Probing Molecules Confined Between Graphene and Other 2D Materials

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

Understanding molecular organization and dynamics which are governed by electrostatic and electrodynamics interactions requires the measurement of dielectric polarization at the molecular level. Yet, this has remained a technical challenge owing to the limited sensitivity of available large-scale techniques such as broadband dielectric spectroscopy [1]. Furthermore, despite the advances in atomistic calculations, theorists struggle to predict dielectric polarization when the system approaches molecular sizes [2,3]. This research project focuses on the measurement of dielectric properties of molecules at the nanoscale by using scanning probe techniques [4,5]. In particular, we will experimentally determine the dielectric properties of nanoconfined molecules which are expected to differ markedly as compared to the dielectric properties of molecules in bulk [2,3]. To this end, during the first year of the PhD project, we will explore the possibility of using two-dimensional (2D) materials to physically confine the molecules [6] and probe their dielectric properties at the nanoscale and in a non-perturbative way by developing and using customized scanning probe approaches [5].
This first part of the project will require the development of special 2D samples suitable for dielectric measurement. We will then structurally characterize them using a variety of experimental techniques (optical microscopy, electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy). After that, nanoscale dielectric measurements will be carried out to study the dielectric properties of the confined molecules. Work is expected to be carried out using the facilities of the National Graphene Institute (NGI).

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509565/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1963442 Studentship EP/N509565/1 05/09/2017 30/09/2021 James Normansell