Investigation into the Electronic & Opto-Electronic Properties of Pristine and Doped BN Nanotubes

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Materials


The focus of this work is to establish novel chemical means to generate low-dimensional nanostructures, their characterisation, and implementation in device technologies. The properties of carbon nanotubes and other nanowire-like structures, are strictly controlled by the chemical composition and structure. The Nanomaterials by Design research team has made much progress with the larger scale production of carbon nanotubes and doped carbon nanotubes, hence paving the way to engineering novel functional materials containing that could be used in a series of different devices.

State-of-the-art chemical vapour deposition synthesis techniques in conjunction with in situ monitoring technologies allow us to engineer the dopant levels in carbon nanotubes and other materials. Such multi-functional nanomaterials can also be embedded in composite materials. For example, composite materials that are lightweight, strong, and thermally conducting yet electrically insulating. Materials with these properties are highly sought for next generation battery applications, automotive industries, aeronautics, photovoltaics, and space applications.
In order to achieve optimum control over the physical properties of these materials, THz spectroscopy techniques will be employed for the robust characterisation of nanostructure ensembles. These experimental results will then be complemented by state-of-the-art density functional theory calculations in order to verify the findings and to gain better insight on how different dopants alter the physical properties, structure and stability. Through corresponding density functional tight-binding molecular dynamics simulations the dynamic response of the nanostructures to the introduction of the dopants can be followed. This will provide a feedback loop for exploration of the dopants and modification of the synthesis approach, in an iterative fashion, in order to optimise the desired properties of the composite materials.

The work will be conducted in collaboration with internationally leading experts in the fields of Terahertz spectroscopy and materials modelling respectively. Moreover, the research group has a range of industrial collaborators and specific potential applications will be sought once progress has been made with the tailored functionalisation of hexagonal nanomaterials. Traditionally, the students of the Nanomaterials of Design research group are encouraged to engage with academic collaborators as well as industry partners whenever feasible.

This research project falls within the EPSRC Energy, Engineering, Healthcare technologies, Manufacturing the future, Physical sciences research areas.


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