Engineering: Fully Funded M2A EngD Scholarship: Development of coated silicon microneedles for vaccine smart patch

  • Phd
  • Full cost of UK tuition fees, plus a stipend
  • 5 April 2021
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Engineering: Fully Funded M2A EngD Scholarship: Development of Silicon Carbide Plasma etch processes for next generation power electronics

Start date: October 2021

Supervisors: Professor O Guy, Dr S Sharma, Dr J Mitchell and Dr H Ashraf (SPTS)

Expected Interview Date: April 2021

Sponsoring company: SPTS Technologies
SPTS Technologies, a KLA company, designs, manufactures, sells, and supports etch, PVD, CVD and MDS capital equipment, providing advanced wafer processing technologies and solutions for the semiconductor and microelectronics industry. SPTS are experts in semiconductor film coatings, deposition and etch technology, their revenue generation is from equipment sales and support services supplied to customers in major foundries and IDMs servicing end-market applications including micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), advanced packaging, LED, high-speed RF device IC’s and power semiconductors. SPTS have a growing activity in technology and products related to BioMEMS and have been developing microneedle technology with Swansea University for drug and vaccine delivery applications.

SPTS Technologies, a global leader in wafer processing equipment for the semiconductor and related industries, have been working with Swansea University to apply novel deep-etch and deposition plasma process technology to Bio microelectromechanical systems (Bio-MEMS) and healthcare products.

One of these technologies is hollow silicon microneedles. They are the longest “out of plane“, sharpest silicon microneedles in the world and have been demonstrated for insulin delivery and cell delivery.

More recently, our microneedles have been used in the development of a smart patch for vaccine delivery and detection of a successful response to the vaccine by the body.

This could ultimately be used for vaccination and testing of vaccination efficacy for COVID and other viruses.

This project will develop the silicon etch process technology to scale up the microneedle fabrication process from 100mm diameter wafers to 150mm diameter wafers ‚Äď enabling more microneedle chips to be produced at lower cost. The process will be optimised using silicon smoothing and improved photolithography processes. The project will incorporate a self-release etch step into the fabrication process, so that microneedles can be easily separated from the wafer into individual devices. The project will develop new plasma coating techniques to coat the microneedle in thin films which may be water repellent or non-stick, insulating or metallic. This will be achieved using Chemical Vapour Deposition, Molecular Vapour Deposition and electroplating.

This will allow development of a range of microneedle products for a variety of health and cosmetic applications. 

The EngD student will used the facilities at the Centre for Nanohealth and the new £90 million Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials (CISM).
The semiconductor community in South Wales is expanding rapidly and the EngD student will receive the training and preparation skills highly appropriate to a career in the semiconductor industry.
Swansea University
This is a scholarship by

Swansea University

Swansea, is a coastal city and county, officially known as the City and County of Swansea in Wales.

All Scholarships from Swansea University


We welcome applications from candidates with an Engineering or Physical Science degree (minimum level 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent relevant experience to the same level, to join the M2A community of research engineers.

We would normally expect candidates to have met the University’s English Language requirements (e.g. IELTS 6.5 overall with 5.5+ in each component) by point of application. 

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is not open to ‚ÄėInternational‚Äô candidates.


Do you wish to become an international student next year?
Demonstrate your English skills with IELTS.


The scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees, plus a tax free stipend of £20,000 p.a. for a period of four years.


Please visit our website for more information.
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