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Effects of Topography and Confinement on Crystallisation

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Hugo Christenson
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

We have embarked on a major research program to investigate topographical control of crystallisation, based on robust preliminary results obtained with surfaces abraded with diamond powder (1,2) and surfaces with natural defects (3).
Ion-beam milling and lithographic techniques will be used to pattern surfaces with submicron grooves and pits and we will study the effect of these on crystallisation from vapour, solution and the melt (i.e. freezing of liquids).
In a parallel research program we have been carrying out experiments on the crystallisation of biominerals like calcium carbonate (4,5) calcium sulfate (6) and hydroxypatite (7) confined between two surfaces at submicron separations. We have identified a range of kinetic effects on the crystallisation which stabilise the amorphous precursor phases commonly found with biominerals.
There are a number of Ph.D. projects available in relation to confinement and topography effects on nucleation and crystallisation. These include studies of surface and confinement effects on protein aggregation and crystallisation, crystallisation of inorganics and pharmaceuticals in porous media such as Vycor glass and zeolites, ice nucleation on patterned surfaces, and use of droplet microfluidics to study crystallisation.
The project will give ample opportunity to learn techniques like Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopy, Atomic Force Microscopy, Raman Spectroscopy, X-ray Diffraction, Droplet Microfluidics, Calorimetry and Thermo-Gravimetric Analysis.

1. Holbrough, Campbell, Meldrum, Christenson Cryst. Growth Des. 12, 750 (2012).
2. Campbell, Meldrum, Christenson J. Phys. Chem. C 119, 1164 (2015).
3. Campbell, Meldrum, Christenson Cryst. Growth Des. 13, 1915 (2013)
4. Stephens, Ladden, Meldrum, Christenson Adv. Funct. Mater. 20, 2108 (2010).
5. Stephens, Kim, Evans, Meldrum, Christenson J. Am. Chem. Soc. 133, 5210 (2011).
6. Wang, Christenson, Meldrum Adv. Funct. Mater. 23, 5615 (2013).
7. Wang, Christenson, Meldrum Chem. Mat. 26, 5830 (2014).

Funding Notes

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FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.00

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