Applied X-ray spectroscopy

Congratulations Dr Fernando!

Nathalie successfully defended her PhD viva on the 30th of March – massive congratulations Dr Fernando!

Nathalie’s thesis included her groundbreaking work on “The Structural & Electronic Effects of X-ray Radiation on Small Molecule Crystals”. You can read key parts of her PhD work here and here. Throughout her PhD she also contributed greatly to the group’s overall activities, particularly with her expertise in X-ray diffraction and she was an author of ten publications throughout her time in the group. Nathalie’s examiners were Dr Elisabetta Arca and Prof Andy Beale – thank you!

We are very sad to see Nathalie leave the group but also 1000000% delighted that she’s finished an outstanding PhD and is now an Associate Technology Consultant at IBM.

Chemistry Club Filming

At the end of March we took part in a day of filming for the Salters’ Institute Chemistry Club. The videos will form part of a module on Chemistry Club all around the chemistry of electronic materials for devices. The Chemistry Club is a great initiative and is an online learning platform for 11-14 year olds, which hopes to spark an interest in chemistry through independent learning.

Aysha, Curran, Prajna, Yujiang and Anna took part and showed off their Chemistry skills in and out of the lab. Aysha, Curran and Anna also prepared content for interviews that will play a key role in the resulting video content. We are sooo excited to see the final videos, but for now some snapshots of the day.

Available Analytical Chemistry Summer Studentship

The group has an Analytical Chemistry Summer Studentship available funded by the Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund on Radiation Damage Studies on Halide Perovskite Solar Cell Materials. The project will be hosted in the Department of Chemistry at UCL and Prajna Bhatt will lead this as the day-to-day supervisor.

The summer studentship aims to uncover the effect of X-ray irradiation on perovskite-related structures, at the forefront of research in photovoltaic and X-ray detection applications. It will focus on understanding radiation damage mechanisms and to develop mitigation strategies. The project will involve synthesis of powdered perovskite materials and their chemical state, composition and crystal structure will be characterised before and after in-situ irradiation by a combinative approach of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). These results will be correlated with similar work on single crystals of these materials in order to understand radiation damage in both single crystals as well as polycrystalline powders. We will use high-resolution laboratory-based soft XPS to collect core and valence band spectra and iterative measurements will be employed to explore radiation sensitivity of the materials and to limit radiation damage.

The summer studentship will run for eight weeks starting on 12th June and the student will receive a weekly stipend of £395.00 for the duration of the studentship.

If you are interested in this position, please contact Anna via email by the 1st of May 2023, including a CV and short statement on why you would like to get involved in this project.

Research Project for Laidlaw Scholars – Apply Now

The call for the Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme for 2023 is now live! UCL hosts around 25 students each year to become Laidlaw Scholars as part of a program across several universities supported by the Laidlaw Foundation. Part of the programme is a six week research project and our group is offering one such project for next summer.

The project is centred around low temperature deposition of indium oxide thin films for applications in optoelectronic devices. As part of the project you will explore low-temperature sol-gel routes to deposit high quality thin films and characterise them with a range of materials characterisation techniques, including X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, UV-vis spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction. You will be supported by Aysha Riaz, a PhD student in the group. You can find further information on the project and on all projects here.

Do feel free to contact Anna if you are interested and have any questions and find out more details about how to apply here. The deadline is Monday 16 January 2023 at 23:59.

Collaboration with Jerry Heng’s Group

Curran welcomed PhD student Ethan Errington from Jerry Heng’s group (Imperial College London, Chemical Engineering Dep.) to the Department of Chemistry for some XPS experiments on their group’s latest samples. Jerry Heng’s group are interested in using XPS to better understand the surface chemistries of oil-in-water adsorbants. This marks the first collaboration between the groups, and we are thrilled to be providing our XPS expertise! Ethan and Curran first met each other 8 years ago when they both studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Leeds. They have both come a long way since their last collaboration which was designing a heat exchanger in their second year of their undergraduate degree.

Final year PhD talks

Nathalie and Curran both presented their projects as part of the departmental final year PhD talks in July. Nathalie shared her results on Structural & Electronic Effects of X-ray Irradiation on Prototypical Catalysts and Curran shared his work on X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy of TixW1-x Diffusion Barriers. Both talks received excellent feedback from our departmental community and Curran was named runner up for the Clarke Prize for the best talk in the inorganic chemistry section. Congratulations!