Experimental Equipment Call - University of Leeds

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sch of Computing

Abstract

The objective of this proposal is to refresh and update key items of experimental equipment in activities aligned to proven strengths and critical mass in Medical Engineering and Advanced Materials at the University of Leeds.
The Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering hosts the largest and most advanced musculoskeletal simulation facility in the world. The new simulators will support three of our strategic research challenges: longer lasting joint replacements; regenerative devices and biological scaffolds for tissue repair; and, advanced simulation systems for virtual analysis and design and preclinical testing. They will deliver enhanced functionality, allowing the development and introduction of SAFER (Stratified Approaches For Enhanced Reliability) simulation methods to address the requirements of stratified and personalized medical devices, biomaterials and scaffolds. The simulators will be used for research into the tribology and wear of artificial joints, validation of novel computational methods for prediction of function, studies of wear debris and supporting biocompatibility research and studies of the tribology of biological scaffolds in natural joints, using recently developed methods.
Our research in terahertz (THz) frequency electronics and photonics is internationally leading by any criterion. Much of this activity requires a state-of-the-art and dedicated MBE semiconductor growth system. The new MBE system will allow us to protect the UK's international reputation in this field and, in particular, in the growth and exploitation of THz frequency quantum cascade lasers (QCLs). Over the next five years we will: develop state-of-the-art THz QCLs across the 1-5 THz range, maximizing operating temperature, continuous-wave performance, output power, and gain bandwidth; develop THz QCLs engineered into robust device architectures for use as, for example, local oscillators in earth-observation and planetary science missions; develop compact bench-top QCL-based technologies producing intense, narrowband and precisely controllable pulses for non-linear THz science; and, develop self-organised quantum rod structures for cavity-QED experiments, and new optically-pumped, vertical-cavity surface-emitting room temperature THz lasers.
The Leeds Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy (LEMAS) Centre is a highly successful shared electron microscopy facility. It has high visibility nationally (providing an EPSRC open access scheme for external users since 2008) and internationally (leading the consortium that formed the UK facility at SuperSTEM Daresbury). One of the next great challenges is apply high-resolution imaging and microanalytical techniques to beam sensitive materials, including advanced hybrid materials comprising organic and inorganic components. These are increasingly employed to develop new device and product functionalities. The specification of the new microscope is unique and designed to enable fast mapping of frozen specimens at high accelerating voltage to preserve their chemistry and structure whilst extracting nanostructural information.
We are internationally recognised in spintronics and magnetic materials, with recent appointments extending our materials expertise to include organic molecules, piezoelectrics, topological insulators and superconductors. The new deposition tool will ensure we can continue to supply top quality thin film materials to the UK and internationally, as well as underpinning a general theme of spintronic meta-materials. The functional properties of meta-materials emerge through the design and engineering of the constituent material combinations. With our broad background that includes the ability to structure materials at the nanoscale so that cooperative behaviour arises, we will apply this capability to questions in strategic areas such as quantum effects for new technology, beyond CMOS electronics, energy efficient electronics, and new tools for healthcare.

Planned Impact

The research engendered through these investments will provide wide benefit both within the UK and internationally, and includes economic and societal benefits. It will also enhance the skills-base of UK researchers. Illustrative examples are given here, with further examples and more detail provided in the Pathways to Impact.

Economic impact: The University of Leeds has a longstanding track record of translating research to industrial end-users though direct collaboration, licencing of IP, and spin-out, and this has formed a proven model for future translational activity. Alongside direct engagement through established company collaborations, impact and long-term sustainability will be maximized by developing new activity with industry. This will be achieved in part using the resources of the University's innovation hubs, in conjunction with the University's Research and Innovation Service, which deliver knowledge transfer activities in focused industrial sector areas, exploiting HEIF and other funding. Our new Innovation and Enterprise Centre will further stimulate collaboration between external companies, and public and private organizations, and the university; it will also significantly increase our accommodation for technology-led company incubation and provide an active business incubation programme. The 'North-East Quarter' development will embed shared and incubator space adjacent to the Schools involved in this bid.

Skills: Access to the refreshed equipment will enhance the skills and training of four groups of individuals in particular:
1. Post-doctoral research assistants (PDRAs) working on collaborative projects will gain higher-level skills. Typically 80% of PDRAs move on to future careers in industry or public/government bodies that will benefit from the enhanced experience derived.
2. The equipment will support the research training and skills of PhD students funded through our EPSRC DTP and Case awards, and our EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) where there is a particular focus on innovation and translation. These include four Leeds-based CDTs (Complex Particulate Products & Processes, Molecular-Scale Engineering, Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine, and Bioenergy), and partner CDTs (Soft Matter & Functional Interfaces, Integrated Tribology, Next Generation Nuclear, and Carbon Capture & Storage).
3. Industry collaborators, who will gain advanced knowledge, and for whom we will provide specialised training (e.g. for customers of Simulation Solutions in industry, government and academia).
4. Undergraduate and postgraduate students who undertake individual and group projects embedded in the Leeds research groups; the refreshed equipment will enhance their training, skills and employability.
The University is also committed to support the training, development and career progression of technical staff who operate, support and manage these high-level technical facilities.

Wider Societal Benefits: Our work here has wide societal benefit - two illustrative examples include: 1. Terahertz frequency quantum cascade laser-based satellite instrumentation for measurement of key atmospheric species will inform understanding of the chemistry and energy balance of the upper atmosphere, their connection with global climate change, and its resulting societal impact. 2. The ageing population has clear expectations of remaining mobile and healthy, with ambitions of 'fifty active years after fifty'. Our research on SAFER devices and interventions supports this: patients will benefit from more reliable, longer lasting interventions; NHS and policy makers will benefit through more effective, reliable and cost effective treatments; and, the international standards authority (ISO) will benefit from our research outputs and knowledge, and we will input draft standards and enhancements to existing standards.

Publications

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Abdelgaied A (2017) A comparison between electromechanical and pneumatic-controlled knee simulators for the investigation of wear of total knee replacements. in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of engineering in medicine

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Abdelgaied A (2018) A comprehensive combined experimental and computational framework for pre-clinical wear simulation of total knee replacements. in Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials

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Al-Hajjar M (2017) Wear of composite ceramics in mixed-material combinations in total hip replacement under adverse edge loading conditions. in Journal of biomedical materials research. Part B, Applied biomaterials

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Ali M (2016) Influence of hip joint simulator design and mechanics on the wear and creep of metal-on-polyethylene bearings. in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of engineering in medicine

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Bowland P (2018) Simple geometry tribological study of osteochondral graft implantation in the knee. in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of engineering in medicine

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Brockett CL (2017) PEEK and CFR-PEEK as alternative bearing materials to UHMWPE in a fixed bearing total knee replacement: An experimental wear study. in Wear : an international journal on the science and technology of friction lubrication and wear

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Brockett CL (2017) PEEK and CFR-PEEK as alternative bearing materials to UHMWPE in a fixed bearing total knee replacement: An experimental wear study. in Wear : an international journal on the science and technology of friction lubrication and wear

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Brockett CL (2016) The influence of simulator input conditions on the wear of total knee replacements: An experimental and computational study. in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of engineering in medicine

 
Description Through the EPSRC Experimental Equipment Call, a new molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) system was purchased for growth of III-V semiconductors, complementing and extending the capability within the University, which was being provided by a system that was over 10 years old. The availability of state-of-the-art MBE growth has underpinned a number of new awards, including:

EP/R00501X/1, The physics of plasmonic gain in low-dimensional electronic systems, PI Cunningham, EPSRC Responsive, £527, 764, 1/12/2017 - 5/3/2021 (and the complementary theory grant at Imperial (PI O Sydoruk, EP/R004994/1, £364,232)).

EP/P021859/1, HyperTerahertz - High precision terahertz spectroscopy and microscopy, PI Davies, EPSRC Programme, £6,517,861, 1/06/2017 - 31/5/2022

EP/P001394/1, Ti:Sapphire Regenerative Amplified Laser System for ultrafast, high-field terahertz photonics, PI Dean, EPSRC Equipment (but the MBE provides the material for emitters and detectors), £451,951, 1/08/2016 - 31/7/2021

EC H2020 FET OPEN 'MIR-BOSE', 737017, Mid- and far-IR optoelectronic devices based on Bose-Einstein condensation, led by Universite Paris-Sud, 1/01/2017-31/12/2020

Research outputs will be, and are being, reported against these grants, as they arise.

Through the same EPSRC experimental equipment call, a new Cryo-enabled TEM/STEM with high solid angle EDS detector and dual EELS was provide to replace a system that was 20 years old. This and related equipment in the Leeds Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy centre has approximately 450 users and has supported numerous grant proposals (EPSRC, BBSRC, NERC, EU) from users. It is also being used by external users as part of the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials access scheme and as part of EP/R02863X/1 The Leeds EPSRC Nanoscience and Nanoequipment User Facility
Exploitation Route Details on taking the findings forward and use by others can be found under the outputs reported for each of the research grants listed above that are making use of the new equipment at the University provided by the EPSRC Experimental Equipment Call.
Sectors Chemicals,Electronics,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description LENNF Facility
Amount £200,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2018 
End 06/2018
 
Title Allicona Optical profiler commissioning 
Description Provides 3D surface profilometry measurements on surface finish including form in a high vertical resolution. 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - in vitro 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Surface roughness measurement is important in terms of implant performance for preclinical testing of devices and assessment of damage after testing. 
 
Title Ankle simulator commissioning 
Description Simulation of total ankle replacement wear in vitro 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - in vitro 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Ankle specific kinematics and loading available for the first time with physiological and clinically relevant loads and motions. Provides more realistic pre-clinical testing of devices for industry, surgeons, researchers and ultimately patients leading to longer lasting joint replacement implants. 
 
Title Assessment of the wear of cartilage using Optical Profilometry 
Description Measurement of wear of cartilage in natural tissue simulation (cartilage on cartilage) simple configuration and whole joint simulation using optical profilometry. 
Type Of Material Biological samples 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Presented at conferences, will enable cartilage wear measurement in more detail, more precisely. 
 
Title BOSE electroforce instrument commissioning 
Description Commissioning of BOSE elecroforce testing instrument 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - in vitro 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact BOSE electroforce will allow investigation of mechanical forces on cells cultured in 3D tissue engineered constructs e.g. neural cells in hydrogel scaffolds for spinal cord injury repair - currently in use by EPSRC funded PhD studnets, MSc and undergraduate students from across two faculties. 
 
Title Class II cabinet commissioning 
Description Class II safety cabinet for mammalian cell culture, tissue and organ culture 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - in vitro 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Provides class II facilities for researchers, PhD students, MSc students and undergraduates from across two faculties. Also used in teaching class for MSc students learning basic cell culture techniques 
 
Title Histology equipment and Tissue Processor commisssioning 
Description Commissioning of tissue processor and histology equipment for tissue engineering research utilising acellular natural scaffolds. 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - in vitro 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Supports numerous EPSRC funded PhD projects, MSc and undergraduates from across two faculties in the University (faculty of biological sciences and faculty of engineering). 
 
Title Dataset Associated with 'Deconvolution of Rashba and Dresselhaus spin-orbit coupling by crystal axis dependent measurements of coupled InAs/GaSb quantum wells' 
Description The Dresselhaus spin-orbit interaction is expected to perturb the quantum spin Hall phase predicted to arise within InAs/GaSb coupled quantum wells. To gain a greater understanding of this interaction, the spin-orbit coupling in two InAs/GaSb coupled quantum well samples, grown along the [001] axis, was investigated along three different in-plane crystallographic axes. By measuring the crystallographic axis dependence of the Dresselhaus spin orbit coupling, we can deconvolute this coupling from the spin splitting arising from axis-invariant Rashba spin-orbit coupling. We find that the Dresselhaus parameter is robust against an external gate bias and small changes in growth conditions, with an associated Dresselhaus parameter of (0.20±0.08)×10^-11 eVm being measured across all samples and top gate bias conditions. In addition, we show that the asymmetries associated with the coupled quantum well structure, leading to Rashba spin-orbit coupling, are likely to play a dominant role in determining the spin-orbit interaction experienced by a quantum spin Hall state as the system is tuned towards charge neutrality. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Description Ankle simulator - Corin Collaboration 
Organisation Corin Group PLC
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Academics conducting collaborative research using equipment funded by the CDT Capital Equipment award through a case award (PhD studentship).
Collaborator Contribution Provided support for the research to both the school and student and provided implants for testing.
Impact Multidisciplinary collaboration between engineers, surgeons, biologists
Start Year 2013
 
Description FEI Titan 
Organisation FEI company
Department FEI United Kingdom
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Electron Microscopy of Organic Crystals for Pharmaceutical applications - investigation of methodologies for high resolution imaging and analysis
Collaborator Contribution Application of techniques developed for FEI to the study of Pharmaceutical materials
Impact Various conference papers and talks so far. Also has involved PhD studentships and consultancy work with AstraZeneca and Haldor Topsoe, Denmark
Start Year 2016
 
Description Quorum Cryo-liftout 
Organisation Quorum Review- Independent Review Board
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaboration with company Quorum on in-situ liftout of frozen TEM samples
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration with company Quorum on in-situ liftout of frozen TEM samples
Impact none so far
Start Year 2017
 
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 BBC Radio 4 interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview on Nanogold on BBC Radio 4 Inside Science Broadcast 5 March at 16.30 GMT
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000fw1n
 
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