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The synthesis and photolysis of photoacid generators used in polymer resists for making silicon chips

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M J Plater
    Dr W T A Harrison
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Polymer resists are used as thin films in the manufacture of silicon chips. They are spin coated onto a silicon wafer and irradiated through a pattern in a mask. In the resist is a light sensitive compound such as a Crivello salt which is decomposed by the light source. In a development step acid catalyses the modification of the polymer resist to make it more soluble in base, a positive resist, so it can be dissolved leaving a pattern. Etching can then be applied in the exposed regions but is prevented in the areas still coated with the resist. The procedure is repeated many times to create a silicon chip. Moore’s Law states that the transistor density increases many times per year so the technology is dynamic and constantly improving.

The focus of this project is the synthesis and photochemical fragmentation of new photoacid generators known as a PAG. There are numerous sub-types that can be chosen for study and many patents in the field. The purpose of photochemical fragmentation is to study the products which arise such as strong acids that might be used to modify a polymer resist.

The primary skill required is organic synthesis to make these compounds. New compounds can be characterised by spectroscopic methods.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Chemistry or chemistry as a main component.

It is essential that the successful applicant has a background in Organic synthesis and spectroscopy along with knowledge of organic, inorganic, physical, nmr spectroscopy.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV
• Details of 2 academic referees

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr J Plater ([Email Address Removed]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of chemistry. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THESE PROJECTS. Applicants should also be aware that Additional Research Costs of £5,000 per annum are required (above Tuition Fees and Living Expenses) for consumables.

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