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Thin Films & Nanostructured Materials

The group focusses on the development and synthesis of novel nanostructured thin films, while exploring their physical and mechanical properties for both fundamental and applied science. Motivating the group’s work is the requirement of novel high-performance thin films with superior structural and functional properties for advanced applications such as micro-/nanoelectronics, energy production, sensors and wear protection. In particular, intrinsic but mutually exclusive structural properties such as high strength and ductility must be combined, but also the resistance to harsh conditions such as corrosive environments, wear, and high temperature be improved.

Key for property control is the film architecture and microstructure. To afford control over the material properties the micro-scale porosity, atomic composition, average grain size, phase distribution, and layer/film thickness must be optimised. In achieving such a high level of control, the group leverages a BesTec GmbH physical vapour deposition cluster to perform magnetron sputtering and electron-beam deposition of both metals and ceramics. We further ongoing links on alloy development and novel alloy combinations forged together with the MA department, where novel high entropy alloys and amorphous metal thin films are deposited for high-strength high-toughness combination materials.

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