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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V028596/1
Title: Electric Fields by 4D scanning transmission electron microscopy
Principal Investigator: Sanchez, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Shah, Dr V Beanland, Professor R Alexe, Professor M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Cardiff University CEA-LETI EPFL Lausanne Switzerland
Ernst Ruska-Centre IQE (Europe) Ltd University of Cambridge
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Warwick
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 17 June 2021 Ends: 16 December 2024 Value (£): 975,473
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Condensed Matter Physics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Jan 2021 EPSRC Physical Sciences January 2021 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The future of modern technology will be shaped by the ability to measure and control the electronic properties of functional materials. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) has always been a key tool for materials development due to its ability to visualise internal structure and composition, and it is now able to resolve and measure individual atoms. However, measurement of functional properties (here, we are interested in internal electric fields) has been difficult; signals are relatively subtle. Until recently, the best method to directly measure internal fields was electron holography. This is not a straightforward technique, requiring a specialised microscope (with an electron biprism) and limitations on geometry, sensitivity and resolution that are all interlinked.

However, this information is also present in scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) data, although it is not seen by conventional scintillator detectors. It is lost in the signal that they produce, which averages over the whole scattering pattern. New pixelated detectors that run at high speeds, capture every electron, and give several orders of magnitude more detail open the possibility to measure internal fields - and other properties - in a straightforward way. To access these signals, we will have to develop new methods to extract them from the large volumes data produced.

There are many possible applications of techniques that we will develop. We will work with a range of partners who are developing materials from technologically important useful materials such as high-power semiconductors and light emitting devices, to fundamental questions about the way that ferroelectric materials can spontaneously generate and respond to internal electric fields.

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Organisation Website: http://www.warwick.ac.uk