Project award to UK Compound Semiconductor high resolution Magneto-imaging consortium

Cardiff, 14 December 2017. The Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC) is pleased to announce the award of the project support from Innovate UK’s Quantum Technology programme. Project ‘QBARKA’ will focus on the development of a new technique to enable ultra-high resolution magneto-imaging of metallic microstructure by exploiting the Barkhausen effect in ferromagnetic materials.

Magnetic Barkhausen Noise (BHN) measurements are currently used in non-destructive inspection of stress/strain and microstructures in a range of materials. BHN occurs when a magnetic field is applied to a ferromagnetic material, and is generated by the sudden irreversible motion of magnetic domain walls as they are released from microstructural obstacles such as dislocations and grain boundaries. BHN can provide high resolution microstructure related information, but current detection techniques used do not have the resolution (both spatial and magnetic), to extract the wealth of data available.

The project will leverage core technology based on compound semiconductor Quantum Well Hall Effect (QWHE) magnetic sensing technology developed by Advanced Hall Sensors Ltd in Manchester, UK. Professor Mohamed Missous, inventor of the technology commented ‘These sensors have several advantages over incumbent technology: miniaturised size, sensitivities independent of frequency and a very wide dynamic range. The technology offers a novel solution to enable a new paradigm in high resolution microstructural analysis of materials’.

Wyn Meredith, Director of CSC commented ‘Magnetic field sensors are key enabling technologies for a wide range of metrology, imaging, industrial and automotive sensing applications where demand is proliferating rapidly. The consortium (AHS, CSC, Microsemi and TWI) has been constructed to address both the key markets and the development and manufacturing supply chain.’ 

About the Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC)

The Compound Semiconductor Centre was founded in 2015 as a Joint Venture between Cardiff University and IQE Plc, with the mission of accelerating commercialisation of Compound Semiconductor Materials and Device Research, and realising a tangible economic return on the UK investment in this key area of enabling technology. Based in Cardiff, the Centre is a vital milestone towards developing a World-class Compound Semiconductor cluster in South Wales.

About Advanced Hall Sensors (AHS)

Advanced Hall Sensors Ltd specialises in the development and manufacture of high performance magnetic sensor products based on quantum effects in Gallium Arsenide materials, to deliver an unrivalled sensitivity and dynamic range in harsh environments. The company has supplied in excess of 15 million sensors to a range of international customers in industrial, medical, aerospace and the Oil and Gas industries. 

About TWI

TWI is one of the world’s foremost independent research and technology organisations, with expertise in materials joining and engineering processes as applied in industry. TWI specialises in innovation, knowledge transfer and in solving problems across all aspects of manufacturing, fabrication and whole-life integrity management. Established in Cambridge, UK in 1946, the organisation has gained a first-class reputation for service through its teams of respected consultants, scientists, engineers and support staff. With around 800 employees, it works with over 1800 Industrial Member companies in over 70 countries.

About Microsemi

Microsemi Corporation (Nasdaq: MSCC), headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California, is focussed on providing solutions where power matters, security is non-negotiable and reliability is vital. Microsemi’s advanced packaging business based in South Wales designs and manufactures miniaturised compound semiconductor modules for high reliability, harsh environment data communications, medical implant and aerospace applications. The business has developed novel embedded component technology and wafer scale assembly processes to meet growing needs around complex miniaturised solutions.