The James Watt nanofabrication Centre (JWNC) is a 1200m2 cleanroom at the University of Glasgow which houses over £35M of state-of-the-art fabrication and metrology equipment. It is one of the leading centres of research and international collaboration in micro and nanofabrication technologies undertaking fundamental, applied and commercial research, and small industrial prototyping and production runs.
The Centre is run as a semi-industrial operation with 26 technicians, 3 PhD-qualified Research Technologists, an Executive Management team and an annual capital equipment budget to ensure a world class tool set. Kelvin Nanotechnology, the company who provide commercial access to the JWNC, has an additional 20 staff.
The JWNC is differentiated from most global-leading facilities by the diversity of its capabilities which covers a range of materials and processes for manufacturing electronic, optoelectronic, and bio-compatible devices, and its’ significant portfolio of developed process modules and background IP.
As a result, the JWNC is in a unique position to enable research and development in the integrated systems required for the 21st century applications. Such systems bring together electronic, photonic and micro-mechanical functionality, and require integrating heterogeneous materials and devices into complex products.
The thrust of the JWNC’s research is focused on developing the tools, processes, IP and know-how for heterogeneous integration and has themes in:
- Optoelectronics, including applications in QT, communications and healthcare
- Superconducting devices, including QT and single photon detection
- High-speed and high-power transistors for driving the electronics revolution
Specific application areas include environmental and biological sensing; imaging and ranging; internet, communication and data storage; space and quantum technologies
The Centre is currently collaborating with 37 Universities and Research institutions worldwide underpinning a grant portfolio of £53M at the University of Glasgow and £65M at other institutions. This includes the UK National Quantum Technology Programme where it is fabricating components for all four Hubs.
Commercially, the centre has supported the product development and production activities of 170 companies from 23 countries in the last 3 years via Kelvin Nanotechnology, our industrial interface company.
The University of Glasgow has been a world leader in micro and nanofabrication techniques for over 45 years supporting ground breaking research in photonics, high speed and high-power electronics, nano surface texturing and quantum technologies. The JWNC was created in 2005 to bring together the micro and nanofabrication equipment and lab facilities across the University creating a single facility with a central investment and expansion plan, and accelerating innovation by increasing interaction between disciplines with nanofabrication interest and research expertise.
The centre has doubled in size since opening and has pioneered the miniaturisation of electronics, photonics and now quantum circuits which are used worldwide for communications, artificial intelligence, sensing and imaging, aerospace, automotive and defence and healthcare.
As an example of innovation and leadership in nanofabrication, the University constructed its first electron beam lithography system in 1978 by converting a SEM, then took delivery of the first commercial electron beam lithography tool in any UK university in 1990. It has pioneered photonic integration using for example quantum well intermixing. It has also been a world leader in the implementation of plasma processing at the atomic scale including the integration of metrology.