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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T024054/1
Title: EPSRC Capital Award for Core Equipment - University of Warwick
Principal Investigator: Thomas, Professor PA
Other Investigators:
Newton, Professor ME Jarvis, Professor S Beanland, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Vice Chancellors Office
Organisation: University of Warwick
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 17 January 2020 Ends: 16 July 2021 Value (£): 275,000
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Chemical Synthetic Methodology
Condensed Matter Physics Electrochemical Science & Eng.
Materials Characterisation Optical Devices & Subsystems
Power Electronics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
05 Nov 2019 EPSRC Capital Award for Core Equipment Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Our ability to rapidly and routinely obtain information about the composition, structure, morphology and function of molecules, materials and devices produced by man or by nature is central to many advances and breakthroughs in the Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS). This proposal will provide new multi-user equipment within our Spectroscopy and Microscopy Research Technology Platforms (RTPs), to ensure that researchers at Warwick (UW) have access to a state-of-the-art infrastructure for EPS. UW's long-term excellence in EPS is firmly rooted in strategic investment in equipment, infrastructure, people and training. The equipment requested includes:

1. An infrared (IR) microscope capable high spectral/spatial resolution coupled to a spectrometer suitable for time-resolved spectroscopy (TRS). IR spectroscopy exploits the fact that molecules and materials absorb frequencies that are characteristic of their atomic composition, structure and bonding. Subject to selection rules, these absorptions occur when the frequency of the absorbed radiation matches the vibrational frequency. IR microscopy provides the capability for chemical and structural mapping of a wide range of materials and systems at a length scale characteristic of the wavelength of the light used (e.g. 3-20 micro-m). Many materials are heterogeneous and measurements at a single point are not sufficient to understand the system. TRS enables the studies of changes in structure and bonding, and provides valuable information on process as diverse as battery degradation, structural changes in proteins and charge trapping in electronic materials.

2. Ion beam milling machine. Researchers are pushing the boundaries of elemental analysis and high resolution imaging with transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and for these studies they require ultra-low damage specimens less than ~20 nm in thickness. Focused ion beam (FIB) milling and argon (Ar) ion beam milling are used for preparation of electron transparent specimens for a diverse class of materials, including semiconductors, metals and ceramics. FIB is an essential tool for TEM sample preparation (Warwick has recently invested £650k in a new system) but causes surface and near surface damage that can limit the TEM analysis. Ar ion beam milling can be used to clean or polish surfaces produced by FIB. The system requested will provide significantly improved capabilities, specifically for low-energy operation to produce damage-free, clean specimens only a few nm in thickness for high resolution TEM studies and furthermore the small beam sizes will allow final cleaning of specimens only a few micrometres in size prepared by FIB microscopes.

The proposed equipment will be used to facilitate and strengthen a wide range of EPS research at UW, that falls within EPSRC's strategic remit and aligns to the UW research strategy. The new equipment will underpin the research of >50 academic groups from Chemistry, Physics, Engineering and WMG, working in diverse fields, including: catalysis, energy materials, manufacturing, medical imaging, nanoparticles, nanocomposites, polymer materials, power electronics, semiconductors, and structural engineering. This investment will also be fundamental to facilitating the training of many M-Level undergraduates, MSc and PhD students, and early career researchers. Our RTPs have well established programmes of user training and support, and these are also offered to external academics and industry partners. UW is committed to ensuring that the equipment requested is effectively managed and maintained, and that usage is maximised. Access will be advertised internally and externally through Warwick Scientific Services.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.warwick.ac.uk