Impact from commercial microfabrication access

Impact: Economic and commerce

Description of impact

Use of cleanroom equipment and processes, predominantly by SMEs

Who is affected

Company beneficiaries


My role in management of the Institute of Photonics’ microfabrication cleanroom created, and continues to create, substantial impact through commercial use of the equipment set, which is offered on a hands-on or serviced basis. The cumulative value of contracts to date is in excess of £200k, and these have mostly been with smaller, high-growth companies. This activity became my own responsibility to manage from 2009, after a restructure in operation of our former laboratory on the West of Scotland Science Park. Significant users in that period were the University’s own spin-out mLED Ltd, the local company CST Global, and two English-based companies respectively performing plasma etching of sapphire and diamond. These latter processes were enabled by the inductively coupled plasma (ICP) etch tools we operate, and the scope for segregating processes between two tools with complementary capabilities. Additional users from Scotland were accommodated in the 2009-2015 period for other processes, including metal deposition and etch. Although this commercial access was inevitably disrupted by the relocation of the cleanroom equipment into the University’s Technology and Innovation Centre in 2015, CST Global resumed access quickly, and commercial access has regained momentum from late 2017. Specifically, usage for sapphire and diamond etching by ICP has resumed, although the company and application for the diamond processing are different from the historic situation.
Impact statusClosed
Impact date1 Jan 200928 Feb 2018
Category of impactEconomic and commerce
Impact levelBenefit


  • Cleanroom
  • Microfabrication