Nature of project: experimental, data analysis
Available to students on full-time physics degree schemes or joint students.
Metal oxides, such as TiO2 and ZnO, have a particularly important application in some thin-film optoelectronics and solar cells, due to their favourable electronic and crystalline properties.[1-3]
In this project, students will prepare oxide thin-films from a precursor recipe, via the method of "spin-coating"; a convenient way of processing uniform lamina layers (50-200 nm) of a material onto substrates. Following sintering, the as-deposited films will be characterized by methods such as X-ray diffraction (XRD), optical absorption, and ellipsometry, in order to determine the thickness, crystalline structure, film composition, and uniformity/roughness.
A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
Systematic optimisation of experimental parameters, as described above.
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 an idea of a potential follow-on study for Y4 students; layers of suitable semiconducting materials may be spin-coated onto the oxides, in order to characterize the semiconductor-oxide interfacial photophysics.
Please speak to Chris Finlayson if you consider doing this project.
Initial literature for students:
Students will need to be trained on a number of pieces of lab equipment and to observe basic chemical safety protocols. Appropriate assistance and training will be given. The aims of the project as set out make it suitable for an average Y3 student.
|milestone||to be completed by|
|Lab training and familarisation||Christmas|
|Thin film prep||end of February|
|Collation and analysis||Easter|
Students taking this project will have to submit a full risk assessment form