School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Professor Anthony O'Neill

Siemens Professor of Microelectronics


Anthony O'Neill joined Newcastle University in 1986, having previously worked at Plessey Research (Caswell) Ltd. He has been Siemens Professor of Microelectronics since 1996. In 1994 he was Visiting Scientist at MIT, Cambridge, Ma, USA. In 2002 He became Royal Society Industry Fellow at Atmel, UK. He was a Visiting Professor at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland in 2009 and at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia in 2017.

Roles and Responsibilities

*  Director of Research, Electrical and Electronic Engineering
*  Director of nanoLAB University Research Centre
*  Leader of eFutures network for electronics research in UK universities, with ~300 members
*  Principal Investigator on EPSRC Projects:  
          -   eFutures
          -   eFuturesXD
          -   Atomic Layer Interface Engineering for Nanoelectronics (ALIEN):contacts
* Joint- Principal Investigator on the Wellcome/EPSRC project
          -   Controlling Abnormal Network Dynamics with Optogenetics (CANDO)
* Co-Investigator on the RCUK projects
          -   EPSRC: Multi-electrode electromyography: developing electrical cross-sectional imaging of skeletal muscle
          -   EPSRC: Underpinning Power Electronics: Devices Theme
          -   MRC/ESPRC: Newcastle Molecular Pathology Node (MICA)
*  Member of EPSRC College
*  Director of NMI, a UK trade organisation for the electronics industry with more than 200 members


BSc, PhD


C Eng, Fellow IET, Senior Member IEEE


Anthony is a member of the Emerging Technology and Materials research group and his profile can be viewed on Google Scholar 

Research Interests

My research involves device fabrication in cleanrooms, specialist electrical and material characterisation, computer simulation (e.g. TCAD) and electronic systems.  Current research topics are:

  • Interface engineering and heterogenious integration
  • Ferroelectric materials for nanoelectronics
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Nanoelectronics for future biomedical applications
  • power electronics
  • Interconnects and nanowires for integrated circuits
  • Strained Silicon: materials, technology and characterisation

Potential PhD Research Projects

  • Atomic Layer Interface Engineering for Nanoelectronics
  • Ferroelectrics for nanoelectronics
  • Biomedical Engineering/electronic interface devices
  • Nanoelectronics circuits for medical applications
  • Piezoelectric sensor/actuator for smart joint replacements
  • Silicon Nanowires: Design, Fabrication and Characterisation
  • Silicon Carbide MOSFETs

In more detail:
Atomic Layer Interface Engineering for Nanoelelctronics.
This research considers the prospect of using insulators to improve the electrical conductivity of metal/semiconductor contacts. A range of experimental techniques will be used to measure the change in electrical properties brought about by the thin insulator films and the film thickness will be optimised for a range of important semiconductors (with Cambridge University, Analog Devices NPL, CPI.) low contact resistance using interlayersohmic contacts with island metal films 


Ferroelectrics for nanoelectronics
Ferroelectrics have the potential to make a major impact on future electronic technologies and products.  Examples include low power CMOS, tuneable capacitors, and novel memory elements (e.g. memristors). The project covers deposition of thin film ferroelectric films with extensive material and electrical characterisation, through to first principles modelling to understand thin film ferroelectrics and their interfaces.  You will work in one or more of these areas depending on your interests (with Imperial College, CPI and Intel). first demonstration of negative capacitance


Biomedical/electronic interface devices
Cross-disciplinary research with academic and clinical staff in neuroscience. Examples include:
(i) Needle electromyography (EMG) is an essential diagnostic test in the investigation of patients with peripheral nerve and muscle disease, such as motor neuron disease. We use microfabrication techniques to produce a novel EMG electrode, of similar diameter to a conventional needle, which will record simultaneously from 64 points along the needle. This will allow the rapid and accurate localisation of each individual muscle fibre within the muscle, in effect producing an electrical cross-sectional image of the muscle. (with Newcastle Institute for Neuroscience and NHS Trust Hospitals);

(ii) Opto-electronic neural implant electrodes for the control of conditions like epilepsy, using gene therapy to modify neurons so that they can respond to optical signals as well as electrical responses.  This brain implant will continuously record the abnormal activity and provides precisely timed stimulation to prevent it ever developing into an epileptic seizure (with Imperial College, UCL, Newcastle Institute for Neuroscience and NHS Trust Hospitals).

Nanoelectronics circuits for medical applications
Investigating the possibility of using nanoelectronics for sensors and actuators at the cellular level.  This cross disciplinary project with the medical school covers cellular response to fabricated micron scale silicon, communication and powering of remote circuits, low power design and clinical applications.  You will work in one or more of these areas depending on your interests.

Piezoelectric sensor/actuator for smart joint replacements

Working with colleagues in biomechanics and in the medical school, a smart implant is proposed, comprising engineered surface properties for optimal bonding to the host tissue and piezoelectric sensor/actuator to monitor stress and ultrasonic enhancement of osseointegration. The implants will meet demands in the burgeoning personalised implant market.  The project involves growth, processing and charactertisation of piezoelectric electro-mechanical materials.

Silicon Nanowires: Design, Fabrication and Characterisation
Develop novel fabrication techniques to make silicon nanowires, e.g. using oxidation combined with etching, together with characterisation and modelling. Devices will be used to study extreme nanoelectronics and can be applied to medical sensors/actuators.  Atomic layer deposition can be used to coat wires to further investigate properties and applications.

Silicon Carbide MOSFETs
Silicon Carbide is a wide band-gap semiconductor with exceptional electrical and other material properties.  While it has been studied for many years and used commercially for high performance devices, it has very poor MOS current carrying capability.  Recent progress in III-V semiconductor MOS devices has suggested a new route to overcoming this challenge. The project will cover design, fabrication and characterisation aspects.  It is closely linked to a major UK initiative funded by EPRSC (UPE) where Newcastle University are partners (with Cambridge, Bristol, Warwick) in the device theme. High mobility 4H-SiC MOSFET

The School website has more information on research degrees and funding.


Undergraduate Teaching

Electronic Devices EEE3020, PHY3026

Postgraduate Teaching

Advanced Electronic Devices EEE8018, EEE8123