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Crystallography and Functional Evolution of Atomically Thin Confined Nanowires

Project Description

Encapsulated nanowires can be as small as a single atom in width and are the smallest one-dimensional materials. Their simplicity and robustness makes them ideal platforms for the study of fundamental properties of matter, such as phase transformations and the energetics of confined crystal structure formation. Carbon nanotubes are the ideal encapsulation template, and enable the observation of crystalline/non-crystalline transitions and molecular ordering either into chains or discrete species.

These materials have tested, and continue to test, the state of the art in atomic-resolution electron microscopy and their associated spectroscopies. The extremely small size also lends these materials to ab initio (or a posteriori) theoretical investigations whereby their stability, electronic properties and properties can all be studied. This work is leading to ground-breaking and transformative new studies of the exotic physics of atomically-thin 1D wires, including the physical realisation of the Peierls distortion, novel phonon optics and, most recently, the spectacular modification of thermal properties [1-5].

Forming nanowires on such small physical scales presents unique and benchmarking challenges for high performance electron microscopy and spectroscopy as these must perform at or close to the level of single atom sensitivity. The student will contribute to an EPSRC-funded experimental project on the synthesis and characterisation of Atomically Regulated Nanowires by state-of-the-art electron microscopy and other characterisation methodologies, including Raman and ultrafast terahertz spectroscopies [6-7]. The major goals are to determine the unique physical properties of atomically-thin nanowires in terms of: (i) their 3D crystallography; (ii) their local electronic environment (i.e. vis-a-vis bonding and atomic potentials); (iii) their emergent macroscopic electronics, conductivity and optoelectronic properties. The student will also interact with Project Partners in Oxford (ePSIC at the Diamond Light Source), Southampton, Warsaw, Vienna, Pau and Beijing, with the opportunity to travel to some of these Partners. Interested applicants should contact (Tel. 02476 523392) or .

Funding Notes

A full 3.5 year studentship for UK students (fees and maintenance) is available. Candidates should hold or expect to hold a 1st (or high 2.1) in Physics or related subject area.

The Physics department is proud to be an IOP Juno Champion and a winner of an Athena Swan Silver Award, reflecting our commitment to equal opportunity and to fostering an environment in which all can excel.


[1] P. V. C. Medeiros…et al…, D. Quigley J. Sloan, A. J. Morris ACS Nano 11, 6178 (2017)
[2] J. H. Spencer, D. C. Smith, J. Sloan et al. RSC Adv. 6, 95387 (2016)
[3] A. Vasylenko…et al…A. J. Morris, J. Sloan, D. Quigley ACS Nano 12, 6023 (2018)
[4] C. E. Giusca, V. Stolojan, J. Sloan et al. Nano Lett. 13, 4020 (2013)
[5] S. R. Marks, K. Morawiec, P. Dłużewski, S. Kret, J. Sloan Acta Phys. Polon. A 131, 1324 (2017)
[6] J. Lloyd-Hughes and T.-I. Jeon, J. Infrared mm THz, 33, 871 (2012)
[7] D. Shao, …, M. Burdanova, C. D. W. Mosley and J. Lloyd-Hughes, Nanotechnology 29 145203 (2018)

How good is research at University of Warwick in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 54.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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