National Importance and Context

EPSRC Instructions

A clear explanation of the existing UK and international landscape, in terms of the available facilities and equipment, and how this will address a genuine UK need. The Statement of Need should address existing capabilities of equipment and access to it and how this capability/facility is a vital part of the landscape or how a new investment would enhance the landscape if none exist in this area.
How would this Statement of Need deliver against EPSRC published balancing the portfolio and strategic priorities should also be addressed.
Reference should be made to any relevant roadmaps, for example the EPSRC equipment roadmaps:
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Facilities that exist already to support the community are provided nationally and internationally. The UK National Ion Beam Centre (UKNIBC) has attracted substantial (>£20M) capital funding from EPSRC (GR/M94434, GR/R50097, GR/R88809, EP/C009592, EP/D032210, EP/E017266, EP/I034106, EP/I036516, EP/L025981, EP/M028283, EP/P001440, EP/N015215, EP/V034863, EP/T01931X) over the past 20 years to establish and maintain a multi user facility for the UK academic and industrial communities.

Surrey University Ion Beam Centre:
  • Equipment
    • 2keV – 4MeV implantation from 2 implanters with up to 40x40cm irradiation area; heated (700C) and cooled (LHe) implantation stages available; provides 1% uniformity and 1% absolute dose control for implants;
    • 2 single ion implanters with 20nm resolution (95-100% detection capability);
    • 2 FIBs for sample preparation;
    • 2MV tandem accelerator with, external (in-air) beam, milli and sub micron focussed beams, for ion beam analysis (PIXE, RBS, NRA, MeV SIMS, DAPNe etc.) providing elemental and molecular mapping and identification.
  • Accessibility – via EPSRC grants or commercially
  • ISO9001 certified

Huddersfield University:
  • Equipment
    • 350kV implanter with in situ Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), with additional 20keV dual beam capability;
    • 250kV accelerator for Medium Energy Ion Scattering (MEIS) for high resolution elemental depth profiling and damage characterisation.
  • Accessibility – internal use on EPSRC and related projects or commercially.

The University of Manchester Dalton Cumbrian Facility:
  • Equipment
    • 5MV high current tandem accelerator with TORVIS and SNICS sources;
    • self-contained Foss Therapy 60Co gamma irradiator;
    • a second 2.5MV single ended accelerator will provide a dual beam irradiation facility with a high dose irradiation hutch and high temperature and pressure autoclave system for in situ radiolysis experiments.
  • Accessibility – internal use on EPSRC and related projects or commercially.

Elsewhere in the UK, Durham University also has a 1.7MeV tandem accelerator, mostly used for the analysis of polymers. It is used on internal and related projects, some of which are funded by EPSRC.
Ion Beam Services (MidLothian) provide commercial semiconductor processing for batch ion implantation facilities and PIII for surface doping and treatment.
Several other facilities exist around Europe, the USA, Japan, Australia, China, India, Africa, New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina with varying capability. It is not possible to include a full listing in this document.
The Surrey Ion Beam Centre is part of a consortium of 18 European Accelerator laboratories (RADIATE) providing users with high quality ion beam facilities. This availability has been the envy of much of the rest of the world.

There are currently 5 mechanisms by which users can gain access to the facilities at the UKNIBC:
  • Commercial. The user pays for usage through the normal commercial route of each facility - each facility operates its own independent charging scheme for this.
  • New EPSRC Application. UKNIBC facilities can be requested as part of a conventional EPSRC grant application. If the grant is awarded access will be automatically provided by the UKNIBC. To apply for time on a grant the proposer must first obtain a Technical Assessment from the UKNIBC which is uploaded on the JeS system with the case for support. This provides both a justification of the resources requested as well as an assurance that the work requested is feasible.
  • EPSRC Students. EPSRC funded students can access the UKNIBC in their own right. In this case the student's supervisor must provide input on the Technical Assessment form to confirm that the project is the student's and will benefit from the training provided and will further his/her PhD work.
  • Pump Priming. 10% of UKNIBC time is earmarked for new projects that have no current EPSRC support. It is expected that a limited amount of pump priming time will be able to generate results which can be used in new bids for EPSRC funding. The Technical Assessment is used here to ensure scientific merit is supported.
  • For EU (non-UK) users it is possible, currently, to apply for time through the RADIATE project. Details on how to do this are obtained on the RADIATE web site.

The community, generally, needs fast access to the facilities described here and is very supportive of the pump priming and student training aspects of the current system and would like to see more of this in the future.

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