Modern science often requires sophisticated tools.
The materials science field is no exception.
Novel materials – like thin film devices and semiconductors – form the backbone of the industry today.
These materials must be grown using fabrication equipment.
Materials science graduate student Sinjan Majumder recently completed thesis-oriented research on such equipment.
His results could have a major impact within the department and the greater industry.
About his research
There are many layers to materials science.
Researchers must fabricate thin films of materials with desired properties for each device.
Then, they deposit the films onto slices of semiconductor material called wafers or other substrates.
Through modifying the film, researchers form integrated circuits – commonly known as computer chips.
Each step of the process is carried out inside of sophisticated vacuum chambers, free from contaminants.
Majumder studies the properties of these materials for research purposes in the lab.
“For this to work, they need to be grown in a clean environment free from impurities, mainly contaminants,“ Majumder said.
Several clean deposition systems are commercially available. But they are expensive and require high maintenance.
Majumder investigated alternative options for his department to fabricate novel materials. This led him to build inexpensive and user-friendly fabrication equipment.
Majumder recently defended the thesis covering his efforts successfully.
He completed his research under the guidance of his advisor, Dr. Dave Cornelison.
The new equipment will offer the department new, clean deposition techniques.
Majumder anticipates this will give them an edge through the quality of materials they can grow in their own facility.
“This tool will allow us to grow materials and study their properties,” Majumder said. “It may also allow us to develop and study materials with future applications in the industry.”