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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/G017301/1
Title: Non-Destructive Nanoscale Resolution using a Carbon Nanotube Scanning Thermal Probe
Principal Investigator: Zeze, Professor DA
Other Investigators:
Petty, Professor MC
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Anasys Instruments Veeco Instruments Ltd
Department: Engineering and Computing Sciences
Organisation: Durham, University of
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 June 2009 Ends: 30 November 2012 Value (£): 413,444
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Instrumentation Eng. & Dev. Surfaces & Interfaces
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Sep 2008 Engineering Science (Components) Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Accurate energy transport measurement in materials and devices is at the heart of recent developments of electronics in the polymer, bio-medical and pharmaceutical industries. For example, the measurement of the time-temperature profile in a decaying cancer cell conveys critical information on biochemical composition and metabolism, essential for diseased cell screening. However, as the dimensions of electronic devices reduce to the nanoscale, classical techniques for measuring electrical and thermal transport become less accurate. To achieve a better understanding of transport mechanisms, it is essential to develop new nanoscale tools to measure energy transport without causing damage to the samples analysed or to the measuring apparatus itself. Despite recent progress in small scale thermal transport measurements, known as Local Thermal Analysis (LTA), the performance is severely limited by measurement probe size, probe wear and damage caused to materials, such as cells, by the probe tip. To address these problems, this collaborative proposal between Durham University and Lancaster University will integrate carbon nanotubes (CNT) into the structure of an LTA probe tip, using conventional integrated circuit (IC) fabrication technology. CNTs are extremely small graphite-like carbon tubes with a diameter of about one nanometre (one hundred thousandth that of a human hair) and length of a few microns (the diameter of a human hair). CNTs' exceptional properties make them ideal for the design of nanoscale probes. The proposal aims to develop a non-destructive, CNT, scanning, thermal probe having a resolution better than 20 nm and capable of recording simultaneously the thermal transport properties and response of materials undergoing optical energy excitation. This research will lead to new applications across a wide range of industries from electronics to biomedicine, crossing traditional interdisciplinary boundaries. For example, it will be possible to monitor the performance of nanoscale electronic circuitry, essential to produce cheaper, faster and reliable devices; and also to assist the accurate screening of biological samples and even to monitor drug delivery to bio-cells.
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