Archive for category: News

High-resolution ion column

Pioneer features a mass-filtered ion column, with a 20nm spot size, and operates at up to 30kV. This enables incredibly accurate placement of ions within the substrate, subject to scatter.

Two versions of the ion source are available: a liquid metal source and a duoplasmatron, giving you access to a large number of dopant ions.

Deterministic ion implantation

Detection of implant events is critical to deterministic ion implantation. Up to four high-gain, low-noise detectors enable high-efficiency detection of secondary particles (both ions and electrons), offering detection efficiency of better than 85%.

Nanometer precision stage

The stage is a piezo-driven precision stage, with optical encoders with 1nm precision, and is capable of handling up to a 6-inch wafer. There is also a load lock for fast sample insertion and optical cameras for precision alignment.

Proprietary software

Pioneer is completely software driven, and includes implantation UI, SED imaging, vacuum control and monitoring, stage control, and sample transfer. The software is designed to enable fully automated, overnight operation (for high-noise environments). It also offers alignment to pre-defined sample marks, with better than 20nm accuracy.

High-vacuum system

A 6-inch wafer carrying load-lock enables fast sample insertion while maintaining a consistent high-vacuum in the chamber (< 1x10-8 mbar), while a gate valve on the ion column protects the chamber vacuum and allows sources to be swapped quickly.

High-resolution electron column

A 20nm electron beam is available for high resolution imaging.

Applications of Pioneer

In addition to precision ion implantation at the nanoscale, pioneer can also achieve deterministic single-ion implantation. This means that the instrument provides a versatile platform for doping and implantation with both multiple- and single-ion species. The versatility of pioneer is expected to create an invaluable resource in application areas such as:

  • Quantum Technologies
  • Quantum Device Fabrication
  • Nano-material Doping
  • Photonic systems
  • Memory Devices



Ionoptika Ltd installed the first two instrument of its kind at the Surrey Ion Beam Centre in 2018, as part of the Single Ion Multi-species Positioning at Low Energy (SIMPLE) project. Read more about this exciting project here.


Ionoptika Ltd is delighted that our Pioneer system features at the heart of the new PLATFORM FOR NANOSCALE ADVANCED MATERIALS ENGINEERING (P-NAME) at the Henry Royce Institute, Manchester.

High-resolution, low-current ion column for precise placement of ions
Liquid metal or duoplasmatron ion source
Wide range of available dopant ions
Nano-precision stage with up to 6-inch wafer handling capability
Deterministic ion implantation detection system
High-resolution electron column available for non-destructive imaging

A New Single Ion Implantation Tool

A New Tool for Quantum Device Fabrication

July 10th 2018 — A new single ion implantation tool is launched at the UK National Ion Beam Centre. Part of a 3 year project between Ionoptika and the University of Surrey and funded by the EPSRC, the new instrument will enable researchers to create new quantum devices faster than ever before.

The instrument, named SIMPLE (Single Ion Multi-species Positioning at Low Energy), was launched during the 16th International Conference on Nuclear Microprobe Technology and Applications (ICNMTA2018) held at the University of Surrey (click here to read the press release).

SIMPLE Instrument

SIMPLE instrument installed at Surrey Ion Beam Centre | Photo courtesy Nathan Cassidy.

Quantum Technology

Quantum mechanics – that fascinating and sometimes bizarre theory governing the world of the very small – has enormous potential to revolutionize many aspects of modern technology. More secure digital communication, “quantum safe” cryptography methods, more accurate time measurements, and faster, more powerful computers are all thought possible.

Quantum computers in particular are an exciting prospect — it’s expected that they will be capable of solving problems not currently feasible even by our most powerful super computers. Actually building a quantum computer, however, remains an hugely ambitious challenge.

One design for a quantum bit, or qubit – the basic building block of a quantum computer – was put forward by Bruce Kane in 1998. It involves embedding pairs of donor atoms, such as phosphorous, very close to one another (~ 20 nm) within a silicon lattice. Known as electron-mediated nuclear spin coupling, the idea has been successfully utilized by researchers to fabricate individual qubits.

Qubit device schematic

Schematic of Kane’s proposed electron-mediated nuclear spin coupling qubit device.

Using a scanning tunneling microscope, researchers carefully placed individual P atoms using an atomically sharp tip and by stimulating chemical reactions on an atom-by-atom basis. An incredibly intricate technique, it can take several days of meticulous preparation to create just a single qubit. A remarkable feat, however a faster, more scalable method is clearly required.

Single Ion Implantation

The SIMPLE project was established with this objective – to develop an instrument platform for the reliable fabrication of arrays of qubits, with high speed and high precision, using single-ion implantation.

A well established technique in the semiconductor industry, the principles of large-scale ion implantation can be applied to implant individual ions when the parameters are very carefully controlled. Leveraging Ionoptika’s expertise in ion beam design and detection, an instrument platform was designed that is capable of producing an array of millions of implanted ions in just a fraction of a second.

The need for new quantum fabrication technologies

The need for new quantum fabrication technologies


The instrument comprises a highly focused, sub-20 nm mass-filtered ion column, a nano-precision stage, and high-sensitivity single ion implantation detection system. While detecting single ion events with high enough consistency for wide scale production remains a challenge, progress in this area has been encouraging, and confidence is high that this goal will be met. And when it is, it will mark a world first, and will usher in a new era of quantum computing.


SIMS-China 2018

The 7th Chinese National Conference on Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS-China VII)

Ionoptika are delighted to announce we are sponsoring the 7th Chinese National Conference on Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS-China VII), which will be held from 9-12th October, 2018, at the Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics (SINANO), Chinese Academy of Sciences in Suzhou, China. The conference aims to bring together researchers and practitioners from academia and industry to focus on recent advances in SIMS. We look forward to seeing you there!

Conference website