A materials technology company which is developing the next generation of microchips has raised a further £200k after initially securing £460k from Innovate UK.
The £200k of funding from Mercia Fund Managers and a syndicate of US angels in Irresistible Materials follows the company’s recent success in winning a £460,000 grant from Innovate UK to develop its new photo-resist material which will allow the creation of smaller and lighter devices.
Photo-resist is used to coat silicon chips before the features are etched on to them using ultraviolet light – a process known as lithography which creates the modern equivalent of wires.
Currently ultraviolet light with a wavelength of 193 nanometres is used but in 2019 that will be reduced to 13.5 nanometres with the introduction of a new industry standard, known as extreme ultraviolet lithography, which will enable smaller microchip features.
Irresistible Materials is in the final stages of testing a new photo-resist coating which will enable chip manufacturers to meet the standard. There is currently no other solution available on the market.
Founded in 2010 as a spinout from the University of Birmingham, Irresistible Materials first received backing from Mercia in 2013.
This latest funding will support the ongoing development and commercialisation of photo-resist and its carbon hard mask material, another solution for semiconductor manufacturing.
Mark Volanthen, head of electronics, materials, manufacturing & engineering at Mercia, said: “As consumers demand ever smaller and faster devices, the semiconductor industry is constantly seeking ways to reduce microchip sizes.
“Irresistible Materials’ products which consist of patented small molecules help chip manufacturers to meet these demands.
“With this latest investment and grant funding, the company is on target to bring new products to the market in time for the introduction of next-generation chips in 2019.”
David Ure, founder and executive director of Irresistible Materials, said: “The next 18 months will be an exciting and critical window for Irresistible Materials as we reorient our focus from R&D towards product development, and prepare our material for entry into the microchip production process.
“The Innovate UK grant, supported by our investment partners, provides the foundation for the company to execute its development roadmap through 2018, and positions us for further expansion later this year.”
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