Micro/Nano Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS/NEMS) applications in future engineering have been significantly developed in the last decade. Recent developments in electronics have asked for stretchable/flexible devices that can sustain harsh mechanical deformations, for advanced applications such as wearable sensors and actuators (S&A), soft robotics, and foldable devices e.g. e-paper, solar panels etc. And major challenges and opportunities associated with such technologies are focusing on using new materials and innovative fabrication process.
In this project, the aim is to create stretchable/flexible S&A microsystems using soft functional materials, deploying original approach by exploring the novel integration methodologies and mechanisms.
The focus will be on innovative soft material printing/patterning methodologies e.g. pinning/slippery microfluidics, to achieve an integrated multilayer devices with electro-luminescent responsive stimuli polymers (materials), optical responsive materials such as liquid crystal (chemical/physical transition) and conductive polymer materials (such as PEDOT:PSS).
The work packages will include theory studies and simulations, material characterisation, innovative soft material micro-fabrication, as well as product design engineering.
Key technologies used in research work packages are:
• Theory and Simulation: FEA (ABAQUS, COMSOL)
• Materials characterisation: SEM, AFM, Electrical testing Probe station, Profilometer, Ellipsometry
• MEMS/NEMS design: L-Edit, K-layout, AutoCAD/Inventor, Solidworks
• Micro/nano fabrication process: Lithography, soft-lithography, RIE, CVDs, printing, packaging, integration, SAM, anodization/oxidation, Sol-Gel
• Product design: product development, rapid prototyping, ergonomics, sustainability and ethics-based design.
Project is expected to involve multidisciplinary collaboration within Northumbria University, as well as external partners such as University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, MEMSstar, etc.
Please note eligibility requirement:
* Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
* Appropriate IELTS score, if required
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply
Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18/MCE/LI) will not be considered.
Start Date: 1 March 2019 or 1 June 2019 or 1 October 2019
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University hold an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.
Flexible Electronic/Luminescence devices with functional soft materials:
D. Wang, N. Cheewaruangroj, Y. Li et al., “Structural confinement induced versatile formation of planar wrinkle pattern and multi-scale surface evolution”, Advanced Functional Materials, 1704228, 2018.
(IF = 13.325, cited 2)
C. Wang, D. Wang, V. Kozhevnikov, B. Xu and Y. Li*, “Elastic Instability Induced Mechano-Responsive Luminescence for Super-Flexible Strain Sensing”, IEEE Sensors, Glasgow, 2017
Y. Liu, Y. Li et al., “Flexible and bendable acoustofluidics based on ZnO film coated aluminium foil”, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, Volume 221, 230-235, 2015. (IF = 5.667, cited 6)
Smart Sensors and Actuators:
Y. Fu, J. Luo, N. Nguyen, A. Walton, A. Flewitt, X. Zu, Y. Li, et al., “Advances in piezoelectric thin films for acoustic biosensors, acoustofluidics and lab-on-chip applications”, Progress in Materials Science, 898, 31-91, 2017. (IF = 23.75, cited 28)
Y. J. Guo, et al. and Y. Li, “Ultraviolet sensing based on nanostructured ZnO/Si surface acoustic wave devices”, Smart Mater. Structure, 24, 125015, 2015 (IF 2.963, cited 3).
Y.J. Guo, A.P. Dennison, Y. Li et al., “Nebulization of water/glycerol droplets generated by ZnO/Si surface acoustic wave devices”, Microfluids Nanofluids, Volume 19, Issue 2, 273-282, 2015. (IF 2.384, cited 8 )
Y. Q. Fu, Y. Li et al., “Surface acoustic wave nebulization on nanocrystalline ZnO film”, Applied Physics Letters 101, 194101, 2012 (IF 3.495, cited 17).
Y. Li, et al., “Integrated microfluidics system using surface acoustic wave and electrowetting on dielectrics technology”, Biomicrofluidics 6, 012812, 2012 (IF 2.571, cited 22).
M. Alghane, et al. and Y. Li, “Nonlinear hydrodynamic effects induced by Rayleigh surface acoustic wave in sessile droplets”, Physical Review E, 86, 056304, 2012 (IF 2.284, cited 14).
Y. Li, et al., “The application of fixed hydrophobic patterns for confinement of aqueous solutions in proteomic microarrays”, Applied Physics Letters, 99, 073703, 2011 (IF 3.495, cited 6).
Product Design and Development:
E. McKenna, Y. Li et al., “Assay assembly and method”. EU/US Patent, Published in 2013，EP20110802771/ US20130252847 A1.