The investigator team consisting of Prof Andrew Fleming, Dr Michael Ruppert and A/Prof Yuen Yong from the Precision Mechatronics Lab are celebrating a double success in receiving ARC funding in 2021. The team has been awarded a 2021 ARC Discovery Project titled¬†¬†“Subsurface Atomic Force Microscopy using Dual Probes” and a 2021 ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities to establish a “Femtoliter Liquid Deposition Facility”.

In their Discovery Project, the team will develop a new microscopy method for imaging nano-scale structures buried below the surface of a sample; for example, metal conductors in a computer processor chip. The current method for inspecting these devices involves cutting the chips to expose internal structures, which is destructive and cannot be used for mass manufacturing. As the feature size reduces, the demand for inspection methods that provide quality control is rapidly increasing. This proposal addresses the current technology gap and will speed up the development of new products and improve the yield of fabrication processes.

In their Linkage Project, the team will create a research capacity for direct printing of femtolitre volumes of functional liquids onto devices and surfaces. This project expects to enable the development of new sensing and electronic devices that require a novel fabrication step with delicate materials that cannot be deposited using existing processes. Expected outcomes include new chemical and biological sensors created through collaborative research between the partner institutions and researchers.