team will also develop educational outreach materials for school students to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to show how science and engineering are global endeavours.