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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S033394/1
Title: Aberration-Corrected Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope with atomic resolution spectroscopy under controlled environmental conditions: AC-eSTEM
Principal Investigator: Lazarov, Professor V
Other Investigators:
Tear, Professor SP Fulton, Professor B Douthwaite, Dr R
Yuan, Professor J Boyes, Professor ED Kirkland, Professor A
Brydson, Professor RMD Kroeger, Professor R Gai, Professor PL
Kepaptsoglou, Dr D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Cogent Power Ltd Cristal Pigment UK Ltd Greatcell Solar UK Limited (GSL)
Johnson Matthey Mitsubishi Chemical UK Limited NanoMEGAS SPRL
Oxford Instruments Plc Smith & Nephew plc (UK)
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of York
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2019 Ends: 31 October 2024 Value (£): 3,250,534
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Catalysis & Applied Catalysis
Chemical Biology Condensed Matter Physics
Materials Characterisation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Mar 2019 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interview Panel March 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Atomistic structural, electronic and chemical models are the basis of modern material science, with data acquired under regular high vacuum conditions by analysis of mainly static specimens. However, the properties and hence functionality of many materials crucially depend on the environmental conditions to which they are exposed. Accordingly, relevant analyses of structure, composition and properties need to be conducted under controlled continuous dynamic conditions and the vision of this project is to enable and fully integrate the capabilities needed to accomplish these goals to understand nanomaterial-environment interactions, and ultimately to create nanomaterials by design.

The overarching vision of this proposal is to fill the need for the fully integrated nanomaterials analysis with single atom sensitivity under dynamic process conditions in environmental conditions. The aim is to provide the state of the art tool available to UK research community to address the outstanding materials problems that underpin a number of EPSRC research themes from manufacturing the future to health and environment.

Fully in situ and operando operations are needed to ensure the integrity of sample data. In practice this extends from sample synthesis or activation, through the ensuing operations, reactions or other processes or tests.

Hence, resources are sought to establish a state-of-the-art, aberration corrected STEM instrument (200 to 40 kV) with 0.08 nm image resolution and comprehensive analytical functions for chemical and electronic state analysis with electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS), related imaging filter (GIF), direct electron detection, and elemental analysis with a transformational high sensitivity (and acceptance angle) silicon drift detection (SDD) energy dispersive x-ray (EDX) spectrometer.

The new instrument will be modified at York to include added unique functionalities, along the lines of the research led by the group. Methods and some hardware will be transferred from the original proof-of-concept and aged (2005) first generation instrument at York. The advantages of the open aperture 'gas-in-microscope' concept promoted at York are expected to be especially significant at the lower accelerating voltages of 80 and 40 kV to be available to reduce damage due to specimen-electron beam interactions.

The new instrument and attendant expertise will be organised, actively promoted, operated and managed as a new national capability with connections to the national SuperSTEM and ePSIC laboratories, including CI representation from both organisations, for advice and user guidance and active assistance external promotion and strategic as well as tactical management. Wide networking will add to the framework for organising the new capability but will not exclude more ad hoc bilateral interactions; in part to promote the core science needed at the heart of such an 'organisation'.

The scientific benefits of the proposed centre for excellence in environmental aberration corrected STEM will greatly contribute to the current research initiatives in the UK related to nanomaterials for energy applications, information technologies/internet of things, and catalysis. The key contribution will be in fundamental understanding of the nanomaterials environment interactions enables trough atomistic imaging and analysis of the dynamic processes that take place either during material fabrication or in action.

The project will make a significant contribution to what the future of the UK and of the world will look like; through better understanding of societal, scientific, economic, and environmental challenges and opportunities.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.york.ac.uk