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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/E005918/1
Title: Materials Program Platform Grant: Nanostructured Surfaces
Principal Investigator: Palmer, Professor RE
Other Investigators:
Li, Dr Z Guo, Dr Q Robinson, Professor APG
Kaplan, Dr A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Platform Grants
Starts: 01 July 2007 Ends: 31 December 2011 Value (£): 1,040,466
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Communications Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Our current EPSRC Materials Program Platform Grant, which started on 1 Dec 2002 and lasts 4 and a 1/2 years, underpins a program of research at Birmingham University into the science and applications of nanostructured surfaces, i.e., well-defined surface systems with lateral feature sizes in the range 1-100nm. Nanostructured surfaces present the possibility to organise, collect and address materials down to the level of individual molecules. The research is conducted in a collaboration between 6 departments at Birmingham (Physics, Materials, Biosciences, Medicine, Environmental Sciences, Chemistry) led by the Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory (NPRL) headed by REP. The proposal seeks to renew the Platform Grant and thus provide a stable foundation to enable adventurous research projects to be initiated, to sustain the skilled staffing of our highly sophisticated portfolio of experimental equipment, to support the career development of outstanding young researchers and to support and enhance interdisciplinary projects. The proposal is formally submitted by the NPRL Staff (Prof Palmer, Dr Guo, Dr Li, Dr Robinson, Dr Kaplan and Researcher Co-Investigator Dr Chen), and indirectly on behalf of our main collaborators on campus: Prof Heath, Prof Macaskie and Dr Meldrum, Biosciences; Prof Moss, Medicine (Cancer Research); Prof Harrison and Dr Lead, Environmental Sciences; Prof Jones, Materials; and Prof Preece and Dr Johnston, Chemistry. The annual research income of the NPRL is ~600k with a total current grant value above 2M. In 1994 we published a 10 year research strategy for the Lab. This identifies three areas of particular opportunity: (i) the excited states of nanoscale systems, (ii) the interface to molecular biology and (iii) the translation of scientific innovations into industry via applied research. These programs will be underpinned by continuing work on the preparation, atomic structure and characterisation of nanoscale systems, including the development of novel instruments and processes. The research aims of the proposal for renewal mirror this research strategy. Since nanotechnology is regarded as a strategic frontier of both science and technology, the beneficiaries of the work will include both the international scientific community and UK industry.The funding provided will support Dr Yu Chen to run the Nanoscale Science Facility, while the second post will support a series of other post-docs, typically in 6 month stints, who will initiate or complete important pieces of work, often with interdisciplinary character (the first likely appointee is Stefano Palomba on single molecule optical spectroscopy in collaboration with Dr Lead). Support for 50% of a technician, Mr Jag Sangha (included under 'other directly allocated costs'), will provide the stable base of technical support that we also very much need. In the 3 years of the current Platform Grant to date, four research fellows have been supported, working on TEM, variable-temperature STM, atomic manipulation and novel instrument development (scanning probe energy loss spectroscopy and spatially-resolved photoemission). Highlights include our paper in Nature on molecular manipulation at room temperature, which also generated significant media interest. These post-docs have contributed to 30 of the 60 papers generated by the applicants in this 3 year period, together with 50 invited talks, 3 patent applications and 25 media reports. Moreover the research conducted, in conjunction with the strategic review of our research project portfolio, has led to a series of specific research proposals and fellowship applications to EPSRC, DTI, the Royal Society and the EC. Six successful awards have been announced in the last 3 months. We believe that these achievements, together with our 10 year research strategy and the work we are doing in public outreach and industrial support, provide a powerful case for renewal of the Platform Grant.
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk