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Plasma Induced Incorporation of Single Metal Atoms in 2D Materials for Versatile Applications

Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics

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Prof J Bradley , Prof Y L Chueh Applications accepted all year round

About the Project

This project is part of a 4-year Dual PhD degree programme between the National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) and the University of Liverpool (England). As part of the NTHU-UoL Dual PhD Award students are in the unique position of being able to gain 2 PhD awards at the end of their degree from two internationally recognised world-leading Universities. As well as benefiting from a rich cultural experience, students can draw on large-scale national facilities of both countries and create a worldwide network of contacts across two continents.
The latest set of projects targeted goal #11 from the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
The project aims to develop single metal atom incorporation or doping by plasma functionalization into 2D materials such as transition metal dichalcogenides (TMD), Mxene, and 2D metal-organic frameworks (2D MOFs) for a range of applications, including; energy storage, gas sensing, electrochemistry, and catalysis. The ultimate goal is to demonstrate a new way to fabricate perfectly ordered single atom doping in 2D materials.

The four year programme of work is a collaboration between the University of Liverpool, UK and the National Tsing Hua University (HTHU), Taiwan with the PhD student spending equal amounts of time at each institution.

At NTHU, Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) and Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition (PECVD) techniques will be used to fabricate a range of advanced 2D materials in single and multilayer form. The layers will be optimized and stability tested. Surface characterization, including high resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of the 2D materials will be done. The materials will also be tested for their applicability in energy applications. During this period, the student will have the opportunity to undertake NTHU postgraduate courses (including, Solid-state thermodynamics, Kinetics processes of materials and Transmission electron microscopy or X-ray crystallography).

At Liverpool, research activities will include the development of both vacuum-based and atmospheric-pressure plasma discharges for the treatment and chemical functionalization of NTHU produced 2D materials. These techniques will provide the means to incorporate single metal atoms in 2D materials in a controlled way. Optimisation and characterisation of the plasmas will be done using a range of diagnostic tools, including, optical emission spectroscopy, electrical probing and energy-resolved mass spectrometry, to provide quantitative information on concentrations and energies of the plasma species. In the final part of the project, in close collaboration with NTHU, the resultant plasma functionalized 2D materials will be tested in real-world applications.

For academic enquires please contact [Email Address Removed] or [Email Address Removed]
For enquires on the application process or to find out more about the Dual programme please contact School of Electrical Engineering and Electronics Postgraduate Office [Email Address Removed]

Applicants should apply via the University of Liverpool application form, for a PhD in the subject area listed above, via:

Funding Notes

This project is a part of a 4-year dual PhD programme between National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) and the University of Liverpool (England). Students should spend equal time studying in each institution. Both the UoL and NTHU have agreed to waive the tuition fees for the duration of the project and stipend of $11,000 TWD/£280 GBP a month will be provided as a contribution to living costs. When applying please ensure you Quote the supervisor & project title you wish to apply for and note ‘NTHU-UoL Dual Scholarship’ when asked for details of how plan to finance your studies.


Y-Z Chen, S-H Lee, T-Y Su, S-Ci Wu, P-J Chen and Y-L Chueh, “Phase-Modulated 3D-Hierarchical 1T/2H WSe2 Nanoscrews by Plasma-Assisted Selenization Process as High Performance NO Gas Sensors with a ppb-level Detection Limit”, J. Mater. Chem. A 7 (2019) 22314

EJ Legge, KR Paton, M Wywijas, G McMahon, R Pemberton, N Kumar, APA Raju, CP Dawson, AJ Strudwick, JW Bradley, V Stolojan, SRP Silva, SA Hodge, B Brennan and AJ Pollard, “Determining the level and location of functional groups on few-layer graphene and their effect on the mechanical properties of nanocomposites”, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 12 (11) (2020) 13481
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