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Measuring the sp3/sp2 carbon content ratio in a single nanodiamond using quantitative optical microscopy


Project Description

Nanoparticles have attracted enormous attention in the past decade for applications ranging from photonics devices to labelling and drug delivery in biology and medicine.

In the quest for superior photostability and bio-compatibility, nanodiamonds (NDs) are considered one of the best choices due to their unique structural, chemical, mechanical, and optical properties [1].

The presence of graphitic sp2 groups at the ND surface is a major limitation for applications, from photonics (unwanted absorption) to mechanics (reduced hardness). To overcome these limitations, several surface modification treatments have been proposed in the literature in order to purify the ND surface. However, reliable measurements of the sp3/sp2 carbon content at the single ND level to date require time consuming and expensive electron microscopy approaches. At present, there is no quantitative optical method available to provide this key information.

In this project, we propose to develop, and demonstrate, an optical microscopy tool able to quantify the sp3/sp2 carbon content at the single ND level for the first time. The method will be based on high resolution optical microscopy, combining quantitative differential interference contrast (qDIC) [2] to determine the ND size with photothermal microscopy to determine the residual optical absorption cross-section by the sp2 bonds. In addition, we will apply our recently developed quantitative widefield optical extinction microscopy method [3] to single NDs in solution.

Our goal is to build a multiparameter statistics of the properties of single NDs, correlating the sp2 contamination with their size and zeta potential. Fluorescence yield of single NDs incorporating defect centres (e.g. NV, SiV) will also be measured (using confocal cryo-fluorescence micro-spectroscopy) and correlated to the ND properties

[1] Nature Nanotechnology 7, 11 (2012); [2] Nature Nanotechnology 9, 940 (2014) [3] Faraday Disc. 184, 305 (2015).

The Diamond Science and Technology (DST) Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) involves a consortium of eight UK universities (Warwick, Aberystwyth, Bristol, Cardiff, Imperial, Newcastle, Oxford, and Strathclyde, forty academic partners) and over thirty companies, along with many international partners.

You will undertake a purpose designed MSc (Year 1) in Diamond Science and Technology based at Warwick University. As part of the MSc, you will undertake two, ten week mini-projects at two different universities (or industrial partner) which link to the theme of their chosen PhD (years 2-4).

Funding Notes

The DST CDT provides funding for the four year programme to UK and EU students (non-UK EU students must have resided in the UK for three years prior to the start of their course in order to be eligible). In exceptional cases for outstanding candidates funding may be available to overseas students,

Open to all UK/EU students without further restrictions

You should hold, or expect to graduate with, a First or high Second Class undergraduate or Master’s degree in chemistry, physics or related disciplines.

Related Subjects

How good is research at Cardiff University in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 54.70

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

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