Physics projects for Y3 and Y4 students

Project description

Electronic and optical properties of graphene

(supervisor: Andrew Evans)

Nature of project: experimental, data analysis

Available to students on full-time physics degree schemes only.

Project description and methodology

The newest form of carbon, graphene has a unique combination of high electrical conductivity, high strength and high optical transmission. Using a new method for graphene fabrication from carbon-containing crystals, this project will involve measuring the electronic and optical properties of single and multi layer graphene films. Measurements will include electrical conductivity and optical transmission (using UV-visible spectroscopy) for differently-prepared layers.

A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
The project could be extended to include measurement and interpretation of Raman spectroscopy of the graphene layers and the transfer of films onto different substrates.

When considering where to take your project, please bear in mind the time available. It is preferable to do fewer things well than to try many and not get conclusive results on any of them. However, sometimes it is useful to have a couple of strands of investigation in parallel to work on in case delays occur.

Additional scope or challenge if taken as a Year-4 project: As a year 4 MPhys/MEng project, there is an additional scope for studying the graphene growth using in-situ methods. There is also scope to apply electron-based methods such as low energy electron diffraction to determine the crystalline structure and photoelectron spectroscopy to determine the electronic structure.

Please speak to Andrew Evans (dne) if you consider doing this project.

Initial literature for students:

  1. Solid state physics, Neil W. Ashcroft, N. David Mermin (Primo)
  2. Graphene : carbon in two dimensions, M. I. Katsnelson (Mikhail Iosifovich) (Primo)
  3. Graphene Synthesis, Properties, and Phenomena, C. N. R. Rao, Ajay K Sood (Primo)

Novelty, degree of difficulty and amount of assistance required

The fabrication will be carried out by members of the materials research group who will provide the materials for study within the project. The quality of the material will be determined by diffraction and Raman spectroscopy that will require data analysis and image processing. The principal methods to measure conductivity and optical absorption are standard, but will require subsequent analysis and the development of model structures. Some assistance with instrument development and control will be needed.

Project milestones and deliverables (including timescale)

milestoneto be completed by
Outline of method and materialsChristmas
Growth of graphene filmsend of February
Data measurement system completedmid-March
Data analysis finalisedEaster

Students taking this project will have to submit a full risk assessment form