Renewal and Development of the Leeds EPSRC Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Equipment Facility (LENNF)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Chemical and Process Engineering

Abstract

This proposal aims to provide significant external access (a total of 140 days over 3 years) to state-of-the-art instrumentation as well as appropriate expertise for nanotechnology researchers specialising in both inorganic nanosystems and also in hybrid inorganic/ organic systems / i.e. bionanotechnology. Accessible facilities will include a synergistic ("one stop shop") combination of inter-related basic techniques for both characterisation and structural and device fabrication: environmental and low voltage scanning electron microscopy (ESEM and LVSEM); atomic force microscopy (AFM); transmission electron microscopy (TEM); X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS); focused ion beam (FIB) and electron beam lithography (EBL) together with associated cleanroom access. We believe that this integrated analytical approach will ultimately provide a much more productive service both in terms of overall scientific understanding and also productivity, as opposed to the piecemeal provision of many separate specialist activities. We also believe that, as a grouping, we possess the combined experience and facilities to deliver this fully integrated service successfully and efficiently. In addition we would also offer access to some unique specialist facilities such as: a variable temperature, UHV STM: a combined SEM and 4 STM Nanoprober for four point electrical measurements: a combined TEM-STM holder (Nanofactory): a Nanoman virtual reality AFM/ Nanomanipulator: and Magnetic tweezers.

Planned Impact

The provision of funding to support a free-at-point-of-access user facility will ensure a high external utilisation factor for existing, high-value, capital equipment at Leeds, with the income ensuring that this equipment is well supported in terms of staff, and well maintained and upgraded where appropriate. The impact of the investment for UK users would be monitored by an external Steering Committee using a set of key performance indicators and impact would be maximised via our active advertising and outreach campaign targeting, for instance, workshops for DTCs in Nanoscience, Energy, Materials as well as advertising at appropriate conferences. Training events would be continued. The combined facilities would be coordinated actively to attract the best science and that which is most relevant to the RCUK thematic areas, and to act as a "feeder" for larger, more specialised characterisation facilities such as SuperSTEM, NEXUS (XPS), Diamond and ISIS. Hence, the activity will be designed to be complementary to, not competing with, medium scale facilities. To help promote access to its facilities, Leeds has made all its >1000 pieces of equipment (>£25k) externally visible through: https://esms.leeds.ac.uk/, and is currently populating this with technical descriptions/photographs - this will draw additional users into LENFF. The University is also working with regional partners in the N8 to develop methodologies for improved asset sharing.

Publications

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Costa L (2017) Liquid-Liquid Interfacial Imaging Using Atomic Force Microscopy in Advanced Materials Interfaces

 
Description Original LENNF grant 2008-2013 promoted collaborative research via free at point of use access to specialist equipment and expertise at the University of Leeds: the initial 3.5 years of LENNF led to: a total of 156 (68 unique) users, from > 25 institutions and an allocation of over 400 instrument days; support for over 110 EPSRC grants of facility users; a total of 48 journal publications with users (including the Nature, ACS, J. Phys Chem and Acta groups); a total of 11 joint grant applications with users with specific access costs included; training of ca. 40 Ph.D. students in related DTCs across the UK through student workshops in 2010 & 2011. This continued during the LENNF renewal 2013-2016 with over 40 plus more papers (many more in the pipeline), two further LENNF schools covering > 40 students and many many more external users form across UK academia. The grant has allowed the development of expertise in materials characterisation and has cemented longstanding collaborations with users.
Exploitation Route It depends on individual user
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport

URL http://www.nanotechnology.leeds.ac.uk/lennf/
 
Description The original LENNF grant has a good track record of promoting collaborative research: the initial 3.5 years of LENNF led to: a total of 156 (68 unique) users, from > 25 institutions and an allocation of over 400 instrument days; support for over 110 EPSRC grants of facility users; a total of 48 journal publications with users (including the Nature, ACS, J. Phys Chem and Acta groups); a total of 11 joint grant applications with users with specific access costs included; training of ca. 40 Ph.D. students in related DTCs across the UK through student workshops in 2010 & 2011. This continued during the LENNF renewal 2013-2016 with over 40 plus more papers (many more in the pipeline), two further LENNF schools covering > 40 students and many many more external users form across UK academia. Following the end of the grant, many collaborators continued to use the facility and we covered some of this usage with some Sir Henry Royce Institute recurrent funding in 2017/18. In late 2017 we submitted a successful proposal to the EPSRC equipment sharing scheme which has awarded a further 2 years of funding for access to Electron Microscopy, XPS and Cleanroom activities under the LENNF umbrella. This new grant will commence later in 2018.
First Year Of Impact 2008
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Title Data associated with 'Liquid-liquid interfacial imaging using atomic force microscopy' 
Description Dataset associated with the publication "Effect of heparin and heparan sulphate on open promoter complex formation for a simple tandem gene model system using ex-situ atomic force microscopy". The dataset includes the raw AFM images and statistical analysis. It is divided into six parts associated with the following AFM imaging data collected on: 1) cleaved mica; 2) polysaccharide heparin deposited on mica; 3) polysaccharide heparan sulphate deposited on mica; 4) the DNA template with and without the polysaccharides; 5) RNA polymerase with and without the polysaccharides; 6) Open promoter complexes with and without the polysaccharides. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Description Annual Royal Microscopical Society School in Elecron Microscopy - every Spring or Summer 2008 onwards 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Week long Training School for users of the technique
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019,2020
 
Description Attendance at Microscience Microscience Microscopy Congresses MMC2013, 2015 and 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Attendance and presentation at conferences
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2015,2017
URL https://www.mmc-series.org.uk/
 
Description Be Curious Science Outreach event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Microscopy Talk, Activities and Display at Be Curious Festival at University of Leeds, March 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.leeds.ac.uk/info/4000/around_campus/460/be_curious_festival-about_leeds_and_yorkshire