Synthesis and applications of quantum dots based on transition metal dichalcogenides

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


The project will be performed under supervision and at the premises of Nanoco, the company which has been specialising on quantum dots synthesis for more than a decade. Recently the company, in collaboration with the National Graphene Institute, has developed a process for synthesis of MoS2 quantum dots.

The student will be developing the synthesis further, will be involved in characterisation of the quantum dots and building devices (light emitting diodes and single photon emitters for quantum telecommunication technologies) based on such quantum dots. We will also try to expand the range of applications of the quantum dots towards catalysis and energy harvesting.

Furthermore, we will try to synthesise quantum dots based on other transition metal dichalcogenides, such as WS2 and WSe2. We will also try production of heterogeneous quantum dots by creating sandwich quantum dots from different materials.

Planned Impact

The proposed CDT is expected to have a high impact on the supply of the next generation of academic and industrial leaders, knowledge transfer and academic research.

The most important impact is providing highly educated, skilled specialists capable of carrying on research which crosses traditional boundaries between disciplines. The Science and Applications of Graphene and Related Nanomaterials is now widely acknowledged as an area of great potential for economic growth in the UK, Europe and beyond. The need to develop graphene-based technology has been recognized by recent large-scale investments from UK and European governments, including £61M for the creation of National Graphene Institute (NGI) at Manchester and £21M EPSRC investment in graphene engineering across the UK. Numerous companies (IBM, Intel, Samsung, LG, BASF, Lockeed Martin, Oxford Instruments, VARTA, FIAT, etc.) specialising in electronics, energy storage, sensors, displays, packaging and separation techniques have joined the race and are investing heavily in development of graphene-based technologies. The latest development is the award of the EC-FET Graphene Flagship funding by the European Commission. The success of this strategic EU initiative (Euro1 billion over the next 10 years), aiming to support the UK and European industries, will depend on the availability of specialists with intimate knowledge of various aspects of graphene-based systems, first-hand experience in research on graphene and 2D materials, and related nanotechnologies. GrapheneNOWNANO will train such specialists.

The proposed CDT brings together the experience and skills of UoM and LU staff from across engineering and physical sciences (physics, chemistry, materials, chemical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering and computer science) and medical and life sciences and will benefit postgraduate researchers in all these disciplines. It will further enhance and support the successful research base at UoM and LU and facilitate further developments in the science and applications of 2D materials. We will disseminate new knowledge and best practice in training via annual Summer Conferences and at least one international Summer School encompassing research in graphene and related nanomaterials, which will be open to young researchers in the UK and Europe.

GrapheneNOWNANO will engage directly with UK, European and international companies from a broad line-up of industries interested in developing graphene applications: 15 companies have already made firm commitments to work with the new CDT, including funding students, working on joint projects, hosting secondments and training within industrial environment, participating in commercialization training. Through these interactions, the proposed CDT will play an important part in maximizing the impact of 2D materials research in the North West of England and the wider world, accelerating innovation and transforming the blue-sky studies of these new materials into innovation.

The CDT will work on raising the awareness of the general public about the academic and industrial developments and the importance of research for the society and the economy. We will do this through participating in a variety of dissemination and outreach events (eg Big Bang fair, RS Summer Exhibition, Science Festivals, Science and Engineering weeks, visits to local schools), thus enhancing the grasp of science by the wider public, but in particular encouraging young people to pursue a science/engineering based career.


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