Nature of project: experimental, experimental
Available to students on full-time physics degree schemes or joint students.
The science focus of this project will be on nanodiamond interactions with natural pigments such as chlorophyll, in particular their molecular and electronic structure in solution and in thin films. A major limitation with potential industrial use of biopigments such as chlorophyll in light capture technologies is that it is a photo-unstable material ie it will irreversibly bleach quickly on exposure to strong light, rendering that molecule permanently inactive.
Studies have shown that the bleaching rate and the overall absorption spectrum can be significantly modified in the presence of nanodiamonds introduced into the solution.
The aim of the project is to optimise surface termination and nanodiamond-biopigment interaction.
Nanodiamonds of dimension 2 – 50 nm can be produced with a range of surface terminations to provide a wide range of surface attachments for organic molecules. This effect is used for example for drug delivery and nano-imaging.
A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
The project will focus initially on the light-bleaching mechanism in chlorophyll – nanodiamond hybrid systems. The nanodiamond-pigment films can be examined in parallel with the multiple microscopy and spectroscopy capabilities available and the results compared to literature.
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: Further work in materials characterisation is the application of electron-based surface analysis methods in parallel with optical methods such as Raman spectroscopy and photoluminescence in a single spectrometer.
Please speak to Rachel Cross if you consider doing this project.
Initial literature for students:
Medium to difficult level of experimentation, data collection and interpretation. The project will involve working closely with the Diamond Research Group of researchers and postgraduate students.
|milestone||to be completed by|
|Selection of materials for study||end of November|
|Synthesis of chlorophyll (or alternative)||Christmas|
|Characterisation of individual materials||end of February|
|Experimental data acquired and analysed of mixed materials||Easter|
Students taking this project will have to submit a full risk assessment form