Patrick has been awarded a 4-year research fellowship from UKRI for a project on “big-data for nano-electronics”. This Future Leaders Fellowship will enable Patrick to focus on building a research group to develop a new methodology for accelerating the study of functional nanotechnology.
The modern world runs on nanotechnology; we are connected by a fibre-network using nanostructured lasers, and use computers and phones made of nanometre scale transistors. The next generation of nanotechnology promises to incorporate multiple functionalities into single nanomaterial elements; this is “functional nanotechnology”. Here, the size of the material itself provides functionality – for instance for sensing, computing, or interacting with light. The most powerful and scalable approaches to making these structures use bottom-up or “self-assembled” methods; however, as this production technique emerges from the laboratory and into industry, issues such as yield, heterogeneity, and functional parameter spread have arisen.
Functional performance in these nanomaterials is determined by geometry. As such, variations in size or composition affect performance in complex ways. In this project, I will combine high-speed and high-throughput techniques to measure the shape, composition and performance of hundreds of thousands of functional nanoparticles from each production run. By combining this big data with statistical analytics, I will create a new methodology to understand and then optimize cutting-edge functional nanomaterials, working with academic partners in Cambridge, University College London, Strathclyde, Lund (Sweden) and the Australian National University, and industrial partners including AIXTRON and Nanoco.
The ultimate goal of this project is to enable demonstration and scale-up of transformative devices based on novel nanotechnology, for sensing, computing, telecommunication and quantum technology.