Developed in collaboration with the Nobel Prize-winning graphene group at Manchester University, UK.
Headed by Prof. Andre Geim, the graphene group at the University of Manchester received their first soft-etching system from Moorfield when they started their 2D materials research over 10 years ago. Since then, the system has become a critical part of all experimental work.
Moorfield soft-etching technology is optimised for providing the fine control required for substrate and device preparation in graphene and 2D materials research:
- Substrate preparation for mechanical exfoliation: When preparing 2D material ‘flakes’ via mechanical exfoliation (also known as the sticky-tape method), the nature of the substrate surface is crucial. Soft-etching tools are now being used to obtain the topological and chemical substrate surface properties necessary for producing large flake areas.
- 2D material patterning: Given their thinness, 2D materials are fragile and require finely-controlled etching conditions for device fabrication. Soft-etching technology provides this control and also allows for patterning without cross-linking common mask photoresists (e.g., PMMA).
- Defect engineering: A key research theme for graphene science is defect engineering. Through controlled low plasma-powers, soft-etching technology is being used for creating point defects in lattices for implementing control over this aspect of the material. Fine control is necessary for reproducible results and to avoid uncontrolled material destruction.
Moorfield technology is unique and offers unmatched performance for these applications. In recognition of this, we have recently installed 3 soft-etching systems into the new National Graphene Institute in the UK. We can now offer a dedicated nanoETCH system, incorporate the technology into our MiniLab tools, or provide components and advice for their retrofitting.