Photoelectron spectroscopy and microscopy using synchrotron radiation for exploiting diamond surfaces and interfaces

Lead Research Organisation: Aberystwyth University
Department Name: Inst of Mathematical and Physical Sci

Abstract

This project involves the application of advanced x-ray characterisation methods optimised for the study of carbon-based materials to address key fundamental issues in diamond science and technology. Diamond has emerged in recent years as a functional wide-gap semiconducting material largely enabled by advances in diamond synthesis to a level of quality that has reached that of more conventional crystalline semiconductors. In spite of its structural similarity to these materials, diamond has consistently exhibited unique properties such as its high thermal conductivity, thermal and radiation stability and negative electron affinity that enable niche and new electronic and optoelectronic applications. There remain many practical issues to resolve in diamond electronics (e.g. efficient low resistance and rectifying contacts, optimised n-type doping and control of thermal and chemical processes) and there is a need for better understanding of new phenomenon and applications (e.g. transfer doping, nanodiamond sensors and quantum storage). This background provides an ideal set of challenges for a project student equipped with the appropriate tools in the form of complementary characterisation methods (X-ray Absorption Spectroscsopy, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy and X-ray Photoelectron Microscopy) that can be applied in-situ to probe the interplay between energy levels, chemistry and local structure with high energy, temporal and spatial resolution. Solutions to the practical issues will ensure a high probability of generating useful data for the PhD programme while the application of techniques operating with the brightest sources coupled to the most efficient experimental probes and detectors will ensure an equal likelihood of discovering new science.
 
Description We have discovered a new method for producing graphene using diamond as both the source of carbon atoms and the crystal template. This was achieved by understanding the catalytic conversion from sp3 to sp2 carbon and controlling the reaction to grow high quality 2-dimensional films. The work has resulted in journal papers, presentations at international conferences and the submission of a PhD thesis for the project student.
Exploitation Route For graphene production, the method uses a lower temperature than others (500C) and can be used to selectively define the areas of growth. For diamond cutting tools, it provides new insights into the mechanism for failure for cutting ferrous metals. It has potential use for understanding of the iron-carbon system for the metal/steel industry and longer term importance in quantum computing and spintronics as it involves three of the key materials - doped diamond, iron and graphene.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description The science findings have been used as the basis of a patent for graphene manufacture and for lectures to schools, organisations and also for radio and TV programmes in English and in Welsh.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Education,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description CDT in Diamond Science and Technology
Amount £4,500,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/L015315/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2014 
End 09/2022
 
Description ERDF
Amount £5,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation Government of Wales 
Department Welsh European Funding Office
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2016 
End 12/2020
 
Description SPARC II 
Organisation Bangor University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is a successful bid for funding by WEFO bringing together researchers from three universities in Wales to build research capacity in solar energy research. The Aberystwyth contribution is to provide specialist techniques including photoelectron spectroscopy and synchrotron radiation for the study of interfaces crucial to the performance of the next generation solar energy devices.
Collaborator Contribution Partners cover all aspects of solar energy research from materials to devices to packages.
Impact Plans for grant applications, joint papers and new collaborations
Start Year 2016
 
Description SPARC II 
Organisation Swansea University
Department College of Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is a successful bid for funding by WEFO bringing together researchers from three universities in Wales to build research capacity in solar energy research. The Aberystwyth contribution is to provide specialist techniques including photoelectron spectroscopy and synchrotron radiation for the study of interfaces crucial to the performance of the next generation solar energy devices.
Collaborator Contribution Partners cover all aspects of solar energy research from materials to devices to packages.
Impact Plans for grant applications, joint papers and new collaborations
Start Year 2016
 
Title Methods of Producing Graphene 
Description New method for producing graphene on diamond using transition metal catalysts 
IP Reference WO2013038130 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2012
Licensed No
Impact increased contact with academic and industrial groups
 
Description National Eisteddfod 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact IOP funding supported an EPSRC CDT - linked activity on diamond and graphene where staff and students from Aberystwyth spent a week at the Science Pavilion at the National Eisteddfod in August 2015. Visitors were given the opportunity to build molecular structures from sp2 and sp3 carbon atoms and Prof Evans delivered a demonstration talk outside the pavilion on the topic of synthetic diamond and graphene. The pavilion attracted visitors such as the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, the chief scientific advisor to the Welsh Government, Julie Williams and the CEO of the Diamond Light Source, Andrew Harrison. The activity was there for each of the 8 days and the pavilion attracted over 20,000 visitors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Radio Wales 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact radio programme on Radio Wales

further newspaper articles
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01nyq6g
 
Description Royal Society Summer Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Exhibit led by Warwick university involving members of the EPSRC CDT in Diamond Science and Technology
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Science Pavilion at the National Eisteddfod of Wales 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A diamond crystal model formed part of the university display within the Science and Technology Pavilion at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Abergavenny in August 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description WWAYS 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talk encouraged further visits from schools and inspired materials science as a university choice for one student.

after the talk, students requested a visit to the laboratory
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description graphene press release 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact press release led to radio newspaper and web coverage

local organisations invited talks
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://article.wn.com/view/2013/03/06/Graphene_breakthrough_Aberystwyth_University/