Machines and instruments are paramount to the fabrication, testing and characterisation of micro/nano-scale materials and devices. These machines must perform operations at high precision levels and often in confined spaces. Applications are in manufacturing industry and science, for example tools to allow biomedical scientists to investigate processes at cell level. This requires multi-physics design and optimization of machine and instrument components and systems. The use of micro and nanostructures opens up new potential for breaking limits to resolution and design space.
Within this programme, the focus is on AFM for metrology and scientific instruments, which exploit micro and nano-structures to create new opportunities for dimensional metrology and multi-parameter characterisation of micro/nano-objects. A second focus is on the design and optimization of smart structures, components, and systems for extreme performance, e.g. high stiffness over weight, or minimal sensitivity to thermal variations. The third focus is on multi-scale, multi-material manufacturing, establishing a research manufacturing system to study new manufacturing processes, as well as the integration of processes for high-volume, low-cost manufacturing of nano-enabled materials and devices.