University of Manchester Experimental Equipment Call

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Chemistry

Abstract

We request support for seven equipment bundles which have been identified as strategically important against the University of Manchester priorities in Advanced Materials, Energy, Physical Sciences and Industrial Biotechnology. They represent a diverse range of research activities which cut across both the EPSRC remit in health, energy, transport, environment, food, communication and consumer products, as well as scientific themes within the Emerging Technologies and Industry Strategy announced by Innovate UK TSB in November 2014 and H2020.
All equipment will be managed to maximise institutional, regional, national and international impact, in close collaboration with a broad range of industry partners.
The seven theme areas are:
Refreshment of the Raman Spectroscopy Centre for Advanced Materials (UoM1): To continue to develop the University's leading research on advanced materials, interfaces and optoelectronic devices. These new spectrometers together with the enhancement of a existing triple diffractometer with a state-of-the-art, tuneable laser will form the core of a new University-wide Raman Research Centre.
A Translational Facility for the Characterisation of Soft Matter (UoM2): This will support research activities across Engineering & Physical Sciences, Medical & Human Sciences and Life Sciences) encompassing blue sky research and industrially relevant projects. This new facility spans different levels of scale and different time points in industrial production and will provide information on molecular shape and size and molecular interactions and formulated product stability.
THz On-Wafer Advanced Materials Characterisation Facility (UoM3): This will enable material properties to be determined at frequencies up to 500GHz or 0.5THz and for the extraction of material properties and equivalent circuits. The proposed bundle will allow Manchester to extend the eminent position it has on RF on-wafer probing measurement science as well as impact the materials science undertaken by users of the facility.
'Low Level Radiometrics' (UoM4): This will enable of quantification of radioactive emissions, whether alpha, beta or gamma, down to very low levels and locating radioactivity with up to sub-micron spatial resolution on (and potentially in) samples of solids and liquids. The localisation and quantitative detection of radiation and radioactive materials is a fundamental part of almost all experimental nuclear research.
Reaction Kinetics Equipment Suite (UoM5): Will support chemical synthesis at lab and pilot scale in the Schools of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science (SCEAS) and Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB). It will create a mobile suite of equipment for the detection of reactive intermediates and compound characterisation, supporting fundamental cross-disciplinary research from advanced materials to industrial biotechnology.
Field-Emission Electron Probe Micro-Analyser (UoM6): Electron Probe Micro-Analysis (EPMA) is the gold standard for quantitative elemental analysis and is a core requirement for the characterisation of solid phases over large areas. Using wavelength dispersive x-ray (WDX) spectrometers, EPMA provides elemental analyses typically from Z=5 (boron) upwards with sensitivity of 0.01% or better. A new class of instrument, using a Schottky field emission gun (FEG), now enables quantitative analysis at 100-200 nm for transition elements, with 200-300 nm for light elements such as boron. The proposed new instrument, with greatly improved capabilities, will allow Manchester to maintain and expand its position in advanced materials science.
nm Scale Resolution Scanning Cathodoluminescence System (UoM7): The system allows unprecedented levels of characterisation for electronic and photonic materials. Most critically it will enable correlation of structural (atomic) and electronic properties via light emission processes.

Planned Impact

The requested equipment bundles represent a diverse range of research activities which cut across both the EPSRC remit in health, energy, transport, environment, food, communication and consumer products, as well as scientific themes within the Emerging Technologies and Industry Strategy announced by Innovate UK TSB in November 2014 and H2020.

Our approach to Impact can be considered under the following heading: (i) managing for impact and sustainability; (ii) scientific excellence, (iii) training the next generation of scientists; (iv) industry-specific Impact; (v) a collective approach to commercial exploitation; (vi) support to government and (vii) impact through outreach and public engagement.
Managing for Impact and Sustainability: We require that all equipment be managed to maximise institutional, regional, national and international impact. For example each bundle will be integrated onto the N8 database of assets (www.n8equipment.ac.uk), describing the equipment in detail and providing contact details or access. Appropriate facilities to host individual equipment bundles have been identified within the university. In each case individual local technical support and training will be provided and individual experimental officers identified. Appropriate access funding models will be utilised based on previous experience as detailed within the individual proposals.

Scientific Excellence: The bundles selected for submission by the University have undergone critical internal peer review involving senior colleagues across all relevant faculties and schools. A key stage gate criterion is the academic track record of the applicants and the proposed quality of science enabled by the proposed equipment bundle.

Training the next generation of scientists: Individual bundles will support the training of next generation PhD, for example through EPSRC DTC's, and postdoctoral researchers in the relevant state of the art techniques. Provision is provided through close industry collaboration for the training of industry collaborators and for the translation of new techniques from academe to industry.

Industry Specific Impact: In all cases links to industry are embedded within all the proposals submitted covering fundamental and blue sky through to strategically applied. This should not be confused with a mere service to industry, which will also be enabled by these facilities

Collective approach to commercial exploitation: Manchester Intellectual Property (UMIP) is the University's agent for IP commercialization through which staff is encouraged to work closely to: record and evaluate of research for potential commercialization; promote strategic opportunities from UMIP and its partners; and recommend and develop commercialization and facilitate negotiations. Through the 2012 £3.2m EPSRC Impact Accelerator Account and Knowledge Transfer Partnership the University maximises economic and social impact by ensuring we deliver research and expertise effectively and efficiently.

Support to Government: Key academics supported by this equipment contribute substantially to the work of Government and allied bodies. Examples of such activities include: Deputy Chair of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management and membership of: RCUK Energy Programme Scientific Advisory Committee; UK Government's Nuclear Industry Council and Cabinet Office High Impact Threats Advisory Group.

Outreach: Where appropriate we encourage outreach and public engagement. For example we have developed a very successful integrated approach to outreach and impact across the nuclear research portfolio, 'Low level radiometrics' bundle'. Activities have ranged from the EPSRC-sponsored Impact! art exhibition through 'Meet the Nuclear Scientists' events to provision of advice to industry, regulators and Government.
 
Description The main achievement of the award was to make the instrument available to general users with all required technical and operational support in place.

The award objectives were met in full; thus the equipment was procured, delivered, installed, and brought to operational specification. Operators were trained, test samples were analysed and the wider UK EPMA community was made aware of the unique capabilities of the instrument.
Exploitation Route The wider UK EPMA community are aware of the unique capabilities of the instrument and it is available for use by external academic users and by industry.
Sectors Other

 
Description The instrument/equipment forms a core part of the Manchester Materials Characterisation Facility and hence will contribute over many years generically to multiple outcomes, although it is unlikely to be the sole contributor to any specific impact. Key challenges were (i) installation of the instrument/equipment, (ii) achieving reliable operation to specification and (iii) user/operator training - these were all achieved by February 2017. The equipment is now available for general booking by users across the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Manchester, by external academic users and by industry.
First Year Of Impact 2017
 
Description NERC - Advanced Training Short Course - EPMA for Earth and Environmental Science
Amount £114,966 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/P020232/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2017 
End 03/2019
 
Description BP analytical services 
Organisation BP (British Petroleum)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Analysis of geological samples for BP
Collaborator Contribution Financial support to run and operate instrument
Impact None
Start Year 2016
 
Description JEOL EPMA UK user group 
Organisation Jeol UK Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Hosted the JEOL UK user meeting at Manchester; access to the instrument for demonstration to potential users
Collaborator Contribution JEOL UK provided modest financial assistance for the meeting
Impact None
Start Year 2016
 
Description NERC advanced training course 
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 Graduate level training course held in Bristol hosted by Dr. Stuart Kearns, University of Bristol. Raised awareness of the use of the EPMA technique for minerals and materials analysis.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016