Understanding the Mechanisms of Catalytic Phosphorene Growth

Phosphorene is a two-dimensional material, just like graphene, but which contains only phosphorous atoms arranged in corrugated layers. It exhibits complementary properties to graphene, including a direct bandgap that varies with the number of layers, making it highly desirable for use in applications including microelectronics, spintronics, and energy storage. However, this variety of applications has so far been limited by the lack of methods to reliably synthesise phosphorene, with the majority of research so far using tiny flakes peeled from bulk crystals of black phosphorous with sticky tape – not a reproducible or scalable process. Furthermore, due to its poor stability in air, there are additional challenges in handling this material and incorporating it into devices.

This PhD project aims to develop the catalytic growth of the 2D material phosphorene, and reveal the mechanisms underlying this process. Understanding of the mechanisms involved will inform the design of improved growth procedures so that phosphorene properties such as crystal size and layer number can be accurately tuned. You will work with a dedicated chemical vapour deposition (CVD) system to develop and optimise the phosphorene synthesis process, and make use of the departments excellent facilities for handling samples in inert atmospheres to transfer the synthesised material to other equipment for characterisation. You will also apply various in situ techniques to observe phophorene growth as it happens on the catalyst surface, including X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray Diffraction (XRD), and electron microscopy. This will take advantage of existing facilities with the department as well as international synchrotron facilities such as the nearby Diamond Light Source and Alba Synchrotron (Barcelona) where cutting edge characterisation methods can be accessed. As the project progresses you will have the opportunity to explore the integration of phosphorene into applications including spin-filtering junctions, and sodium-ion batteries.

Any questions concerning the project can be addressed to Dr Robert Weatherup (robert.weatherup@materials.ox.ac.uk). General enquiries on how to apply can be made by e mail to graduate.admissions@materials.ox.ac.uk. You must complete the standard Oxford University Application for Graduate Studies. Further information and an electronic copy of the application form can be found at http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate_courses/apply/index.html.

Stacked 2D Materials

 

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