Existing technologies rely on two-dimensional scanning of energy beams, an approach which limits system productivity and results in thermal gradients leading to residual stresses. This research project will focus on maximising builds rates and minimising thermal stresses by consolidating powder layers in a single exposure, initially focusing on the hemispherical structures commonly found in joint prostheses.
BioLaser: Establishing a high-resolution Laser Ablation Tomography Platform for UK Bioimaging Research - Pete Atkin
Developing in-situ monitoring, analysis and control systems for the floating catalyst carbon nanotube fibre production process - James Ryley
Since their discovery carbon nanotubes were expected to lead to the creation of next generation electrical and mechanical products due to their extreme properties, all while being composed of cheaply available carbon. In practice, while laboratory scale synthesis and chemistry has been widely explored bulk industrial production methods (low cost, high volume and scalable) have not caught up, partly due to the difficulty of translating individual nanotube properties to larger objects. The Macromolecular Materials Laboratory here in Cambridge has been tackling this challenge for the past decade through the development of their unique floating catalyst technique. The single-step continuous process uses the thermal breakdown on iron, sulphur and carbon compounds to form entangled nanotube ‘smoke’ which is mechanically drawn down and wound to form a film or condensed to form a thread with excellent mechanical and electrical properties.
Additive Manufacturing (AM) applied to the production of metal components by the melting of metal powders rely on expensive and lengthy methods. Well established technologies using Electron Beam (EBM) and Selective Laser Melting (SLM) currently steer a single or a limited number of beams to raster scan a bed of powder. These methodologies are relatively slow and expensive compared to other manufacturing techniques, and have limitations regarding the output rate of powder melting. Even though they are continuously increasing their performance they still offer an increased throughput at a high cost requiring multi-stage processing
A main objective of the programme is to develop and implement a novel integrated plasma diagnostics tool by combining nN force measurements with high speed pulsed digital holography, laser-induced fluorescence and volumetric ion current analysis within a thermal vacuum chamber. The proposed system will be used to increase our understanding of new and existing energy transfer mechanisms where plasmas are concerned e.g. studying phenomena in laser-matter interactions.
Realising the new kilogram - A linear mechanism to for the next-generation Kibble balance - Charlie Jarvis
This year the kilogram will be redefined. Mass will no longer be related to a physical artefact but to a fixed value of the Planck constant. The National Physical Laboratory is developing the next-generation 'Kibble balance' for the realisation of mass post-redefinition. The balance will be a high-precision commercial instrument with an uncertainty of around one part in a billion, capable of defining the UK's mass scale. The focus of this research is the development of a novel linear guidance mechanism required for the balance.
Ultrafast machining of high temperature superconductor nanostructures for novel mesoscale physics - Katjana Lange
High temperature superconductors (HTS) are novel materials that exhibit zero electrical resistance and exclusion of magnetic fields at temperatures over 77 K. The main aim of this project is to enhance the critical current density (Jc) of thin-film HTS bridges by creating edge-barrier pinning. Assuming a perfect edge, edge-barrier pinning effects bridges as large as 200 μm. This limit becomes smaller as edge quality degrades. Unlike photolithography, laser machining is a chemical free, flexible process; the use of an ultrafast laser gives minimal edge damage.