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13 November 2017

Manchester engineers Atomic Mechanics

Atomic Mechanics has been spun out of Manchester to couple semiconductors with graphene to build highly reactive pressure sensors.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

University of Manchester announced last week it has spun out Atomic Mechanics, a UK-based miniaturised materials company that will develop highly reactive pressure sensors for semiconductors.

Atomic Mechanics, incorporated in February 2017, will build sensors that combine silicon chips with graphene. Graphene is so thin it is defined as two dimensional, but at the same time possesses high flexibility and strength, thus making it useful for detecting pressure.

The approach would involve holding graphene parts just nanometres above the silicon surface and reading the pressure from changes in capacitance – the amount of electric charge held – made by moving the two materials together.

The spinout is based on research by Aravind Vijayaraghavan, a lecturer in nanomaterials at the School of Materials at Manchester, and Christian Berger, who received a PhD in 2D material sensors from the institution earlier this year.

Berger said: "Our sensor can find a range of applications, such as in engines, industrial plants and even household heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, which offers us a large market.

"The technology can also be used to develop next-generation touchscreens for consumer electronics and in new types of medical devices." 

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