Utskrift från Malmö universitets webbplats www.mah.se

Funding for new experimental equipment will boost materials science research

2019-10-28

The Department of Materials Science and Applied Mathematics has been granted funding to invest in experimental equipment that will advance Malmö University’s research profile within materials science.

Both the Faculty of Health and Society as well as the Faculty of Odontology have expressed interest in using the cutting-edge equipment, which will be located in the University’s Forskaren building.

The cost of the new equipment, estimated to be 3,5 million, will be covered in part by Malmö University. The Vice-Chancellor has agreed to allocate a maximum of 350,000 SEK per year, over the span of five years.

Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Technology and Society, Lindsay Merte, has spearheaded the procurement of the equipment.

“It’s basically a device for growing thin films of various solid materials,” he explains.

“We evaporate one or more source materials in a vacuum to form ‘beams’ of atoms or molecules, which we then direct at a substrate. The atoms/molecules stick to the surface and form a new material layer-by-layer. By carefully controlling the deposition rates of different components and choosing different substrates, we can make materials with well-defined composition and crystal structures.”

The device is precise enough to produce materials like graphene, and will allow researchers to make complex but well-defined composite materials. Merte hopes that it will be a useful tool for many people working on different projects.

“The materials we grow will be very well-defined structurally and very clean, and this is important when we try to understand why solid materials behave the way they do.”

The equipment will also be a welcome supplement to other modern science facilities in the region – such as the MAX IV laboratory in Lund — and is therefore also a step towards strengthening existing collaborations with local and international stakeholders. 

"Malmö University is really in a great location for material science research, with top notch facilities like the MAX IV Laboratory and the European Spallation Source just down the road, along with various other labs at Lund University. We want to take advantage of this to do great research as well as build collaborations with other departments, institutions and companies who can benefit,” says Merte.

Students will also have the opportunity to work with the instrument as part of their courses, giving them hands-on experience in synthesising and characterising different materials.

"There’s a wide range of possibilities, and we hope we can use our expertise and capabilities to help enhance our connections and cooperation with other departments,” Merte adds.

Text: Maya Acharya