Recently, a novel cutting strategy using multi-tipped diamond tools and force modulation approach was proposed (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmapro.2021.10.032). By using an atomic force microscope milling experiments combined with purposedly engineered diamond tools using focused ion beam technique, it was shown that it is possible to achieve nanometric control on the milling dimensions and that very fine scale (few nanometers) surface structure can be generated. However, as it is well known the horizontal or vertical range of an AFM is in with few millimetres and while the technique works well, it is limited by the area on which structures can be fabricated.
This PhD project will expand the previously attainable limits on the area for fabrication of the nature-inspired nanostructures using nanoscatching machine. The investigation will demonstrate how can various functionalities available in the nature as reviewed recently here (https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0028844) can be suitable fabricated using nanoscratching contact mode milling technique.
The investigation will proceed in two parts (1) customisation of the diamond tool shape (probe) by creating an inverse mask using focussed ion beam or ion etching technique and (2) using this engineered diamond tool to fabricate surfaces exhibiting specific functions such as hydrophobicity, oleophobicity, icephobicity and so on.
The project will pay critical attention to understand the challenges in the nanometric control in the form, and topography of the machine surface profiles as well as the wear rates involved as this will potentially also involved understanding of the new nano regimes of surface friction, albeit, under dynamic conditions.
The successful applicant will be working Prof Saurav Goel at Southwark Campus of LSBU. Prof Goel is an Associate Director of the EPSRC Networkplus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing (https://digitalisedsurfacemanufacturing.com/) which is run jointly with the University of Manchester. As part of this project, you will be benefitted from a wide range of training tools. Informal enquiries should be directed to Prof Saurav Goel ([Email Address Removed]).
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 Engineering, Materials Science, 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.