Andrew Humphris - Honorary Professor of Nanoimaging

Dr Andrew Humphris has taken up an Aegis Professorship as Honorary Professor of Nanoimaging in the School of Physics from January 2021. 

Andy has been working in the field of nanoscale imaging, specifically scanning probe microscopy, since 1997. After completing his PhD at the University of Bristol, he worked as a research fellow and proleptic lecturer at the University. In 2001 he co-founded the spin-out company Infinitesima Ltdwhere he is currently the Chief Technology Officer. 

Infinitesima Ltd develops and manufactures high speed microscopes for in-line process control applications in the semi-conductor industry. The microscopes enable rapid nanoscale imaging and metrology, building on techniques developed at Bristol. Andy led the development of Infinitesima’s products and technologies, which are now used by all the top tier semiconductor manufacturers for the development and fabrication of current and next generation devices. Infinitesima Ltd currently employs approximately 30 staff and has active projects with other international semiconductor equipment suppliers to deliver further rapid probe microscopy solutions to the market.Based on its proven track record, the company is currently seeking further funding to develop a range of standalone products, which will enable the full capability of its nanoscale metrology and inspection technologies to be exploited. 

In his position as CTO, Andy works at the leading edge of nanoscale metrology, regularly meeting with the international community of researchers, semiconductor equipment suppliers and device manufactures. He has has over 25 granted US patents and over 75 worldwide patents and scientific publications.He maintains an active relationship with academia through ongoing joint projects with academic researchers and invitations to sit on advisory panels. 

During his time as Aegis Professor, Andy will use his experience and knowledge of nanoscale imaging and metrology to look for synergies and potential developments between Infinitesima Ltd and the University of Bristol. Andy is an active supporter of both undergraduate and postgraduate students, including through giving careers talks, mentoring student projects and offering placements at his company. He provides staff with an industry perspective when discussing CDTs and grant applications, and provides some financial support for grant applications via Infinitesima.  
Further areas of work include: 
Seeking further applications for high-speed microscopy. There are many potential applications for the company’s novel high-speed scanning probe microscopy technology outside the semiconductor market, which are not being exploited. Andy will work with researchers in the School of Physics to explore these capabilities. This work is likely to provide areas of joint interest and identify possible ways to utilise InfinitesimaLtd’s technology and expertise to support new and ongoing areas of research, development and applications.  
Creating 3D nanoscale structures. The semiconductor industry’s requirement for an increasing number of ever smaller devices on the same wafer is driving the development of increasingly complex 3D structures, using new materials and developing new device types. To enable the development and ultimate manufacturing of these structures there is a high demand for new metrology solutions. Infinitesima Ltd’s high-speed scanning probe microscopy technology can contribute to this, but the technology’s capabilities must be continually improved. Working with colleagues in the School of Physics, Andy will seek to advance the fundamental understanding of probe microscopy, or indeed identify alternative approaches to address these challenges.
Andy was interviewed for the SPO Science in Partnership podcast, talking about how his PhD research at the University led to the founding of Infinitesima.
You can also access a transcript of this podcast: SPO Podcast Andy Humphris Transcript (Office document, 40kB)
Photo of Andrew Humphris
Dr Andrew Humphris, Honorary Professor of Nanoimaging in the School of Physics
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