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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T031441/1
Title: Measurement Suite for the Accelerated Design of Advanced, Quantum and Functional Materials
Principal Investigator: Lee, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Irvine, Professor J Wahl, Professor P King, Professor PD
Rost, Dr A W Brown, Professor CTA Bending, Professor SJ
Lightfoot, Professor P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
University of Edinburgh
Department: Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of St Andrews
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 August 2020 Ends: 31 July 2022 Value (£): 1,352,178
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Condensed Matter Physics Energy Storage
Magnetism/Magnetic Phenomena Materials Characterisation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
09 Mar 2020 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interview Panel March 2020 - Panel 2 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The modern technological world is underpinned by an incredible array of advanced materials, many of which took many years from their discovery to their eventual application. The first germanium transistor was built in 1947 but the use of silicon -based transistors did not become widespread until the 1960s and the first microprocessors did not appear until the later 1970s, paving the way to the explosion of personal computing, tablets and smart phones that proliferate today. Similar long timelines can be drawn for the liquid crystals that fill our TV screens or the magnetic hard drives that until recently were ubiquitous in every computer. Only recently has flash memory replaced magnetic disks in portable devices, which make use of a purely `quantum mechanical 'property called tunnelling whereby electrons can pass through barriers that in our everyday large scale `classical' world would not be possible. Silicon, which from the viewpoint of quantum mechanics is just about the simplest type of electronic material imaginable, dominates our current world. In silicon the electrons more or less ignore the presence of their fellow electrons, yet there are much more complex and interesting materials involving the collective motion of `correlated' electrons that have the potential to yield much more powerful technologies. In parallel the development of materials for energy creation and storage also have a profound influence on our lives. The appearance of the Sony Walkman personal cassette player in Japan in 1979 was simply because the density of energy stored in a small portable battery made it feasible. Today however, the global crisis in climate change and the need for cleaner and renewable energy sources gives the development of new materials for energy a much more serious and urgent priority.

This proposal concerns itself with development of just the types of materials discussed above, materials that in future could form the heart of powerful technologies of wide benefit to society, but currently in the first stages of creation and development. We are concerned among other things with: energy related materials for batteries, fuel cells, clean catalysis (including carbon neutral hydrogen production); the complex electronic properties of strongly correlated electronic materials, novel quantum and topological materials; new magnetic materials and ferroelectric materials for advanced data storage and manipulation.

In developing advanced functional materials it is important to know not only their composition, crystalline structure and morphology, but also to understand how small changes in all of these relate to the physical properties that make them both interesting and useful in applications. Material creation can take many forms, from traditional solid state chemical synthesis to thin film deposition techniques where we deposit one layer of atoms at a time and can even create materials not possible in bulk crystalline form. Whatever the route, it is essential to know as quickly as possible after, or even during, synthesis if the properties of this material are the ones that are required (or are interesting in some additional unexpected way). Obtaining this rapid feedback between growth and measurement is essential if one is to progress rapidly in the development of new materials. The focus of this application is to provide the infrastructure that can rigorously examine a wide range of relevant physical properties quickly and in way that can be undertaken by a wide range of people with a variety of expertise. Modern materials research is a truly interdisciplinary pursuit and involves physicists, chemists and materials scientists and engineers all of whom have very different specialist knowledge but who need to easily obtain information on the materials on which they work. Our equipment will allow a range of valuable properties to be measured efficiently, paving the way to future technological applications.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.st-and.ac.uk