World Class Materials Facilities at the University of Huddersfield

Project: Research

Project Details


The current MIAMI facility - which combines a transmission electron microscope (TEM) with an ion accelerator, enabling the observation at the nanoscale of radiation effects- has several major technological applications. In nuclear research: investigations into the behaviour of materials used in current and near-term nuclear fission reactors to understand how they will perform both within their intended lifetimes and also during deviations from normal conditions; for future fission (GenIV) and fusion (both magnetic and inertial confinement) reactors, the focus is shifted towards the development of novel materials systems capable of performing in these extreme environments; also the quest for materials solutions for the immobilisation of long-lived radioactive waste. For nanotechnology, advanced manufacturing, semiconductor processing and the modification of materials (properties, structures and surfaces), ion beams are an important tool and TEM with in situ irradiation is an ideal method to explore ion-solid interactions to develop new technologies and materials processing techniques. Finally the study of the effects of radiation exposure in extra-terrestrial environments, on communication satellites or even manned craft operating outside the Earth's protective magnetic field, such as those heading to Mars.
The construction of MIAMI-2 will firstly ensure that the capabilities of the original MIAMI facility are maintained for the forseeable future enabling the continued investigation of these materials. Secondly the enhanced capabilities of MIAMI-2 will allow for the investigation of a greater range of extreme environments in a much more detailed manner. Specifically, the proposed configuration of new TEM, will enable MIAMI-2 to access a higher level of information including the changes in composition, chemical bonding and electronic structure, as well as to capture microstructural changes at higher resolutions (both temporal and spatial). It will also permit the use of thicker (more "bulk-like" specimens) and permit radiation damage studies in reactive gaseous environments.
This facility would become one of only two in the world with these capabilities, the other being in the USA at Sandia National Labs. This would ensure that the UK would maintain its position as one of the leaders in the field of radiation damage and lead to the next generation of advanced materials.
The extreme environment range nano-mechanical and nano-tribology platform (E2N2) will be unique facility at a national and international level which will allow the measurement of material properties under "in-service" environments. The proposed instrument will include: indentation, scratch, impact, fretting and friction in the range of working loads from mN to tens of Newtons and in an extreme temperature range (-30 to 1000 C); measurements in vacuum, partial pressure, in-service, predefined and precisely monitored environment; in situ optical and AFM surface/indent observation/measuring system. The platform will generate data for a broad temperature range and on the nanoscale a combination which is not otherwise available.
It brings together research activities at Huddersfield in Advanced Materials, Railway and Turbocharger Engineering, Precision Metrology, healthcare and archaeology. The instrument will be extensively used in development of new self-healing materials and coating multilayers with nanostructures for extreme environments such us high temperature protection, friction and erosion. The ability to measure under "in-service" environments will also permit research in recreational medicine and healthcare.
The facility will ensure that the country remains a leader in the field of nano-mechanics and will provide essential data on advanced materials and thin films for transport, energy and healthcare.
Effective start/end date1/04/1531/03/16