Open access at Semefab

Scotland’s Semefab is taking part in a £15 million project to become the UK’s primary centre for the design and development of micro machines and nano-systems.

Fife-based semiconductor technology company Semefab is set to become the UK’s primary centre for the design and development of micro machines and nano-systems, helping to drive major advances in medicine, drug discovery, communications and manufacturing.

Scottish Enterprise and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are supporting the company in a £15 million project that will enable them to offer companies open access to a fully integrated MNT capability, from product design and prototyping to product development, testing and qualification.

The company will specialise in the design and production of Micro Electro Mechanical Machines (MEMS), tiny sensors, switches and processors at the heart of microchip technology.

MEMS are currently used to route telephone calls across networks, control the deployment of airbags in cars, ABS breaking systems and the display of pictures across flatscreen televisions. Future applications will include the discovery of new drugs, controlling the stability of cars and turning mobile phones into navigation tools more effective than GPS.

Semefab will work with the Institute of System Level Integration (ISLI), in partnership with the University of Strathclyde and HeriotWattUniversity, to enhance its design capabilities while the purchasing of new MEMs processing equipment will enable the company to offer a comprehensive prototyping service over the next five years.

By offering open access to its design and fabrication facilities, the project aims to break down barriers for SMEs within the sector and help drive the development and exploitation of nanotechnology to build a prosperous, world class MNT network in the UK.

The project will ensure Scotland has a role to play within the DTI’s UK Micro and Nanotechnology network, which aims to ensure that the UK can capitalise on the growth opportunities within the global nanotechnology market, which is expected to exceed $100 billion over the next 10 years.

Over the next five years, 40 companies will be able to access Semefab’s facilities with 50 new products achieving prototyping, and the project is expected to contribute an additional £53 million to the Scottish economy.