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Leader in Integrated ICT Hardware & Systems

Dr Shane Garvey

Together Tyndall celebrates the winners and finalists of the 2020 Postgraduate Publication of the Year.

Despite a challenging a year, our students achieved outstanding discoveries and results as part of their PhD projects, some even opening major new possibilities in their field. 

Dr. Fatima Gunning, Senior Staff Researcher & Head of Graduate Studies at Tyndall, praised the entries, saying: “This year we had twice as many submissions for the Postgraduate Research Publication of Year. Besides lockdowns and restricted access to labs, our students excelled in their research outcomes. We also noted a number of students with exceptional publications at very early stages in their PhDs, and we couldn’t let this pass in blank, so we created a new award - the Rising Talent Award. Congratulations to all!"

Dr Shane Garvey

Dr Shane Garvey


"Vapor-Phase Passivation of Chlorine-Terminated Ge (100) Using Self-Assembled Monolayers of Hexanethiol."

1. What encouraged you to submit your application to the 2020 Postgraduate Research Publication of the Year?

The paper served as the bedrock for the rest of the work done during my PhD and improved on the current state-of-the-art techniques for the passivation of germanium (Ge) surfaces. Also, the paper was published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces - a prestigious journal in my field.

2. What inspired you to choose the subject of your paper?

We needed to develop a passivation method for Ge that was applicable to nanostructures. The oxide that naturally forms on Ge surfaces has some undesirable properties so replacing it with something else with properties that are more favourable is an important step in the development of Ge-based devices. Liquid-phase processing can cause damage to nanostructures due to capillary forces and surface tension so the development of non-destructive vapour-phase passivation methods are necessary. We were lucky to have an industry partner on this project (Lam Research Corp.) and their industrial perspective was incredibly valuable when designing experiments.

3. What’s your paper about and how did you prepare for it? What role did research excellence play in your approach?

The paper outlines a new method to achieve the vapour-phase passivation of Ge using organic molecules. It is predicted that Ge will play an essential role in future computer chips and surface passivation is a really important consideration in this field since the quality of material interfaces can dictate how well those materials perform in devices. To achieve Ge passivation, we chose an organic molecule that we knew was reactive with Ge surfaces and we designed a reactor in which we could attempt a vapour-phase reaction between our chosen molecule and Ge. After a few iterations, we had developed a highly reproducible method to achieve the vapour-phase passivation of Ge. The surfaces that we could create were robust and resistant to reoxidation and so offered a passivation method that we used throughout the project. The process that we developed improves on the state-of-the-art in that it takes less time to create surfaces that are more robust and resistant to reoxidation.

4. The selection for Research Publication of the Year is extremely competitive. What is your advice for those aspiring for nomination next year?

Be specific in your research goals. Clearly identify a problem area in your field and tackle it. You may not solve the issue outright, but you will likely find something of value along the way.

5. What is the single most significant support Tyndall has been able to offer you in achieving your research goals? 

Tyndall has provided me with invaluable exposure to its diverse and talented staff. From my experience, tackling problems as part of a multi-disciplinary team yields the best results so working closely with computational chemists, electronic engineers and imaging specialists as I did throughout my time in Tyndall is something that I have enjoyed immensely.

Research Publication Link

Shane Garvey; Justin D. Holmes; Y. S. Kim; and Brenda Long, “Vapor-Phase Passivation of Chlorine-Terminated Ge (100) Using Self-Assembled Monolayers of Hexanethiol”, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2020 12 (26), 29899-29907