State-of-the-art reactive-oxide MBE system installed at University of St. Andrews

This summer DCA installed a state-of-the-art dual-chamber MBE system at the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The custom-designed MBE system boasts two R450  growth chambers, a DCA-patented o-zone delivery system, and a linear buffer chamber equipped with sample storage.  A bespoke vacuum suitcase that enables the transportation and transfer of samples under UHV to external analysis systems  is included with the system.  This unique DCA system provides a gateway to producing promising new technological applications.

Advanced materials are a key enabling technology, lying at the heart of every new or improved device or technology application. Oxide-based materials hold enormous promise to deliver a step change across a multitude of technology sectors, with their rich physical properties making them ideal candidates to deliver transformative advances in areas spanning from heterogeneous catalysis to novel quantum electronics. To realise their full potential, however, it is necessary to develop ways to tune their physical properties in order to stablise a desired combination of materials characteristics “on demand” for a given application. University of St. Andrews is rapidly establishing a world-wide unique facility for such a guided synthesis of designer oxide materials, paving the way to next generation oxide-based technologies.

The DCA reactive-oxide molecular-beam epitaxy system is at the core of this new facility, enabling the growth of atomic-scale structured transition-metal oxide heterostructures and metastable thin films. It will be coupled to existing spectroscopic probes including low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy and angle-resolved photoemission. This will provide unprecedented feedback on the atomic and electronic structure and the quantum many-body interactions at the heart of the exotic properties of many oxides, revealing how these can be tuned through custom materials growth to create new advanced materials. This will open new avenues for research in correlated electron systems, materials for energy storage and harvesting, catalysis, sensing, quantum technologies and nanoscience, all exploiting tailored states in artificial oxides.