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CH976: Novel & Efficient Methods of Material Synthesis

This is the first module of the 1-year MSc in Diamond Science & Technology. This module will underpin the later modules on Characterisation, Applications, etc, and will take place early in October. Although diamond is the focus, it will include details about the properties, deposition, fabrication and applications of a range of advanced modern materials, such as CNTs, cBN, GaN, ZnO, etc. The module has been broken down into small lecture components given by an expert in the field from one of the partner universities.

The students will gain a working knowledge of many of the advanced modern materials in use by UK science & technology industries, as well as their fabrication processes, properties, and example applications. As well as lectures, there will be some interactive practicals and workshops based on the course material. The course outline is:

Lectures 1-5: General materials synthesis in the lab (Paul May, Bristol)

Overview on materials synthesis techniques, including thermal growth (e.g. CNTs, graphene, oxides, carbides), evaporation (metal layers), sputtering (ceramics, ZnO, HTC superconductors), laser ablation (ZnO, metal particulates), CVD (general principles, plus examples, such as SiC, GaN, cBN, etc. Briefly mentions diamond).

Lectures 6-7: CVD of diamond (Paul May, Bristol)

Different types of CVD reactor. Recipe for diamond growth. SCD, MCD, NCD and UNCD. Gas chemistry, growth species, surface mobility, etc. Nucleation methods. Substrate interaction. Doping.

Lecture 12&13: Diamondoids & Nanodiamond (Paul May, Bristol)

Detonation nanodiamond, preparation, purification, suspensions in water, etc. Use of ND as a seed to make very thin continuous NCD films, and then membranes. Functionalisation.

Lectures 14-16: Understanding CVD - diagnostics (Mike Ashfold, Bristol)

OES, CRDS, RGA, MBMS, gas-phase modelling, kMC modelling of surfaces.

Lectures 8-9: Geological synthesis of minerals/materials (Simon Kohn, Bristol)

How materials are formed in nature. Crystallisation from the gas phase in solar nebula, crystallisation from melts in igneous rocks and precipitation of minerals from aqueous fluids, mineral deposits, fluids in the Earth's mantle and diamond-forming reactions in the Earth. Materials include: rocks, crystals, sapphire, ruby, minerals (gold, silver, etc), and diamond.

Lectures 10-11: High pressure synthesis (David Fisher, De Beers)

HPHT as a general synthesis method. Examples of materials made this way. HPHT for diamond – how it works. Processing of diamond using HPHT (e.g. colour changes). Diamond anvil cell for making new phases of materials. How to make PCD composites for drilling. Science and technology of these composites.

Module Leader

Prof Paul May


Paul May

Contributing Lecturers:

Prof. Mike Ashfold (Bristol)
Dr. Simon Kohn (Bristol)
Dr. David Fisher (De Beers)
Dr. Claire Hurley (Warwick)

CH976: Moodle Page 2017/18

CH976 Timetable