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10 Projects, page 1 of 1

  • Canada
  • UK Research and Innovation
  • UKRI|EPSRC
  • 2022

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/V000683/1
    Funder Contribution: 42,298 GBP
    Partners: University of Connecticut, McGill University, University of York

    A central goal of this Overseas Travel Grant proposal is the establishment of a network of leading researchers with expertise in bone and tooth formation who share the believe that a comprehensive understanding of the nanoscale organization of both mineral and organic phase is at the heart of the development of new approaches for medical treatments. The proposed methodology is making use of the advancement of high-resolution electron imaging and spectroscopy to gain insights into the 3D structure and composition on the nanoscale. This approach is of great importance for a full understanding of the mechanisms behind structure formation and potential failure mechanisms in bones and teeth. In a recent publication (Reznikov et al., Science 2018) we were able to identify 12 levels of organisation in bone from the nano- to the macroscopic scale with a self-similar organisation pattern emerging across the different length-scales. These findings indicate the importance to understand the structure of mineralised tissue on the nanoscale. Based on this work I aim to explore the application of nanoscale imaging using advanced electron microscopy and spectroscopy to mineralised tissue such as bone cells and teeth. In both cases it is highly exciting to gain a full image of the mineral/organic assembly in healthy and disease affected tissues. The complex interplay between the mineral and the organic phases in bones and teeth appears to strongly affect the properties of the resulting biomineral with significant effects of disruptions on the nanoscale due to mineralisation affecting diseases (e.g. osteogenesis imperfecta or amelogenesis imperfecta, osteoporosis, arthritis). Hence, this work will provide a platform for future collaboration with leading life scientists and clinicians and will enable to link the high-resolution information gained by the chosen approaches with diagnostic observations. Both hosts at McGill University in Montreal and University of Connecticut in Hartford provide ideal conditions for both training and research since they have an excellent international reputation on health related materials research and provide access to an outstanding set of experimental techniques to achieve the goals of this proposal.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/V043811/1
    Funder Contribution: 497,214 GBP
    Partners: University of Toronto, University of Liverpool

    Coronaviruses are transmitted from an infectious individual through large respiratory droplets generated by coughing, sneezing or speaking. These infectious droplets are then transmitted to the mucosal surfaces of a recipient through inhalation of the aerosol or by contact with contaminated fomites such as surfaces or other objects. In healthcare settings, personal protective equipment (PPE) plays a crucial role in interrupting the transmission of highly communicable diseases such as COVID19 from patients to healthcare workers (HCWs). However, research has shown that PPE can also act as a fomite during the donning and doffing process as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can survive on these surfaces for up to three days. This creates a need for more effective PPE materials that can provide antiviral protection. In this proposal we aim to develop a dual action antiviral/antifouling coating to lower the risk of transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 to HCWs from COVID19 patients. This project will deliver antiviral/antifouling coatings that can be readily applied to PPE surfaces such as faceshields that are likely to encounter a high level of viral load and would be of great benefit to the health of clinical staff. Furthermore, this project has embedded into its planning a rapid pathway for optimisation, translation, and upscaling of manufacture to deliver a low-cost technology within a short timescale.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/R042578/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,178,040 GBP
    Partners: CAS, CST, University of Toronto, University of Glasgow, Teraview Ltd, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

    Many applications of THz radiation require sources that are compact, low-cost, and operate at room temperature. In this project, a low-noise optically-controlled THz array antenna system will be developed, addressing a significant barrier in the adoption of THz technology. We will demonstrate a novel 'system on a chip', integrating a thin film antenna array, photodiode array, semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) array and optical beam forming network. The SOA array enhances the pump power and ensures all array elements are evenly pumped. The beam former is used to control the phase difference between the THz radiation from different THz antennas, and thus scanning of THz beam can be realized. A THz repetition frequency mode-locked laser will be used as the light source to lock the phase of optical signals in the chip, greatly reducing the linewidth of the THz emission. The advantages of this THz emitter system include a high peak intensity due to radiation from the antennas combining coherently, room temperature operation, continuous-wave operation, compact form factor, and a narrow steerable beam. The sources will be assessed for use in systems for high-bandwidth wireless communications and for medical imaging.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/V002325/1
    Funder Contribution: 395,816 GBP
    Partners: Macquarie University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, University of Quebec, University of California System, CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY, University of Leeds, Université Paris Diderot

    When we begin to study mathematics, we learn that the operation of multiplication on numbers satisfies some basic rules. One of these rules, known as associativity, says that for any three numbers a, b and c, we get the same result if we multiply a and b and then multiply the result by c or if we multiply a by the result of multiplying b and c. This leads to the abstract algebraic notion of a monoid, which is a set (in this case the set of natural numbers) equipped with a binary operation (in this case multiplication) that is associative and has a unit (in this case the number 1). If we continue to study mathematics, we encounter a new kind of multiplication, no longer on numbers but on sets, which is known as Cartesian product. Given two sets A and B, their Cartesian product is the set A x B whose elements are the ordered pairs (a, b), where a is an element of A and b is an element of B. Pictorially, the Cartesian product of two sets is a grid with coordinates given by the elements of the two sets. This operation satisfies some rules, analogous to those for the multiplication of numbers, but a little more subtle. For example, if we are given three sets A, B and C, then the set A x (B x C) is isomorphic (rather than equal) to the set (A x B) x C. Here, being isomorphic means that we they are essentially the same by means of a one-to-one correspondence between the elements A x (B x C) and those of (A x B) x C. This construction leads to the notion of a monoidal category, which amounts to a collection of objects and maps between them (in this case the collection of all sets and functions between them) equipped with a multiplication (in this case the Cartesian product) that is associative and has a unit (in this case the one-element set) up to isomorphism. Monoidal categories, introduced in the '60s, have been extremely important in several areas of mathematics (including logic, algebra, and topology) and theoretical computer science. In logic and theoretical computer science, they connect to linear logic, in which one keeps track of the resources necessary to prove a statement. This project is about the next step in this sequence of abstract notions of multiplication, which is given by the notion of a monoidal bicategory. In a bicategory, we have not only objects and maps but also 2-maps, which can be thought of as "maps between maps" and allow us to capture how different maps relate to each other. In a monoidal bicategory, we have a way of multiplying their objects, maps and 2-maps, subject to complex axioms. Monoidal bicategories, introduced in the '90s, have potential for applications even greater than that of monoidal categories, as they allow us to keep track of even more information. We seek to realise this potential by advancing the theory of monoidal bicategories. We will prove fundamental theorems about them, develop new connections to linear logic and theoretical computer science and investigate examples that are of interest in algebra and topology. Our work connects to algebra via an important research programme known as "categorification", which is concerned with replacing set-based structures (like monoids) with category-based structures (like monoidal categories) in order to obtain more subtle invariants. Our work links to topology via the notion of an operad, which is a flexible tool used to describe algebraic structures in which axioms do not hold as equalities, but rather up to weak forms of isomorphism. Overall, this project will bring the theory of monoidal bicategories to a new level and promote interdisciplinary research within mathematics and with theoretical computer science.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/L016389/1
    Funder Contribution: 3,390,300 GBP
    Partners: Tata Steel (United Kingdom), Leeds Beckett University, Jaguar Cars Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline, Cranfield University, UBC, J H Richards & Co Ltd, Jonkoping University, University of Fribourg, McGill University...

    EPSRC's EngD was successfully modernised by WMG in 2011 with radical ideas on how high-level skills should be implemented to address the future needs of manufacturing companies within the UK and globally. In a continual rise to the challenge of a low environmental impact future, our new proposed Centre goes a step further, delivering a future generation of manufacturing business leaders with high level know-how and research experience that is essential to compete in a global environment defined by high impact and low carbon. Our proposed Centre spans the area of Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing. It will cover a wide remit of activity necessary to bring about long term real world manufacturing impacts in critical UK industries. We will focus upon novel research areas including the harnessing of biotechnology in manufacturing, sustainable chemistry, resource efficient manufacturing and high tech, low resource approaches to manufacturing. We will also develop innovative production processes that allow new feedstocks to be utilised, facilitate dematerialisation and light weighting of existing approaches or enable new products to be made. Research will be carried into areas including novel production technologies, additive layer manufacturing, net shape and near-net shape manufacturing. We will further deliver materials technologies that allow the substitution of traditional materials with novel and sustainable alternatives or enable the utilisation of materials with greater efficiency in current systems. We will also focus upon reducing the inputs (e.g. energy and water) and impacting outputs (e.g. CO2 and effluents) through innovative process and product design and value recovery from wastes. Industry recognises there is an increasing and time-critical need to turn away from using non-sustainable manufacturing feed-stocks and soon we will need to move from using processes that are perceived publically, and known scientifically, to be environmentally detrimental if we are to sustain land/water resources and reduce our carbon footprint. To achieve this, UK PLC needs to be more efficient with its resources, developing a more closed-loop approach to resource use in manufacturing whilst reducing the environmental impact of associated manufacturing processes. We will need to train a whole new generation of doctoral level students capable of working across discipline and cultural boundaries who, whilst working with industry on relevant TRL 1-5 research, can bring about these long term changes. Our Centre will address industrially challenging issues that enable individuals and their sponsoring companies to develop and implement effective low environmental impact solutions that benefit the 'bottom line'. Research achievements and enhanced skills capabilities in Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing will help insure businesses against uncertainty in the supply of materials and price volatility in global markets and enable them to use their commitment to competitively differentiate themselves.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/S027270/1
    Funder Contribution: 499,752 GBP
    Partners: University of St Andrews, Queen's University Canada

    This proposal aims to examine the utility of N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) in a number of technologically important areas including corrosion inhibition, etching of metal surfaces and enantioselective heterogeneous catalysis. This is a collaborative project between a catalytic surface scientist (Prof. Chris Baddeley, St Andrews) and experts in organometallic chemistry and materials science (Prof. Cathy Crudden, Queen's University, Ontario) and surface and materials chemistry (Prof. Hugh Horton, Queen's University, Ontario). NHCs are an exciting class of molecules that have been successfully and extensively employed in homogeneous catalysis since the 1990s. There has recently been a rapid increase in interest in the use of NHCs for the stabilisation of transition metal nanoparticles and extended metal surfaces. A very attractive feature of NHCs is their highly flexible synthesis. This makes it relatively straightforward to introduce functionality into the molecular structure of NHCs in order to tailor their properties. A key advance in this area was the development by Crudden's group of synthetic methods to produce bench stable NHCs in the carbonate form. Our work showed that NHCs of this type could be vapour deposited in ultrahigh vacuum onto metal surfaces (Baddeley) as well as being deposited from solution (Horton). Since the 1980s the creation of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on metal surfaces has led to many important applications. Commonly, SAMs consist of thiolate modified Au surfaces. Crudden and Horton showed that NHCs on Au outperform their thiolate analogues in terms of chemical and thermal stability. Baddeley was able to measure the strength of the Au-carbene bond and show that it is significantly stronger than the Au-S bond in thiolate SAMs. This project aims to exploit the chemical and thermal stability of NHC modified metals in a number of ways. Baddeley will use the complementary techniques of scanning tunnelling microscopy, high resolution electron energy loss spectroscopy and temperature programmed desorption to quantify the adsorption energy of NHCs on metal surfaces, to characterise the orientation, packing and thermal stability of adsorbed NHC molecules. The ability of NHCs to etch oxide surfaces and to passivate metal surfaces will be investigated with the objective of applying NHCs in the field of corrosion inhibition. The adsorption of chiral NHCs onto metal surfaces will be investigated with the aim of developing enantioselective heterogeneous catalysts - i.e. catalysts capable of producing one mirror image form of an organic molecule and not the other. Enantioselective catalysis is extremely important in the pharmaceutical and agrochemicals industries, but, to date, heterogeneous catalysts have made little impact on an industrial scale.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/V027433/1
    Funder Contribution: 386,153 GBP
    Partners: Bramble Energy, University of Lincoln, NPL, University of Toronto, CAS, HKU

    Clean energy needs to be stored in an efficient and safe configuration to help improve the environment. Li-ion batteries still dominate the electrochemical energy storage market, however, they have disadvantages of relatively high cost, potential explosion and complicated manufacture. The demands for more sustainable and safer battery technologies are constantly increasing and the utilisation of energy storage devices under severe environments are required to satisfy practical applications. Aqueous battery systems have remarkable potential as next-generation energy storage devices because the cost of raw materials can be reduced, the battery can be fabricated in a more sustainable and facile process and explosive accidents can be avoided. Zn-ion batteries in aqueous/hydrogel electrolyte are favourable candidates due to their relatively low cost and safety advantages. Importantly, Zn-ion batteries can be a ready-to-use technique for all battery companies as they can use the same battery fabrication facilities as Li-ion batteries. However, the specific capacity, energy and power density of current Zn-ion batteries are restricted due to the relatively large hydrated zinc ions and high polarization of bivalent zinc ions. Therefore, the development on the cathodes of Zn-ion batteries have been motivated. Manganese oxide-based materials are favourable due to their suitable structures, abundant and cost-effective properties, environmentally friendly nature and a large working voltage window. But the problems such as limited intercalated channels, poor stability during battery charge/discharge processes, unclarified and complicated mechanism and low electron conductivity of manganese oxide-based cathodes need to be solved, thus the innovation of structures for manganese oxide-based cathodes calls for further exploration. In the SENSE project, manganese-based cathode materials coupled with suitable hydrogel electrolytes for Zn-ion batteries will be designed via multi-level structural engineering to utilise them under harsh conditions, for the purpose of innovating inexpensive and high-performance devices. Through collaborations with both academic and industrial partners, state-of-the-art materials and device characterisation techniques will be used to understand the underlying mechanisms for battery behaviours. After successfully fulfilling SENSE, Zn-ion batteries can exhibit a volumetric energy density of > 650 Wh L-1 and a power density of > 220 W L-1. The energy price of which can be estimated as £50/kWh, lower than that of Li-ion batteries (£126/kWh), and Ni-Fe batteries (£58/kWh). Therefore, SENSE will not only help advance the quality of battery research and innovative efforts in the UK, but also strengthen and stimulate the development of new technologies in the UK battery industry.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/V043102/1
    Funder Contribution: 510,561 GBP
    Partners: ACDEP, UNESCO, Dedha Council of Elders, Local Indigenous Organisations, The Kellermann Foundation, Yakutsk State University, Health Without Limits Peru, Provincial Council, Administration of Lamynkhinsky, Dept of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources...

    Indigenous Peoples (IPs) are believed to be at particularly high risk from COVID, exacerbated by climate risks and socio-economic stresses. There is emerging evidence that national responses to the pandemic are compounding the vulnerability of IPs, exacerbated by little--if any--understanding on the unique pathways through which COVID will affect IPs. This project will address this knowledge and policy gap by documenting, monitoring, and examining how COVID is interacting with multiple stresses to affect the food systems of IPs globally, co-generating knowledge and capacity to strengthen resilience. Our focus on food reflects the fact that many of the risks posed by COVID stem from interactions with food systems, which for IPs are composed of a mix of traditional and modern elements. The work will be undertaken in collaboration with 24 distinct Indigenous peoples in 14 countries, and is structured around objectives which will: document the emergence of COVID and examine its impacts on food systems to-date; monitor and examine the real-time lived experiences, responses, and observations on COVIDs impact on food systems; compile and assess how COVID is being officially communicated and responded to; identify, examine, and promote interventions to strengthen resilience; and examine scalable insights for vulnerable populations across LMICs. Qualitative data collection is underpinned by a network of 'COVID Observers' within communities, in decision making roles, and researchers already located in the study regions, who will document their experiences and observations in reflective diaries over a 12 month period, capturing different stages of the pandemic and how multiple factors interact over time to create vulnerability and resilience. The global scope of the work builds upon ongoing and completed projects by team members in the study regions, leveraging considerable capacity and networks developed in work funded by DFID, UKRI, Wellcome Trust, FAO, and IDRC, among others.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/R003629/1
    Funder Contribution: 598,309 GBP
    Partners: Delft University of Technology, Arup Group Ltd, University of Waterloo (Canada), University of California, Berkeley, Newcastle University, Cornell University, NTNU Norwegian Uni of Science & Tech, Powerbetter Environmental Processes

    The proposal anticipates a new era of fabrication driven by Synthetic Biology and our ability to manipulate living organisms to make new materials and structures. We are also going beyond the usual application domains of Synthetic Biology by applying it to Civil Engineering, expanding design methods and opening up a new area of Engineering Design. To achieve this we will develop a living material which can respond to physical forces in its environment through the synthesis of strengthening materials. This concept is partly biomimetic inspired by for example the way in which our bones strengthen, becoming more dense under repeated load. However, we are also proposing to buid this system using living bacteria cells which have no such functional requirement in nature. Imagine a hydrogel (jelly) containing billions of engineered bacteria. A weight is placed on top of the jelly and, as it is loaded the bacteria in the material sense the mechanical changes in their environment and begin to induce mineral crystals to form. As they make this material the jelly stiffens and strengthens to resist the load. By the end of this project we will be able to demonstrate this principle creating an entirely novel living material. We are working with project partners from across industry and academia to develop this proof of concept and to investigate the broad applications of such a technology to, for example, create self constructing building foundations and make large scale structures where it is very difficult to build using traditional buildings and materials.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/N017188/1
    Funder Contribution: 5,296,040 GBP
    Partners: University of Cambridge, University of Waterloo (Canada), Private Address, CDT, Amadeus Capital Partners Limited, University of Oxford, UQ, Oxford Nanopore Technologies (United Kingdom), IBM Research GmbH, Oxford Instruments plc...

    Put your hand under a working laptop computer and you'll find that it's warm, due to the heat produced by the transistors in it. This isn't just a problem for your own computer: nearly 5% of the world's electricity is used by computers and the internet, a figure expected to double over the next decade. Much of this is wasted in generating heat that, according to thermodynamic theory, is not needed for information processing; and over half is for cooling systems to remove the unwanted heat. The resulting carbon emissions are comparable to the total global aviation industry. If we can reduce the energy consumption of logic operations in information technologies, or scavenge just a fraction of the waste heat, the effect on energy use and carbon emissions could be vast. Recent research breakthroughs have opened up new possibilities for making tiny electronic components and circuits, based on individual molecules, which have the potential to do just that (since their behaviour is not constrained by the laws of classical physics). To make this a reality, we must first learn to understand and control quantum effects in electronic nanodevices. We can use a new material, graphene, to make mechanically and chemically stable electrodes and connect them to electrically-active molecules. New methods allow us to make a very small gap in graphene which is just the right size for a molecule or a single strand of DNA (for fast and cheap DNA sequencing). Chemical units have been developed that attach to molecules and adhere like sticky notes to the graphene contacts on each side of the gap.. With graphene electrodes we can also make magnetic connections to single molecules to create molecular memory devices. A phenomenon called quantum interference can dramatically affect the flow of electric current in molecules. Harnessing these quantum effects will enable us to make tiny switches that would consume very little energy, and to generate electricity from small differences in temperature. The time is ripe for a focused research effort, drawing together these advances to transform our understanding and to pave the way for practical applications. Our programme is one of discovery science with a view to practical benefit. QuEEN will first establish the basic platform technology for experiments on single-molecule devices, including selection of the best molecules and control of their quantum interference by a local electric field. It will conclude by seeking to transfer results from rather ideal (cryogenic) laboratory conditions to a real-world environment, at room temperature. In between those two challenges, we shall explore three particularly promising areas for scientific discovery and application: controlling the magnetic property of an electron, known as spin, for quantum interference for potential use in universal computer memories; seeing how much electricity a molecule can generate if its ends are held at different temperatures, offering the potential for energy harvesting; and finding the performance limits of a single-molecule transistor, for potential uses in low-power computing and timer-controllers for the Internet of Things. The research requires four core skill sets, which form a virtuous circle: chemistry, to design and synthesise the molecules at the heart of our devices and stick them reliably to electrodes; nanofabrication, to make molecule-sized gaps in graphene ribbons; measurement techniques and advanced instrumentation to control the environment and characterise the quantum effects; and theory, to predict the effects, screen potential molecules, and interpret the results. QuEEN brings together a research team with exactly the right mix of expertise; an Advisory Board with wide experience of successful technological entrepreneurship; and a group of industrial partners who will not only shape and assist with the research but also provide a pathway to technological innovation and real-world applications.

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The following results are related to Canada. Are you interested to view more results? Visit OpenAIRE - Explore.
10 Projects, page 1 of 1
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/V000683/1
    Funder Contribution: 42,298 GBP
    Partners: University of Connecticut, McGill University, University of York

    A central goal of this Overseas Travel Grant proposal is the establishment of a network of leading researchers with expertise in bone and tooth formation who share the believe that a comprehensive understanding of the nanoscale organization of both mineral and organic phase is at the heart of the development of new approaches for medical treatments. The proposed methodology is making use of the advancement of high-resolution electron imaging and spectroscopy to gain insights into the 3D structure and composition on the nanoscale. This approach is of great importance for a full understanding of the mechanisms behind structure formation and potential failure mechanisms in bones and teeth. In a recent publication (Reznikov et al., Science 2018) we were able to identify 12 levels of organisation in bone from the nano- to the macroscopic scale with a self-similar organisation pattern emerging across the different length-scales. These findings indicate the importance to understand the structure of mineralised tissue on the nanoscale. Based on this work I aim to explore the application of nanoscale imaging using advanced electron microscopy and spectroscopy to mineralised tissue such as bone cells and teeth. In both cases it is highly exciting to gain a full image of the mineral/organic assembly in healthy and disease affected tissues. The complex interplay between the mineral and the organic phases in bones and teeth appears to strongly affect the properties of the resulting biomineral with significant effects of disruptions on the nanoscale due to mineralisation affecting diseases (e.g. osteogenesis imperfecta or amelogenesis imperfecta, osteoporosis, arthritis). Hence, this work will provide a platform for future collaboration with leading life scientists and clinicians and will enable to link the high-resolution information gained by the chosen approaches with diagnostic observations. Both hosts at McGill University in Montreal and University of Connecticut in Hartford provide ideal conditions for both training and research since they have an excellent international reputation on health related materials research and provide access to an outstanding set of experimental techniques to achieve the goals of this proposal.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/V043811/1
    Funder Contribution: 497,214 GBP
    Partners: University of Toronto, University of Liverpool

    Coronaviruses are transmitted from an infectious individual through large respiratory droplets generated by coughing, sneezing or speaking. These infectious droplets are then transmitted to the mucosal surfaces of a recipient through inhalation of the aerosol or by contact with contaminated fomites such as surfaces or other objects. In healthcare settings, personal protective equipment (PPE) plays a crucial role in interrupting the transmission of highly communicable diseases such as COVID19 from patients to healthcare workers (HCWs). However, research has shown that PPE can also act as a fomite during the donning and doffing process as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can survive on these surfaces for up to three days. This creates a need for more effective PPE materials that can provide antiviral protection. In this proposal we aim to develop a dual action antiviral/antifouling coating to lower the risk of transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 to HCWs from COVID19 patients. This project will deliver antiviral/antifouling coatings that can be readily applied to PPE surfaces such as faceshields that are likely to encounter a high level of viral load and would be of great benefit to the health of clinical staff. Furthermore, this project has embedded into its planning a rapid pathway for optimisation, translation, and upscaling of manufacture to deliver a low-cost technology within a short timescale.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/R042578/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,178,040 GBP
    Partners: CAS, CST, University of Toronto, University of Glasgow, Teraview Ltd, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

    Many applications of THz radiation require sources that are compact, low-cost, and operate at room temperature. In this project, a low-noise optically-controlled THz array antenna system will be developed, addressing a significant barrier in the adoption of THz technology. We will demonstrate a novel 'system on a chip', integrating a thin film antenna array, photodiode array, semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) array and optical beam forming network. The SOA array enhances the pump power and ensures all array elements are evenly pumped. The beam former is used to control the phase difference between the THz radiation from different THz antennas, and thus scanning of THz beam can be realized. A THz repetition frequency mode-locked laser will be used as the light source to lock the phase of optical signals in the chip, greatly reducing the linewidth of the THz emission. The advantages of this THz emitter system include a high peak intensity due to radiation from the antennas combining coherently, room temperature operation, continuous-wave operation, compact form factor, and a narrow steerable beam. The sources will be assessed for use in systems for high-bandwidth wireless communications and for medical imaging.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/V002325/1
    Funder Contribution: 395,816 GBP
    Partners: Macquarie University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, University of Quebec, University of California System, CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY, University of Leeds, Université Paris Diderot

    When we begin to study mathematics, we learn that the operation of multiplication on numbers satisfies some basic rules. One of these rules, known as associativity, says that for any three numbers a, b and c, we get the same result if we multiply a and b and then multiply the result by c or if we multiply a by the result of multiplying b and c. This leads to the abstract algebraic notion of a monoid, which is a set (in this case the set of natural numbers) equipped with a binary operation (in this case multiplication) that is associative and has a unit (in this case the number 1). If we continue to study mathematics, we encounter a new kind of multiplication, no longer on numbers but on sets, which is known as Cartesian product. Given two sets A and B, their Cartesian product is the set A x B whose elements are the ordered pairs (a, b), where a is an element of A and b is an element of B. Pictorially, the Cartesian product of two sets is a grid with coordinates given by the elements of the two sets. This operation satisfies some rules, analogous to those for the multiplication of numbers, but a little more subtle. For example, if we are given three sets A, B and C, then the set A x (B x C) is isomorphic (rather than equal) to the set (A x B) x C. Here, being isomorphic means that we they are essentially the same by means of a one-to-one correspondence between the elements A x (B x C) and those of (A x B) x C. This construction leads to the notion of a monoidal category, which amounts to a collection of objects and maps between them (in this case the collection of all sets and functions between them) equipped with a multiplication (in this case the Cartesian product) that is associative and has a unit (in this case the one-element set) up to isomorphism. Monoidal categories, introduced in the '60s, have been extremely important in several areas of mathematics (including logic, algebra, and topology) and theoretical computer science. In logic and theoretical computer science, they connect to linear logic, in which one keeps track of the resources necessary to prove a statement. This project is about the next step in this sequence of abstract notions of multiplication, which is given by the notion of a monoidal bicategory. In a bicategory, we have not only objects and maps but also 2-maps, which can be thought of as "maps between maps" and allow us to capture how different maps relate to each other. In a monoidal bicategory, we have a way of multiplying their objects, maps and 2-maps, subject to complex axioms. Monoidal bicategories, introduced in the '90s, have potential for applications even greater than that of monoidal categories, as they allow us to keep track of even more information. We seek to realise this potential by advancing the theory of monoidal bicategories. We will prove fundamental theorems about them, develop new connections to linear logic and theoretical computer science and investigate examples that are of interest in algebra and topology. Our work connects to algebra via an important research programme known as "categorification", which is concerned with replacing set-based structures (like monoids) with category-based structures (like monoidal categories) in order to obtain more subtle invariants. Our work links to topology via the notion of an operad, which is a flexible tool used to describe algebraic structures in which axioms do not hold as equalities, but rather up to weak forms of isomorphism. Overall, this project will bring the theory of monoidal bicategories to a new level and promote interdisciplinary research within mathematics and with theoretical computer science.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/L016389/1
    Funder Contribution: 3,390,300 GBP
    Partners: Tata Steel (United Kingdom), Leeds Beckett University, Jaguar Cars Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline, Cranfield University, UBC, J H Richards & Co Ltd, Jonkoping University, University of Fribourg, McGill University...

    EPSRC's EngD was successfully modernised by WMG in 2011 with radical ideas on how high-level skills should be implemented to address the future needs of manufacturing companies within the UK and globally. In a continual rise to the challenge of a low environmental impact future, our new proposed Centre goes a step further, delivering a future generation of manufacturing business leaders with high level know-how and research experience that is essential to compete in a global environment defined by high impact and low carbon. Our proposed Centre spans the area of Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing. It will cover a wide remit of activity necessary to bring about long term real world manufacturing impacts in critical UK industries. We will focus upon novel research areas including the harnessing of biotechnology in manufacturing, sustainable chemistry, resource efficient manufacturing and high tech, low resource approaches to manufacturing. We will also develop innovative production processes that allow new feedstocks to be utilised, facilitate dematerialisation and light weighting of existing approaches or enable new products to be made. Research will be carried into areas including novel production technologies, additive layer manufacturing, net shape and near-net shape manufacturing. We will further deliver materials technologies that allow the substitution of traditional materials with novel and sustainable alternatives or enable the utilisation of materials with greater efficiency in current systems. We will also focus upon reducing the inputs (e.g. energy and water) and impacting outputs (e.g. CO2 and effluents) through innovative process and product design and value recovery from wastes. Industry recognises there is an increasing and time-critical need to turn away from using non-sustainable manufacturing feed-stocks and soon we will need to move from using processes that are perceived publically, and known scientifically, to be environmentally detrimental if we are to sustain land/water resources and reduce our carbon footprint. To achieve this, UK PLC needs to be more efficient with its resources, developing a more closed-loop approach to resource use in manufacturing whilst reducing the environmental impact of associated manufacturing processes. We will need to train a whole new generation of doctoral level students capable of working across discipline and cultural boundaries who, whilst working with industry on relevant TRL 1-5 research, can bring about these long term changes. Our Centre will address industrially challenging issues that enable individuals and their sponsoring companies to develop and implement effective low environmental impact solutions that benefit the 'bottom line'. Research achievements and enhanced skills capabilities in Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing will help insure businesses against uncertainty in the supply of materials and price volatility in global markets and enable them to use their commitment to competitively differentiate themselves.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/S027270/1
    Funder Contribution: 499,752 GBP
    Partners: University of St Andrews, Queen's University Canada

    This proposal aims to examine the utility of N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) in a number of technologically important areas including corrosion inhibition, etching of metal surfaces and enantioselective heterogeneous catalysis. This is a collaborative project between a catalytic surface scientist (Prof. Chris Baddeley, St Andrews) and experts in organometallic chemistry and materials science (Prof. Cathy Crudden, Queen's University, Ontario) and surface and materials chemistry (Prof. Hugh Horton, Queen's University, Ontario). NHCs are an exciting class of molecules that have been successfully and extensively employed in homogeneous catalysis since the 1990s. There has recently been a rapid increase in interest in the use of NHCs for the stabilisation of transition metal nanoparticles and extended metal surfaces. A very attractive feature of NHCs is their highly flexible synthesis. This makes it relatively straightforward to introduce functionality into the molecular structure of NHCs in order to tailor their properties. A key advance in this area was the development by Crudden's group of synthetic methods to produce bench stable NHCs in the carbonate form. Our work showed that NHCs of this type could be vapour deposited in ultrahigh vacuum onto metal surfaces (Baddeley) as well as being deposited from solution (Horton). Since the 1980s the creation of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on metal surfaces has led to many important applications. Commonly, SAMs consist of thiolate modified Au surfaces. Crudden and Horton showed that NHCs on Au outperform their thiolate analogues in terms of chemical and thermal stability. Baddeley was able to measure the strength of the Au-carbene bond and show that it is significantly stronger than the Au-S bond in thiolate SAMs. This project aims to exploit the chemical and thermal stability of NHC modified metals in a number of ways. Baddeley will use the complementary techniques of scanning tunnelling microscopy, high resolution electron energy loss spectroscopy and temperature programmed desorption to quantify the adsorption energy of NHCs on metal surfaces, to characterise the orientation, packing and thermal stability of adsorbed NHC molecules. The ability of NHCs to etch oxide surfaces and to passivate metal surfaces will be investigated with the objective of applying NHCs in the field of corrosion inhibition. The adsorption of chiral NHCs onto metal surfaces will be investigated with the aim of developing enantioselective heterogeneous catalysts - i.e. catalysts capable of producing one mirror image form of an organic molecule and not the other. Enantioselective catalysis is extremely important in the pharmaceutical and agrochemicals industries, but, to date, heterogeneous catalysts have made little impact on an industrial scale.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/V027433/1
    Funder Contribution: 386,153 GBP
    Partners: Bramble Energy, University of Lincoln, NPL, University of Toronto, CAS, HKU

    Clean energy needs to be stored in an efficient and safe configuration to help improve the environment. Li-ion batteries still dominate the electrochemical energy storage market, however, they have disadvantages of relatively high cost, potential explosion and complicated manufacture. The demands for more sustainable and safer battery technologies are constantly increasing and the utilisation of energy storage devices under severe environments are required to satisfy practical applications. Aqueous battery systems have remarkable potential as next-generation energy storage devices because the cost of raw materials can be reduced, the battery can be fabricated in a more sustainable and facile process and explosive accidents can be avoided. Zn-ion batteries in aqueous/hydrogel electrolyte are favourable candidates due to their relatively low cost and safety advantages. Importantly, Zn-ion batteries can be a ready-to-use technique for all battery companies as they can use the same battery fabrication facilities as Li-ion batteries. However, the specific capacity, energy and power density of current Zn-ion batteries are restricted due to the relatively large hydrated zinc ions and high polarization of bivalent zinc ions. Therefore, the development on the cathodes of Zn-ion batteries have been motivated. Manganese oxide-based materials are favourable due to their suitable structures, abundant and cost-effective properties, environmentally friendly nature and a large working voltage window. But the problems such as limited intercalated channels, poor stability during battery charge/discharge processes, unclarified and complicated mechanism and low electron conductivity of manganese oxide-based cathodes need to be solved, thus the innovation of structures for manganese oxide-based cathodes calls for further exploration. In the SENSE project, manganese-based cathode materials coupled with suitable hydrogel electrolytes for Zn-ion batteries will be designed via multi-level structural engineering to utilise them under harsh conditions, for the purpose of innovating inexpensive and high-performance devices. Through collaborations with both academic and industrial partners, state-of-the-art materials and device characterisation techniques will be used to understand the underlying mechanisms for battery behaviours. After successfully fulfilling SENSE, Zn-ion batteries can exhibit a volumetric energy density of > 650 Wh L-1 and a power density of > 220 W L-1. The energy price of which can be estimated as £50/kWh, lower than that of Li-ion batteries (£126/kWh), and Ni-Fe batteries (£58/kWh). Therefore, SENSE will not only help advance the quality of battery research and innovative efforts in the UK, but also strengthen and stimulate the development of new technologies in the UK battery industry.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/V043102/1
    Funder Contribution: 510,561 GBP
    Partners: ACDEP, UNESCO, Dedha Council of Elders, Local Indigenous Organisations, The Kellermann Foundation, Yakutsk State University, Health Without Limits Peru, Provincial Council, Administration of Lamynkhinsky, Dept of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources...

    Indigenous Peoples (IPs) are believed to be at particularly high risk from COVID, exacerbated by climate risks and socio-economic stresses. There is emerging evidence that national responses to the pandemic are compounding the vulnerability of IPs, exacerbated by little--if any--understanding on the unique pathways through which COVID will affect IPs. This project will address this knowledge and policy gap by documenting, monitoring, and examining how COVID is interacting with multiple stresses to affect the food systems of IPs globally, co-generating knowledge and capacity to strengthen resilience. Our focus on food reflects the fact that many of the risks posed by COVID stem from interactions with food systems, which for IPs are composed of a mix of traditional and modern elements. The work will be undertaken in collaboration with 24 distinct Indigenous peoples in 14 countries, and is structured around objectives which will: document the emergence of COVID and examine its impacts on food systems to-date; monitor and examine the real-time lived experiences, responses, and observations on COVIDs impact on food systems; compile and assess how COVID is being officially communicated and responded to; identify, examine, and promote interventions to strengthen resilience; and examine scalable insights for vulnerable populations across LMICs. Qualitative data collection is underpinned by a network of 'COVID Observers' within communities, in decision making roles, and researchers already located in the study regions, who will document their experiences and observations in reflective diaries over a 12 month period, capturing different stages of the pandemic and how multiple factors interact over time to create vulnerability and resilience. The global scope of the work builds upon ongoing and completed projects by team members in the study regions, leveraging considerable capacity and networks developed in work funded by DFID, UKRI, Wellcome Trust, FAO, and IDRC, among others.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/R003629/1
    Funder Contribution: 598,309 GBP
    Partners: Delft University of Technology, Arup Group Ltd, University of Waterloo (Canada), University of California, Berkeley, Newcastle University, Cornell University, NTNU Norwegian Uni of Science & Tech, Powerbetter Environmental Processes

    The proposal anticipates a new era of fabrication driven by Synthetic Biology and our ability to manipulate living organisms to make new materials and structures. We are also going beyond the usual application domains of Synthetic Biology by applying it to Civil Engineering, expanding design methods and opening up a new area of Engineering Design. To achieve this we will develop a living material which can respond to physical forces in its environment through the synthesis of strengthening materials. This concept is partly biomimetic inspired by for example the way in which our bones strengthen, becoming more dense under repeated load. However, we are also proposing to buid this system using living bacteria cells which have no such functional requirement in nature. Imagine a hydrogel (jelly) containing billions of engineered bacteria. A weight is placed on top of the jelly and, as it is loaded the bacteria in the material sense the mechanical changes in their environment and begin to induce mineral crystals to form. As they make this material the jelly stiffens and strengthens to resist the load. By the end of this project we will be able to demonstrate this principle creating an entirely novel living material. We are working with project partners from across industry and academia to develop this proof of concept and to investigate the broad applications of such a technology to, for example, create self constructing building foundations and make large scale structures where it is very difficult to build using traditional buildings and materials.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/N017188/1
    Funder Contribution: 5,296,040 GBP
    Partners: University of Cambridge, University of Waterloo (Canada), Private Address, CDT, Amadeus Capital Partners Limited, University of Oxford, UQ, Oxford Nanopore Technologies (United Kingdom), IBM Research GmbH, Oxford Instruments plc...

    Put your hand under a working laptop computer and you'll find that it's warm, due to the heat produced by the transistors in it. This isn't just a problem for your own computer: nearly 5% of the world's electricity is used by computers and the internet, a figure expected to double over the next decade. Much of this is wasted in generating heat that, according to thermodynamic theory, is not needed for information processing; and over half is for cooling systems to remove the unwanted heat. The resulting carbon emissions are comparable to the total global aviation industry. If we can reduce the energy consumption of logic operations in information technologies, or scavenge just a fraction of the waste heat, the effect on energy use and carbon emissions could be vast. Recent research breakthroughs have opened up new possibilities for making tiny electronic components and circuits, based on individual molecules, which have the potential to do just that (since their behaviour is not constrained by the laws of classical physics). To make this a reality, we must first learn to understand and control quantum effects in electronic nanodevices. We can use a new material, graphene, to make mechanically and chemically stable electrodes and connect them to electrically-active molecules. New methods allow us to make a very small gap in graphene which is just the right size for a molecule or a single strand of DNA (for fast and cheap DNA sequencing). Chemical units have been developed that attach to molecules and adhere like sticky notes to the graphene contacts on each side of the gap.. With graphene electrodes we can also make magnetic connections to single molecules to create molecular memory devices. A phenomenon called quantum interference can dramatically affect the flow of electric current in molecules. Harnessing these quantum effects will enable us to make tiny switches that would consume very little energy, and to generate electricity from small differences in temperature. The time is ripe for a focused research effort, drawing together these advances to transform our understanding and to pave the way for practical applications. Our programme is one of discovery science with a view to practical benefit. QuEEN will first establish the basic platform technology for experiments on single-molecule devices, including selection of the best molecules and control of their quantum interference by a local electric field. It will conclude by seeking to transfer results from rather ideal (cryogenic) laboratory conditions to a real-world environment, at room temperature. In between those two challenges, we shall explore three particularly promising areas for scientific discovery and application: controlling the magnetic property of an electron, known as spin, for quantum interference for potential use in universal computer memories; seeing how much electricity a molecule can generate if its ends are held at different temperatures, offering the potential for energy harvesting; and finding the performance limits of a single-molecule transistor, for potential uses in low-power computing and timer-controllers for the Internet of Things. The research requires four core skill sets, which form a virtuous circle: chemistry, to design and synthesise the molecules at the heart of our devices and stick them reliably to electrodes; nanofabrication, to make molecule-sized gaps in graphene ribbons; measurement techniques and advanced instrumentation to control the environment and characterise the quantum effects; and theory, to predict the effects, screen potential molecules, and interpret the results. QuEEN brings together a research team with exactly the right mix of expertise; an Advisory Board with wide experience of successful technological entrepreneurship; and a group of industrial partners who will not only shape and assist with the research but also provide a pathway to technological innovation and real-world applications.