Enabling nanoscience and nanotechnology
Blue and violet laser diode
As a global leader in advanced instrumentation, Oxford Instruments has a broad range of capabilities which provide the tools, processes and solutions needed to advance fundamental nanoscience research and its transfer into commercial nanotechnology applications. With a unique set of technologies to enable the manipulation and observation of matter at the smallest scales, Oxford Instruments offers solutions for the fabrication and characterisation of nanoscale materials, structures and devices, and environments in which to perform fundamental nanoscience.
The first technology business to be spun out from Oxford University over 40 years ago, Oxford Instruments today employs over 1,200 people, operating globally, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Our objective is to be the leading provider of new-generation tools and systems for the Physical Science and Bioscience sectors.
This involves the combination of core technolgies in areas such as lowtemperature and high magnetic field environments, X-ray, electron and opticalbased metrology, advanced growth, deposition and etching. Our products, expertise, and ideas are part of the next generation of telecommunications, energy products, environmental measures, security devices, drug discovery and medical advances.
At the centre of our business is the development of solutions to meet our customers? needs by providing nanotools for the creation of unique environments, characterisation, and manipulation of matter at the smallest scales. Our strategy focuses on supplying tools and systems across fundamental nanoscience research, through commercial development, to exploitation in future nanotechnology products.
- Advanced plasma etching process solutions are enabling new structures in nanophotonic crystals, microfl uidics and electronic devices. Materials deposition and encapsulation is offered by plasmaenhanced deposition techniques. These are complemented by ion beam deposition and etch process tools which widen the materials and applications range.
- Atomic layer deposition (ALD) offers ultrathin and conformal coatings down to a few atomic layer thicknesses. Thinner dielectric layers and gate structures by ALD are further reducing size scales in commercial semiconductors. ALD enables a new level of control in nanoengineering, such as the functionalisation of surfaces and three-dimensional structures deployed in various applications.
- Molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) enables nanometre scale engineering of advanced semiconductor structures, such as Gallium Arsenide power amplifier chips for mobile devices, with atomic layer control of growth. New devices such as blue and violet laser diodes and quantum cascade lasers are being grown using Oxford Instruments? MBE equipment.
- Nanotube and nanowire growth processes are being provided in controllable, repeatable recipe-driven systems. Such systems will enable the viable fabrication of devices such as new solar cell types, field emission displays and sensors.
Nisample exhibiting a change in grain structure as a result of mechanical stress
After creating nanostructures, the ability to characterise the morphology, composition and crystal structure is a key requirement. As structures and devices progress from research to commercialisation, such ability becomes essential in quality control and environmental compliance.
- Elemental analysis and imaging is provided by our electron and X-ray technologies. Electron microscopy is a fundamental tool in nanotechnology, but by itself gives only structural information. Oxford Instruments provides the nanotechnologist with the tools required to complement these images with the distribution of composition, and the size and nature of crystal structure in nanomaterials. These techniques are being used to understand the fundamentals of nanotube and nanostructure growth mechanisms.
- The scope to deposit and grow very thin films requires the ability to characterise composition, uniformity and thickness at increasingly small scales. Through our dual capabilities in microanalysis and X-ray fl uorescence spectrometry, these measurements may be performed either within electron microscopes, or in ambient conditions.
- Particle detection and compositional analysis provides identification of particles and defects in such diverse applications as forensic science, performance engine wear and semiconductor failure analysis. Our expertise in developing such market-led solutions gives us a strong position in applying these techniques to nanotechnology.
Oxford Instruments? solutions provide researchers with the ability to control environments for the exploration of fundamental nanoscience, allowing nanoscale and quantum effects to become observable by the application of high magnetic fields and very low temperatures.
- High magnetic fields enable the characterisation of molecular structures by Solid State and Solution NMR. Our commercial and technical leadership in the design and manufacture of superconducting wire provides the foundation of our leading position in high field magnets.
- Dilution refrigerators and He3 systems provide ultra-low temperature environments down to 10 mK, removing thermal and electronic noise to allow fundamental physical mechanisms to be observed. By removing the need for liquid helium and nitrogen, our Cryofree® technologies offer the opportunity to use ultra-low temperatures in viable commercial applications. Integrated systems and customised platforms bring together our core technologies in high magnetic fields and ultra-low temperatures, to reveal the mechanisms underpinning applications such as quantum computing, spintronics and singleelectron devices.
- Spectroscopy platforms enable optical microscopy and spectroscopic measurements from ultra violet, through visible to infrared, across wide temperature and magnetic field ranges.
The convergence of traditional scientific disciplines from the physical and life sciences is one of the most exciting aspects of nanotechnology, with the potential to revolutionise life science, healthcare and pharmaceutical markets. By combining our core capabilities with new strategic partnerships, Oxford Instruments is developing the next generation of life science tools.
- Dynamic Nuclear Polarisation systems provide ultra high NMR sensitivity enhancement for drug discovery and general life science research.
- Research in antibody-targeted magnetotherapy uses magnetic nanoparticles targeted to specific cancer cells.
- Micro and nano-scale channels are etched in quartz, silicon and other materials to create microfl uidic and labon- a-chip devices for life science research.
Partnership and collaboration
Oxford Instruments Innovation offers companies, institutions, researchers and entrepreneurs a unique opportunity for collaboration in new ventures.
Our objective is to support new ideas and develop partnerships to rapidly bring them to market. Through collaborations, strategic funding, incubation or providing routes to market, we are able to provide a unique environment to develop nanotechnology concepts into commercial reality.
Contact: Oxford Instruments Innovation
Old Station Way
OX29 4TL, UK
Tel: +44 1865 881437