Applications are invited for a three-year Postgraduate studentship, supported by the Lloyds Registrar Foundation and Teer Coatings Ltd, to be undertaken within the School of Engineering at University of Leicester. The successful applicant will join the Mechanics of Materials Research Group working on diamond and related coatings for antibacterial applications.
Every school child is familiar with the model of space station and spacecraft exhibited at Leicester’s National Space Centre. The Center offers educational resource covering the fields of space science and astronomy, along with a space research programme in partnership with the University of Leicester. In reality, potentially dangerous bacterial and fungi are living on space stations and spacecraft right now, but we have no idea if they’re harmful for astronauts and scientists need to do much more research to figure that out. These bacterial and fungi can also corrode and degrade various materials of the space station, leading to space station equipment failure, platform failure and sealing decline. The project is focused on exploiting the disruptive innovation involving diamonds coatings to address the problem of bacterial and fungal growth in space environment. Thanks to its extreme physical, tribological and thermal properties in addition to tailorable surface functionality and chemical inertness, diamond-based materials have enabled many advanced electronic and biomedical applications. Surface functionalised diamond will add antibacterial/antifungal functionality to the hard and wear resistant aspects of that coating.
The project will involve but is not limited to:
• Develop the growth of plain diamond films, diamond-like carbon films on a range of surfaces relevant to space applications using CVD and PVD techniques
• Develop methods to chemically modify the coating’s surfaces by incorporating silver (Ag) and copper (Cu) into the developed coatings.
• Evaluate the antibacterial activities of the developed coatings
• Evaluate the antibacterial performance of the most optimized coatings identified in a simulated space environment.
• Training in PVD and CVD techniques and surface science characterisation techniques
• Investigation of prepared surfaces in different applications, comparison against state-of –the-art mechanically polished and plasma etched surfaces
The research will be carried out in the School of Engineering in close collaboration with our industrial partners: Teer Coatings Ltd, National Space Centre and Space Park Leicester.