Advanced Materials & Nanotechnology
• Characterising materials in terms of their chemistry, structure and/or electronic/magnetic properties.
• Nanostructural characterisation of high-performance polymers and polymer fibres (e.g. skin-core studies).
• Tracking material changes under simulated production conditions (in situ), or at extreme pressures and temperatures.
• Investigating structural changes in situ as a function of stress and/or changing environmental conditions.
• Investigating failure mechanisms in composite materials and stress-transfer in fibre-reinforced composites during in situ deformation.
• Characterising the structure and composition of nanoparticles, and their fabrication.
• Characterising spintronic and magneto-electronic materials and devices.
• Visualising magnetic domains and nanostructures.
• Chemical species determination.
• Investigating oxidation states and surface corrosion under different agents and conditions.
• Structure-property relationship studies.
• Morphological and structural characterisation of nanomaterials using 3D imaging.
• Characterising thin layers (roughness, interfaces).
• Studying structural evolutions in ceramics during synthesis and manufacturing processes
Room-temperature superconductivity would eliminate many of the world’s energy problems, offering lossless energy storage and distribution. Scientists have been studying superconductors using neutron and X-ray scattering to trace electron interactions and identify new magnetic behaviour. This knowledge could potentially be exploited to design new semiconducting materials that work at higher temperatures.
Self healing could greatly prolong the lifetime of steels exposed to high temperatures and stresses. Under these conditions, damage typically accumulates through the formation of creep cavities. Scientists used X-ray nanotomography to show that, for model alloys, healing can be achieved by autonomous gold precipitation. The experiments will help to transition such materials from model systems to real-world applications.
Crossed nanowire structures
Crossed nanowire structures are used in nano-devices. The intersections of the nanowires play a critical role in creating hybrid architectures. Researchers used a hard X-ray nanoprobe to study point contacts between single crossed nanowires grown by thermal evaporation. The experimental technique opens new routes for the study of local structures with nanometre resolution.