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Risk CDT - Deposition of Charged Particles via Preparative Mass Spectrometry

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Maher
    Prof P Chalker
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted

Project Description


This is a project within the multi-disciplinary EPSRC and ESRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) on Quantification and Management of Risk & Uncertainty in Complex Systems & Environments, within the Institute for Risk and Uncertainty. The studentship is granted for 4 years and includes, in the first year, a Master in Decision Making under Risk & Uncertainty. The project includes extensive collaboration with prime industry to build an optimal basis for employability.

Traditionally the primary function of mass spectrometry (MS) has been as a tool for chemical analyses based on detection and quantification of ions according to their mass-to-charge ratio. However, MS also shows promise for material synthesis. Ion soft landing is characterised by deposition of intact species on surfaces at low kinetic energies which precludes the fragmentation of the incident species or damage to the sample surface. This capability of MS has recently been demonstrated for highly controlled deposition of nanoparticles on various support materials. Ion soft landing has certain advantages over other methods of surface modification (such as molecular beam epitaxy, physical vapour deposition, etc.) including, high selectivity and sensitivity of the deposited species as well as inherent ion beam focusing.

The concept behind this work is to develop and deploy mass spectrometric techniques for generating size-selected charged nanoparticles that can be utilised for highly controlled surface modification and gently landed onto surfaces. This PhD will investigate and develop new mass spectrometric based ionisation sources for deposition of new materials. One aspect of the project will involve the characterization and development of Mantis’ proprietary mass spectrometry tool, in conjunction with the Mantis Nanoparticle source. The aim of this work will be to improve the resolution control and throughput of charged nanoparticles through the MS instrument. The project will also identify and address product development requirements to enable the transition from an analytical research tool towards a mass production surface modification tool. Modelling and experimentation will therefore form a significant part of the research as will surface analysis. Throughout there will be close collaboration between the University of Liverpool and Mantis Deposition.

Students will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in one of the following, or closely related areas: Physics, Electronic Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Materials Science, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering or Manufacturing Engineering. A relevant Master’s degree in the above areas and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: electronics, electrical engineering, electromagnetics, modelling/simulations, analytical chemistry, mass spectrometry, charged particle optics, ion chemistry, surface modification or surface analysis.

Funding Notes

The PhD Studentship (Tuition fees + stipend of £ 14,296 annually over 4 years) is available for Home/EU students. In addition, a budget for use in own responsibility will be provided.

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