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EPSRC Reference: EP/D055237/1
Title: Adventures in Chemistry at Durham University
Principal Investigator: Coleman, Professor K
Other Investigators:
Beeby, Professor A Hodgkinson, Professor P Wrede, Dr E
Wilson, Professor MR
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr DRW Hodgson Professor JAK Howard Professor P Low
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Durham, University of
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 16 October 2006 Ends: 15 January 2009 Value (£): 268,410
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Structure
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Adventurous science is particularly difficult to define. It is very likely to give some fantastic new result, but at the same time it is also quite likely to not work. We're going to try three different projects:Project 1: Sorting Carbon Nanotubes by Flow Cytometry Carbon nanotubes are extremely small/about 50,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair. They are hollow cylinders made only of carbon atoms that look like rolled up sheets of 'chicken wire'. Sometimes they behave like metals and conduct electricity, other times they behave like electronic components such as transistors. In future we may be able to make electronic systems where all the components, from wires to transistors, are made from carbon. The real advantage is that these new carbon systems could be much faster and smaller than existing electronic systems that are currently made from silicon. The problem is that when carbon nanotubes are prepared the material contains a mixture of metallic and transistor-like particles which are virtually impossible to separate. We are going to use a machine that looks at nanotubes as they flow past a detector and depending on those properties the machine will sort them into different containers. Once we have separated these particles we hope to be able to create a new type of carbon-based electronics.Project 2: A New Source for Ultra-Cold Molecules Quantum computers harness the power of atoms and molecules to perform memory and processing tasks and have the potential to perform certain calculations billions of times faster than any silicon-based computer. The critical ingredient is quantum matter which is made by cooling molecules to ultra-cold temperatures. Molecular Bose-Einstein condensates (MBECs), where molecules have been cooled to these very low temperatures have never been prepared before. We will try to shoot dead the motions of certain molecules using a laser of a particular colour. We shall do this is by firing the laser into a beam of supersonic molecules and leave some of the resulting fragments with effectively zero motion. Project 3 Link NMR and Molecular Dynamics Molecules in the solid state interact with each other and this has a great influence on the physical properties of the substance (e.g. the solubility and hence biological activity of drugs). Solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) experiments tell us that molecules are in motion, but they do not tell us about how they move. At present computer calculations do not help because they cannot cope with the relatively slow processes that are typical for solids, and this is the problem that we wish to solve.
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