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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L015277/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in the Advanced Characterisation of Materials
Principal Investigator: Skinner, Professor SJ
Other Investigators:
Curson, Dr NJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Applied Scintillation Technologies Ltd BP (UK) Calipso BV
Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL Diamond Light Source FEI Company
Institute Max von Laue - Paul Langevin Ionoptika Limited ISIS
JEOL King Abdullah University of Sc and Tech Kurt J Lesker Co Ltd
LaVision UK Lockheed Martin National Physical Laboratory
National University of Singapore Netzsch Instruments PANalytical Ltd
Praxair Inc Rolls-Royce Plc Smith & Nephew
Teraview Ltd Toshiba
Department: Materials
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 May 2014 Ends: 31 October 2022 Value (£): 4,227,196
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Energy
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Oct 2013 EPSRC CDT 2013 Interviews Panel O Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The development of new materials and new devices / products based upon these materials is absolutely critical to the economic development of our society. One critical aspect of the development of new materials is the ability to analyse the materials and thus determine their properties. Indeed at the very heart of the philosophy of the materials discipline is the relationship between the microstructure and the properties of the materials. The core idea is that through processing one can control the microstructure and thus the properties. Materials characterisation tells us how succesful we have been at changing the microstructure and so is essential in process development. It also tells us what has gone wrong when materials or devices based upon them fail, i.e. it is used in troubleshooting.

There are a vast array of advanced materials characterisation techniques available these days and it is very challenging to know the best technique or combination of techniques to use to answer specific research problems. There is a need, therefore, to train research scientists who are expert in the use of certain techniques but also have a broader in-depth understanding of the plethora of techniques that potentially could be used. At the moment there is a skills gap in this area and we will plug that gap with this CDT in advanced characterisation of materials that brings together experts in advanced materials characterisation from two of the worlds top universities. The students will also spend some time (at least 12 weeks) in industry or at an overseas univeristy receiving context specific training.

The unique vision brought by this research training programme, therefore, is that our students will have a knowledge of materials characterisation that goes beyond narrow expertise in one or two experimental techniques, or a general overview of many, and instead cuts to the heart of what it means to be a leading experimentalist; with an inherent understanding of the nature of a scientific problem, the fundamental principles and intellectual tools required to address the problem, the technical knowledge and craft to apply the most appropriate experimental technique to obtain the necessary information and the critical and analytical skill to extract the solution from the data. The vision will be realised by exploiting the unique experimental infrastructure provided by UCL and ICL. The first year will be an MRes structure with the entire cohort receiving laboratory based practical training in techniques ubiquitous to modern day materials characterisation such as vacuum technology, scanning probe microscopy, optical characterisation techniques and clean-room processing. Key analytical skills will be taught such as data handling, manipulation and interpretation, practiced on real data, exploiting facilities such as Imperials ToF-SIMS analysis suite and UCL chemistry's material modelling user interface. We will engage with industry to generate genuine problem-based characterisation case studies so that elements of the course will be founded on problem based learning. Visiting professors such as Mark Dowsett (Warwick University) and Hidde Brongersma(Calipso BV) will contribute to the training experience and some external courses will be used for specialist training, for example at ISIS. Traditional lectures will be limited in number with every sub-topic leading into an interactive problem class run by one of our extensive number of industry partners.

In our CDT ACM the thrill of solving class problems together and of competing in team-based experimental challenges will produce a highly engaged, critically minded, close-knit team of students.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk