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Developing 4D Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy of Nanomaterials


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Monday 29 April 2024
Project start date
Tuesday 1 October 2024
Country eligibility
UK only
Competition funded
Source of funding
Doctoral training partnership
Professor Andrew Brown and Professor Rik Drummond-Brydson
Additional supervisors
Dr. Nicole Hondow, Dr. Sean Collins
School of Chemical and Process Engineering
Research groups/institutes
Materials characterisation
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Precision engineering of complex chemical products and devices used in high-value technology sectors, e.g. microelectronics,&nbsp; pharmaceutical, healthcare and fine-chemical products as well as emergent energy materials, can help achieve superior functionality, control of degradation, and the discovery of novel physical and chemical product properties. Such complex chemical products and devices often incorporate low atomic number ions and molecules as building blocks which, due to their sensitivity to the electron or ion beam, requires a step change in nanoscale chemical and structural imaging, if we are to characterize their detailed microstructure. In collaboration with an instrument manufacturer, this project will investigate the application of a new type of electron microscope which can allow the detailed imaging of crystal structure and strain and its relationship to variations in chemical composition in Nanostructured materials. Such information allows to understand the ultimate properties of materials following fabrication and processing. It will focus on a set of carefully chosen samples drawn from a number of &nbsp;application areas (e.g. Microelectronics and Condensed Matter Physics, Solid State Chemistry, Pharmaceutical or Agrochemical formulations, Mineralogy) tailored to suit the interests of the candidate.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>In order to achieve reliable and accurate characterisation of complex chemical products and devices at the nanometre spatial resolution acheivable by electron and ion beam microscopies, this requires (i) the optimisation of sample preparation methodologies; (ii) the development of new electron/ion beam scanning and shaping strategies; and (iii) the harnessing of new detector technologies for electron and ion beam microscopy. It requires reliable, calibrated methodologies to be developed for the study of the Structure, Chemistry and Dynamics of potentially sensitive materials at atomic and molecular spatial resolution in both two and three dimensions, within multiphase environments and with a radical improvement in state-of-the-art chemical sensitivity, whilst simultaneously minimizing beam-induced damage.</p> <p>In a collaboration with a European instrument manufacturer TESCAN, we are currently testing a new electron microscope (one of only two in the world) - a dedicated scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) capable of chemical mapping and combined diffractive imaging (so called 4D STEM) at the nanometre scale. This allows the detailed correlated imaging and mapping of crystal structure and strain (measured by electron diffraction) and its relationship to variations in chemical composition (measured by X-ray spectroscopy) in nanostructured materials. This information allows to understand how the fabrication and subsequent processing of materials is linked to the ultimate functional properties of the material, product or the device.</p> <p>The aim of the project overall is to develop techniques and demonstrate the application of 4D STEM techniques to a set of application areas drawn from materials science, solid state chemistry, condensed matter physics and potentially earth sciences. You will work alongside a well-established team in the <a href="">Leeds Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy (LEMAS) Centre</a> and also members of the <a href="">Bragg Centre for Materials Research</a>. This project will suit a self-motivated student with a Materials Science, Chemistry, Physics or Engineering background. The student will gain hands-on experience of a wide range of interdisciplinary research skills in state-of-the-art materials characterisation techniques, materials chemistry, materials physics, materials engineering as well as developing skills in data analysis, data processing methods and coding. The student will benefit from working in a vibrant and multidisciplinary environment with the <a href="">Bragg Centre for Materials Research</a> and will interact with staff and students across the different Schools.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study section that you are applying for <em><strong>EPSRC DTP Engineering &amp; Physical Sciences</strong></em> (if you do not apply to this programme code, your application will not be considered) and in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is&nbsp;<strong><em>Developing 4D Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy of Nanomaterials</em> </strong>as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Prof. Rik Drummond-Brydson</a> as your proposed supervisor. Please state in the Finance section that the funding source you are applying for is <em><strong>EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership 2024/25:&nbsp; Chemical &amp; Process Engineering</strong></em>.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Applications will be considered after the closing date. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. &nbsp;We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents in support of your application by the closing date of 29 April 2024:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p class="MsoNoSpacing">A highly competitive EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship offering the award of fees, together with a tax-free maintenance grant (currently &pound;18,622 for academic session 2023/24) for 3.5 years.&nbsp; Training and support will also be provided.</p> <p>This opportunity is open to all applicants.&nbsp; All candidates will be placed into the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.</p> <p>Please refer to the&nbsp;<a href="">UKCISA</a>&nbsp;website for&nbsp;information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information about this project, please contact Professor Rik Drummond-Brydson by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;</p> <p>For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>