NanoPrime: Maximising Equipment and Expertise Sharing in Nanoscience

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Chemistry

Abstract

The number of applications for advanced materials, such as structured nanomaterials and biomaterials, is steadily increasing across the UK and internationally. Nanomaterials are used extensively across a broad range of sectors such as aerospace, construction, electronics, energy and the biomedical industry. Biomaterials are essential components in targeting infectious diseases and cancers, realising the potential of regenerative medicine and the medical devices of the future. These materials are intelligently designed and require extensive characterisation as part of the product development process. In this proposal, we seek to establish a scheme (NanoPrime) that provides researchers with i) capability based training opportunities and ii) access to state-of-the-art instrumentation within the Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre (nmRC) at the University of Nottingham.

The vision of NanoPrime is to catalyse development of nanomaterials research through equipment and expertise sharing. The scheme will target proof of concept and pump priming projects that are often inhibited by a substantial initiation cost barrier, but have the potential for high impact and high value in the longer term. NanoPrime will initiate over 30 new research areas within the Engineering and Physical Sciences.
The nmRC is a key facility at the University of Nottingham, opened in 2016, with extensive infrastructure and instrumentation including electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, electron beam lithography, Raman and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy. The combination of instruments offered at the nmRC, along with its specialised cryogenic sample preparation capabilities, makes the nmRC globally unique and ideally positioned to promote an integrated approach to materials characterisation across the Engineering and Physical Sciences. Training events based on these technical capabilities will be hosted through NanoPrime, upskilling the UK materials science research base.

Planned Impact

Economic Impact:
A skills shortage in Materials Science has been identified in the UK science economy ('The Demand for Skills in the UK Science Economy' by the Science Industry Partnership (SIP), March 2016), an issue that is increasing in importance as the number of applications for advanced materials, such as nanomaterials and biomaterials, steadily rises. NanoPrime will directly address this by providing researchers with 1) a scheme to explore high-risk, high-gain projects with access to state of the instrumentation; and 2) by providing expert capability based training opportunities. NanoPrime will enable the co-creation of research programmes between HEI and research partner organisations, these will benefit companies by helping to mitigate some of the risk of undertaking fundamental and early stage applied research, providing a competitive advantage to the UK economy. In the last year, 25 industries from diverse sectors have utilised the nmRC's extensive instrumentation for research programmes, including: energy; aerospace and transport; optical technology, healthcare and pharmaceutical; construction, mining, surface and materials engineering; chemical and food industries. With such a high proportion of researchers and academic staff already collaborating with industrial partners, a high number of NanoPrime research initiatives will naturally translate to commercial applications and enhanced impact.
SIP has recognised that Materials Science is a 'key enabling technology' that will drive future growth. To address the skills shortage, 'upskilling of the existing scientific workforce' is a strategic objective and it is recommended that wider learning opportunities for key enabling technologies should be supported. NanoPrime will achieve this through its capability based learning events Ultimately, NanoPrime will enhance the UK's economic competitiveness in a number of Materials Science sectors and industries where, globally, there is an increasing focus on creating new advanced materials with unique functionalities.

Impact upon Society:
Projects seeded through NanoPrime will create impact of their own and, to exploit the opportunities within this, the NanoPrime events will be tailored to provide training on impact, outreach and engagement.
The multi-disciplinary spread of the users for NanoPrime impacts many sectors of research, particularly within applied disciplines and as such will impact society in a variety of ways.
For example, the ability of NanoPrime to enable research within the fields of pharmacy, tissue engineering and biomaterials will lead to the development of more effective drugs, controlled delivery systems, advanced biomaterials, and regenerative medicine technologies. These will produce improvements in the health and wellbeing of both UK and international society. Further materials science and physics related research areas including those within the field of graphene and semi-conductor research can also be enabled by NanoPrime ensuring that the UK remains competitive in state-of-the-art device manufacturing. Utilising both current and future academic links to industry internationally the impact of the research can be realised and implanted both within the UK and more widely.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Key outcomes of this project will be related to innovative use of nanoscale/microscale characterisation equipment for a wide range of research challenges.
Exploitation Route There are many possibilities (all will be clear later on in the project).
Sectors Other

URL https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/nmrc/nanoprime/
 
Description This project in an early stage. A wide spectrum impacts are expected from the Proof-of-Principle and Pump Priming projects supported by this grant. Importantly, we have developed and demonstrated effective mechanisms sharing instrumentation and expertise in nanomaterials imaging and analysis, as demonstrated by 41 projects carried out at the Nanoscale & Microscale Research Centre (www.nottingham.ac.uk/nmrc) supported by this award. This includes a number of cross-institutional and inter-disciplinary collaborations, with the following Universities who accessed our facilities and allied expertise in past 2 years: University of Sheffield Universidade do Porto (UdP) University of Lincoln University of Birmingham University of Strathclyde Loughborough University Uni of Helsinki Uni of Bath Aston University Ulm University Ulster University Uni of Geneva Ghent Uni Jordan University of Science and Technology Bristol University University of Edinburgh University of Warwick
 
Description High resolution, cryogenic analytical and transfer scanning electron microscope (HR-CAT-SEM)
Amount £1,564,542 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S021434/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2019 
End 03/2024
 
Description Alexander Knowles 
Organisation University of Birmingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution New low cost hydrogen storage materials by mechanistic understanding of activation and hydrogen cycling
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Alicja M Lacinska 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Optimising Sample Preparation for X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy Analysis of REE and Li in naturally-occurring materials
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Amanda Wright 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Nano-plasmonics for healthcare
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Angela Seddon 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Phase-mask for writing Bragg gratings to enable mid-infrared fibre lasing
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Antonino La Rocca 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Development of system for AI-driven automated 2D & 3D characterisation of soot nanoparticle morphology
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Belinda Colston 
Organisation University of Lincoln
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Nanoparticle-immobilized enzymes for applications in textile and paper conservation
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Elina Harriet Ahlgren 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Characterization of metal decorated two dimensional nanomaterials
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Faith Howard 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Surface characterisation of novel chemically conjugated magnetic nanomedicines
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Ifty Ahmed 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Department Faculty of Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Mechanisms of Fast Degrading Solid and Porous Glass Microspheres
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description James Murray 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Department Faculty of Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise and materials characterisation equipment at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Pulsed electron irradiation: preparation of nanocomposite powders for next generation additive manufacturing technologies
Impact Engineering, chemistry
Start Year 2018
 
Description Joe Emmings 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Nano-scale imaging of 'amorphous organic matter' in the Mississippian Bowland Shale Formation
Impact interdisciplinary collaboration
Start Year 2018
 
Description Jonathan Aylott 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Characterising Nanoscale Formulations of Anaesthesia Drugs
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Kenton Arkill 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Spatial and Structural Analysis of in-situ Lipid Composition
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Lucille Gallagher 
Organisation Ulster University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Characterisation of novel protein enriched milk powders using nanoscale bioimaging
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Mario Samperi 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Observing the Genesis of Supramolecular Nanofibres
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Mingwen Bai 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Conductive Diamond-Like Carbon Coatings for Your Future Smartphone
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Paul Roach 
Organisation Loughborough University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Systematic analysis of freezing-induced artefact formation in aligned collagen hydrogels
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Pierre Josso 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Raman spectroscopy characterisation of deep-sea Fe-Mn oxyhydroxides
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Rian Griffiths 
Organisation University of Birmingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution High resolution imaging of small molecule metabolites in human glioblastoma issue
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Steven Jansen 
Organisation University of Ulm
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution The three dimensional structure of porous walls in water conducting cells of wood
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Veeren Chauhan 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Department School of Pharmacy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Advanced Co-Formulation of Targeted Biologic Therapeutics
Impact Interdisciplinary collaboration with Universidade do Porto
Start Year 2018
 
Description Xianjin Cui 
Organisation University of Birmingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution Detection and identification of nanoplastics using surface enhanced Raman Spectroscopy
Impact still to come
Start Year 2018
 
Description Xuanli Luo 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Department Faculty of Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise and equipment for materials characterisation at the nmRC
Collaborator Contribution In Situ Study on the Phase Transformation of Mg30Zn60Y10 Quasicrystal for Hydrogen Storage
Impact interdisciplinary collaboration between engineering and physics
Start Year 2018
 
Description Equipment Event and launch of 3D OrbiSIMS 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A symposium to educate researchers in academia and industry about the new facility 3D OrbiSIMS launched at the nmRC (funded by the EPSRC equipment grant).
This new powerful analytical tool is first of it's kind in the academic setting in the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://twitter.com/hashtag/OrbiSIMSLaunch?src=hash
 
Description Science & Innovation 2018, conference and exhibition, QEII Centre, Westminster, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A talk about nmRC research model and NanoPrime scheme for a broad audience of UK HEIs representatives responsible for research policy and business engagement, and several UK companies. Sharing good practice with other UK universities in managing collaborative cross-disciplinary research centers such as nmnRC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://science-innovation.co.uk/
 
Description Understanding Your XPS Instrument workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Two workshops have been supported by NanoPrime to improve knowledge of XPS in the research community.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/nmrc