Microchip manufacturer Irresistible Materials has raised £200,000 from Mercia Fund Managers and US angel investors.

The money will be used to develop its new photo-resist material; a light-sensitive coating used to form a patterned coating on a surface. It will also be used to develop its carbon hard mask material, another solution for semiconductor manufacturing.

The material is used to coat silicon chips before the features are etched on to them using ultraviolet light – a process known as lithography, which creates the modern equivalent of wires. Irresistible Materials says this can help to create smaller and lighter devices.

The Birmingham-based company was founded in 2010 as a spin out from the University of Birmingham, and received its first backing from Mercia in 2013.

This funding follows the company’s recent success in winning a £460,000 grant from Innovate UK.

David Ure, founder and executive director of Irresistible Materials, commented on the investment: “The next 18 months will be an exciting and critical window for Irresistible Materials as we reorient our focus from R&D towards product development, and prepare our material for entry into the microchip production process.

“The Innovate UK grant, supported by our investment partners, provides the foundation for the company to execute its development roadmap through 2018, and positions us for further expansion later this year,” he added.

In 2019, the company can reduce the ultraviolet light from a wavelength of 193 nanometres to 13.5 nanometres using the new photo-resist coating.

The company claims this will help chip manufacturers to meet the necessary standard and there is currently no other solution available on the market.

Mark Volanthen, head of electronics,materials, manufacturing and engineering at Mercia, said: “As consumers demand ever smaller and faster devices, the semiconductor industry is constantly seeking ways to reduce microchip sizes. Irresistible Materials’ products which consist of patented small molecules help chip manufacturers to meet these demands.

“With this latest investment and grant funding, the company is on target to bring new products to the market in time for the introduction of next-generation chips in 2019,” he added.

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