Materials are vital to the UK's regeneration and future prosperity. However, the successful exploitation of materials depends on the ability to characterise their bulk interfaces and surfaces. This in turn requires the next generation of researchers to have advanced skills across a range of characterisation techniques including state-of-the-art electron microscopy and spectrometry techniques.
The range of applications is broad including healthcare, energy, electronics, photovoltaics, corrosion, biomaterials, advanced ceramics, composites and membranes as well as novel materials such as graphene, other nanotechnologies and meta-materials.
The cohort approach will encourage cross-fertilisation of ideas in enabling students to understand how advanced characterisation methods can improve the development of novel materials. This is particularly important as the area is inherently multidisciplinary bringing together physics, chemistry, materials science and engineering. For example, developments such as the recent substantial investments in graphene technology will depend on the ability to recruit suitably skilled researchers such as would be produced from this Centres for Doctoral Training.
Proposals will need to come from centres or consortia that can demonstrate strength in relevant research areas to which characterisation skills can be applied as the purpose is to produce high calibre researchers with appropriate skills, not 'super-technicians'. Links to relevant industries that can provide appropriate research problems will be important.