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Mini Individual Projects

The students are offered a number of mini project options from supervisors who are willing to support these projects. The projects start in January and complete in March, with the assessment consisting of a mid-term presentation, end of project presentation and poster, and assignment. The projects are spread across the ultra precision community within the UK, with some time spent at the supervisor’s location, and the remainder at Cambridge.


Here are short abstracts of the mini projects conducted in 2017:

3D laser biological imaging system, Pete Atkin

High resolution 3D tomographic imagining of biological systems is a growing area of research. Laser ablation tomography is of particular interest in this field due to its ability to  remove material layers for high resolution imaging at a relatively high rate in comparison with rival technologies. However, current laser ablation tomography systems often suffer from issues with ablated surface quality. The purpose of this project is to assess the use of ultrafast laser ablation to achieve high surface quality whilst maintaining high material removal rates and resolution. If successful this project should provide the ground work for the design and manufacture a fully integrated high-precision laser ablation tomography system.

Advanced fabrication of three-dimensional magnetic nanostructures using Focused Ion Beam, James Macdonald

3D Data storage and logic devices are a current focus of research. This is driven by the historical and future growth in computer storage capacity and the approaching fundamental limits of miniaturization. The benefits of proposed 3D data storage approaches involve higher information density and novel functionalities. A significant challenge for the realization of these techniques is in the physical fabrication of the complex structures required. This project focuses on the technique of focused electron beam induced deposition to create arrays of 3D magnetic nanostructures. In essence, this project aims to accomplish 3D printing of magnetic material at the nanoscale.

A MEMS device for the measurement of micro- and nano- mass, force and flow, Jack Cook

Current traceable measurements of mass and force require a calibration chain to the International Prototype of the kilogram (IPK) held at the Bureau International des Poids et Measures (BIPM) on the outskirts of Paris. Consequently calibration for measurements of micro- or nano- forces and masses require several scaling steps which increase the relative uncertainty on the measurement. The redefinition of the kilogram will enable Kibble balance techniques to measure mechanical force with direct traceability to the SI through electrical measurements. The project involves a feasibility study and basic design analysis on a micro device for traceable measurements of micro- and nano- force and mass.

Design and fabrication of a Transfer Printing Apparatus for Carbon Nanotubes Structures, Fanfan Meng

Advanced carbon nanotube structures are used in many applications ranging from bullet proof fabrics to battery electrodes. For certain applications, including micro sensors and energy storage devices, carbon nanotubes are required to be transferred from the silicon substrate on which they are synthesised, to an appropriate substrate for the targeted application. This project aims to develop a dedicated transfer printing apparatus so that CNTs can be transferred in a  scalable and reproducible way.

Laser writing system for micro patterning roll-to-roll substrates, Peter Christopher

Flexible electronics have been possible in the laboratory for several decades but have only just started to make the transition to consumer products. Peter Christopher is part of a partnership between Heriot-Watt University and the CDT-UP, looking to adapt one such process into an industrially relevant technique. By building a prototype roll-to-roll machine that patterns silver nanoparticles using laser light and a deformable micromirror array, Peter aims to help bridge the gap between the laboratory and the marketplace.

Precision motion via additive manufacturing, Charlie Barty-King

Professor Richard Leach, based out of Nottingham University, leads one of our CDT in UP groups, with a particular focus on ‘Information-Rich Metrology’ in developing new methods of measurement in areas of interest such as advanced manufacturing. Charlie Barty-King is involved in the design of an additively-manufactured precision flexure stage with relatively high working range yet also having high repeatability. This fits into a larger project that aims to create a self-calibrating micro-CMM. The end-goal of Charlie’s work is to suggest some flexure designs and back-up the design choices with simulation data, and if time, experimental data.

Ultra-precision control by condensation and self-organisation, Elkin Lopez-Fontal

Deposited aqueous drops on a hydrophobic surface can be driven to self-organise and pack together to make ordered arrays. Those arrays can, in turn, be captured in a polymer matrix to make unique microstructures. There is a wide range of possible applications, such as cell scaffolds, optical telecommunications, sensors, drug delivery coatings and filters. The idea to be able to modify the size of deposited drops can increase their applicability. We at the Fluids in advanced manufacturing group are at the moment investigating that possibility.