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Instrumented Nanoindentation for information rich electro-mechanical characterisation


School of Engineering

About the Project

Nanoindentation (ISO 14577 and ASTM E2546–07) is a high resolution technique to precisely characterise the mechanical behaviour of various materials. Usually, the process of nanoindentation relies on pressing an unknown substrate by a sharp diamond tip. In its native form, the process of nanoindentation can be carried out in two modes i.e. load controlled and displacement controlled. The technique relies purely on establishing mechanical contact to deform the substrate.

With the advent of new materials, new capabilities are required to evaluate not just mechanical but also chemical and electric properties of the substrate. This is particularly useful to do a combined electro mechanical characterisation especially in situation where a contact mode mechanical loading may not be allowed as it can damage the smaller surfaces such as those obtained from the museum and in such cases a non-contact electrical characterisation may instead be performed.

Towards these thoughts a conductive atomic force microscopy has been developed in the past (https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5044518) however, it looks at very small samples, requires the probe to be conductive and is still destructive in nature.

A Nanoindentation machines comes equipped with a displacement control to precisely place a probe at a site as well fitted with a scanning microscope gives good information of the localised area. As part of this project activity, the aim here is to equip a nanoindenter with unprecedented capabilities, in particular to bring either a contact or non-contract electrical measurement capability which will boost the use of this technique for assessment of energy devices in solar area as well as that of functional coatings.

Thus, the ultimate aim of this project is to instrument electrical capability into the newly bought nanoindentor at LSBU. An initial idea is to bring capacitive or impedance based measurement into place such that the indenter can probe a measurand like work function of the localised area. There is also an opportunity to bring an additional instrumentation for making a nanoindentation device to behave like an ultra-precision diamond milling system.

On this project, the student will have a unique opportunity to gain familiarity with the instrumentation process and to learn more about Kelvin probes and its utility in expensive electronic wafer manufacturing process. The project will have a deep involvement of the UK leading nanoindentation instrument manufacturing “Micro Materials Limited” who will provide necessary enabling training to work on the project.

This unique fully-funded full time PhD studentship supports students from any part of the globe and seeks highly talented candidate in this area.

Supervisory Team:


The successful applicant will be working Dr Saurav Goel who beside LSBU, also works for Cranfield University and University of Cambridge. He manages two Centres of excellence namely, “Centre for Doctoral Training in Ultra-Precision Engineering” and “Networkplus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing”. As part of this project, you will be benefitted by a wide range of training tools. Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Saurav Goel (). As a PhD student, you will join the London Centre of Energy Engineering and work alongside a range of new and experienced PhD students in a collaborative environment.

Requirements:


Applicants must be of outstanding academic merit and should have (or be expected to gain) either a first class or an upper second class Honours degree (or the international equivalent), or an MSc/MRes with distinction. Enthusiastic and self-motivated candidates from all countries with a background in either Instrumentation, Control, Engineering, Physics or Mathematics or a related discipline are encouraged to apply. Candidates should be able to demonstrate that they are highly motivated, have excellent communication skills and undertake challenging tasks using their own initiative. They should have willingness to go beyond what’s just stated.

The School of Engineering at London South Bank University is an ambitious and progressive centre of research strength, ranked 25th nationally for research power in the last Research Excellence Framework. We have a fabulous central London location and are looking for talented potential students interested in research to work with our academic faculty in areas of strength. We are offering a number of funded PhD scholarships below. These studentships are available to UK nationals & EU citizen’s and overseas applicants*. Those in possession of their own funding (e.g. via a non-EU government scholarship) are also welcome to apply for a place of study.

Further details on each PhD project as well as application information are provided via this link (https://www.lsbu.ac.uk/research/research-degrees) but the PhD scholarship benefits from the following:
• Training in advanced engineering topics
• Mentoring from industry on the application and context of research
• Bespoke technical training
• Enterprise and innovation skills training
• Transferable skills development opportunities to increase employability
• 3-year studentships of ~£15,000 per annum living stipend (tax free)
• Payment of all tuition fees*
• A school supported consumables and travel budget to support additional specialist research training courses, access to specialist equipment and travel to international conferences, seminars and workshops
• Industry sponsored* cutting-edge research projects
• Wide choice of PhD projects ranging from applied to blue-sky research
• State-of-the-art research facilities in the centre of London
• Opportunities for overseas secondments to industrial partners and universities
• Excellent career prospects on completion of the PhD
* for eligible students only

LSBU Research Centres Website: http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/research/centres-groups, please click on the link here (https://www.lsbu.ac.uk/research/research-degrees/scholarships) to see the specific PhD posts available.

Closing date for applications: 15th of July 2020
PhD Start: 1st October 2020


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