Welcome to the Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory
The Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory was established in 1994 - the first centre for nanoscience in the UK -
and formally opened in the Physics East building in May 1996 by Professor Sir John Cadogan FRS. The second phase of the Lab,
the Nanoscale Science Facility, was opened in May 2004 by Professor Sir Michael Pepper FRS.
The NPRL now encompasses a flourishing range of both fundamental and applied research programs. An interdisciplinary and
international approach is central to the ethos of the Lab. Collaborations with other departments (Chemistry, Environmental Research, etc)
are enhanced by their proximity on campus, while the Lab sustains international research collaborations with a whole series of partners
in Europe and worldwide.
The NPRL is also committed to the transfer of new concepts and technological innovations from the research lab into industry, including our
spin-out companies, creating new opportunities for sustainable economic development.
Introducing Dylan the Nano-Duck
Monday 18 February 2013
You never know what you’re going to find inside your electron microscope! NPRL’s Kenton Arkill discovered this cute little creature,
now nicknamed Dylan the Nano-Duck. Dylan, whose wingspan is a mere 18nm, is a spontaneous assembly of cerium oxide nanoparticles,
which can be added to diesel fuel to increase efficiency. The work is a collaboration between Richard Palmer’s group and Sean Chen, who is part
of the FABLE project.
The aim is to characterise the nanoparticles at the atomic scale and establish their environmental fate and impact.
Another NPRL Faculty Appointment (this time Down Under)
Monday 11 February 2013
Congratulations to Stefano Palomba, former NPRL PhD student, who has been appointed to a Faculty position in the School of Physics
at the University of Sydney. As you can see from the photo, it seems life could be quite tolerable in Sydney!
Stefano had two post doc positions, first in Rochester then in Berkeley, plus a spell in industry en route to the new job,
and becomes the 21st of Richard Palmer's former students and postdocs to become a fully fledged academic. Let’s all celebrate with a lollipop!
2012 – NPRL’s record-breaking year!
Thursday 7 February 2013
Perhaps it’s fitting that the year the UK hosted the Olympics, and UoB hosted Usain Bolt,
proved to be a record-breaker for the NPRL. More papers were published than
in any year for at least a decade. And the Lab’s publications attracted more citations than ever before,
over 500 in the case of Richard Palmer's papers alone, according to Web of Knowledge. Of course, for any Olympic champion, the biggest
challenge is always the next race…
A nanoscale twist in the tale
Tuesday 6 November 2012
The chirality, or “right-versus-left-handedness”, of a molecule can have a critical impact on its behaviour and safety, especially in
living systems. Small gold clusters are now known to be active in molecular catalysis, so the evidence that the gold-55 cluster is (or can be)
chiral, published by Zhiwei Wang and Richard Palmer in Nano Letters
is of special interest. The discovery is (yet) another exciting result
of the application of aberration-corrected STEM to size-selected clusters at the NPRL. As with the gold-20 cluster, the analysis
of gold-55 shows one specific structure – the chiral isomer predicted by theory – manifesting itself repeatedly out of the continual flux of
structures which the cluster explores over time. Slowly but relentlessly, a new paradigm of the dynamic atomic structure of nanoparticles is
NPRL Holds Breath on Eve of Nobel Announcement: No pressure then for our Leigh Canham!
Monday 8 October 2012
The Nobel Prize in Physics is announced tomorrow. Since Thomson Reuter's annual selection of "Citation Laureates" a few weeks ago
our outstanding Honorary Professor Leigh Canham has been placed
publicly in the frame, on account of his famous discovery of light emission from nanostructured silicon in 1990. Leigh was made an Honorary
Professor in the Nanoscale Physics Research Lab as long ago as 1999 and Leigh's company PSiMedica is located in nearby Malvern. NPRL Head
Richard Palmer comments 'I feel like a child on Christmas Eve wondering exactly what will happen the next day! But whatever happens this year
we should not forget what Thomson Reuters actually say - "By virtue of their scientific achievements and the acclaim of their peers as measured
by citations, these researchers have shown themselves to be 'of Nobel class'." Well done Leigh! See here also.
Friday 28 September 2012
The switching of a single atom or molecule between two different configurations on a surface, like A and B in the picture,
with a consequent change in electrical properties represents a fundamental limit in the miniaturisation of one of the most basic of
circuit components – the electric switch. Such “single molecule switching” can be activated, and also ‘read’, by the tip of the scanning
tunnelling microscope (STM). But does reading of the state of the system with the STM tip itself perturb the switch? In a new paper in
J. Phys., highlighted in IoP's labtalk,
Sumet Sakulsermsuk, Peter Sloan and REP say ‘yes’!
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