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BSc / MSc Thesis

Do your thesis project at the Department of Synchrotron Radiation Research!

Bachelor's and Master's projects are available in all research fields of the division. Please feel free to contact the corresponding project leader or any other member of the group for more information. Some examples of currently available Master projects can be found further below.

A large part of our research is performed at the MAX IV Laboratory - currently at the MAX-lab facilities located at the LTH campus, and in future at the new-built MAX IV synchrotron. In addition, we are using several international synchrotron facilities as well as state-of-the-art lab equipment within the physics building.

Although much of our work is relevant to modern industrial technology, most of it is basic research which aims to answer basic questions about the nature and behaviour of surfaces and molecules.

Finite Element simulations of piezoelectric properties of nanorods

Nanorods have a great potential for light emitting diodes (LEDs) and other applications due to their excellent crystalline and optoelectronic properties. Furthermore, some nanorods have piezoelectric material properties, meaning that mechanical strain generates a piezoelectric field and thus a separation of electric charges within the nanorod. Making use of both semiconductor and piezoelectric properties opens the door for novel devices within piezophototronics, such as strain-engineered LEDs with tunable wavelengths.

The proposed master theses project is aimed at development of a Finite Element model for piezoelectric nanorods using FEMLAB, and thereby determine the voltage distribution within the nanorod due to mechanical loading. The obtained numerical results will be directly compared to experimental results from conductive atomic force microscopy.

The project is a collaboration between the Division of Synchrotron Radiation Research and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The work is suitable for 1-2 students from the following programs: engineering physics, engineering mathematics, engineering nanoscience and mechanical engineering. More details can be found here, or you can contact Aylin Ahadi or Rainer Timm.

Fabrication and Characterisation of Nano-active Membranes

Electrochemical techniques can be used to produce hexagonally ordered cylindrical alumina nanopores. These have proved to make excellent templates for the fabrication of nanowires, batteries, solar cells and novel sensor devices. In the Division of Synchrotron Radiation, we have considerable experience in creating and studying these nanopores. We would like to combine this with our expertise in gas phase catalysis by creating functionalised membranes of nanopores with active metal particles embedded. We would then like to explore how several geometrical parameters effect CO oxidation using laser induced fluorescence.

Samples will be produced electrochemically and characterised with atomic force microscopy (AFM), x-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). This a practical “hands on” project with both chemistry and physics lab work, suitable for an ambitious MSc student.  Please contact Dr. Gary Harlow.

In Situ Characterisation of Functional Surfaces by Electron Spectroscopy

Transition metal complexes have shown a high chemical reactivity and are suitable for catalysis in the chemical synthesis industry. In this project you will use synchrotron based electron spectroscopies, e.g. Ambient Pressure X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (APXPS), to probe the electronic structure of surfaces functionalised by transition metal complex nanostructures. With the APXPS instrument available at the MAX IV Laboratory you will be able to investigate reactions previously unavailable with electron spectroscopies, putting you at the very edge of the research field. These investigations aim to yield fundamental knowledge about the catalytic processes which will enable the catalysis industry to create effective, green catalysts from “first principles”.
If you are interested in making your diploma work using a newly developed technique that will put you in the forefront of the field, contact Professor Joachim Schnadt or Ph.D. student Niclas Johansson for more information.

Laser-based gas-phase studies applied to catalysis

Most often, mass spectrometry is used in order to analyze gases during catalytic studies. This, however only provides a global measure of the of the overall gas composition in the reactor. With laser based techniques, such as laser-induced fluorescence (LIF), it is possible to measure specific species both spatially and temporally resolved. The aim of this master project is to develop the use of LIF in catalysis, to provide a completely new view of catalytic reactions. The measurements will focus on spatially resolved species involved in CO oxidation. The project is a collaboration between the Division of Synchrotron Radiation Research and Combustion Physics.
For further information, please contact Johan Zetterberg or Sara Blomberg

Catalysis on the atomic level - the role of the step?

Catalysis plays a crucial role in modern society, e.g. for exhausts treatment from cars. Despite this wide use, the involved processes are not well understood on the atomic level. We do know, however, that the reactions occur on the surface of the catalyst and that defects, such as steps, on the surface can improve the catalytic activity.
In this project we will compare perfectly flat metal surfaces to surfaces with a high, but controlled, number of steps. The samples will first be tested for catalytic activity towards CO oxidation. Secondly the atomic scale structure will be investigated in order to link it with the catalytic function.
For further information, please contact Johan Gustafson.

Surface and interface characterization of semiconductor nanowires

Low-dimensional semiconductors, especially semiconductor nanowires, are key materials for future devices like ultrafast transistors, white LEDs, and solar cells with high efficiency at low costs. We are studying the surfaces of such nanowires from the micrometer scale down to individual atoms in order to understand their exciting new physics that enable superior device performance.
Bachelor and Master theses are investigating questions like: “How does the atomic arrangement on a nanowire surface influence its conductivity?” “How can we modify these surface properties?” “How sharp are the interfaces in nanowire devices?” “How does a single nanowire solar cell respond to light?” “How can we image processes as fast as a femtosecond with nanometer resolution?”
Scanning Tunneling Microscopes (STM), Photoemission-based microscopes (PEEM), and other advanced characterization setups in our own labs, at the Lund Laser Centre, and at the MAXIV laboratory are helping us in solving these questions.
For further information, please contact Professor Anders Mikkelsen, Rainer Timm, or our Ph.D. students Johan Knutsson (STM on nanowire surfaces), Eric Marsell (combining ultrafast lasers with PEEM), and Olof Persson (STM on nanowire devices).

Three-dimensional momentum imaging of core-excited molecules or molecular clusters

Imaging of molecules is a powerful technique for understanding how molecules respond to photoionization or photoexcitation. We are particularly interested in understanding how the geometry of a molecule changes: one example is isomerization or proton transfer that is driven by vibrational excitation. We image ionic fragments in a multicoincidence time-of-flight spectrometer. Our method allows us to extract a detailed picture of changes in molecular geometry on both rapid and slow time scales. The project involves analysis of data obtained at MAX-Lab and includes interpretation of the alignment of core-excited molecules based upon the quantum mechanical dipole operator, as well as analysis of the three-dimensional momentum of fragments from single dissociation events in order to extract information about the geometry and the final dissociative states. The analysis is based upon correlations between the energies of particles as well as angular correlations.
More details can be found here, or you can contact Professor Stacey Sorensen.

Time-resolved three-dimensional imaging studies at the atto and femtosecond time scales

Atoms and molecules excited with short intense laser pulses are ionized by single or multiphoton processes. By using two laser pulses with a time delay we can study the temporal behavior of photoionization to specific electronic states, and the fragmentation of molecules can be probed in the time domain. Time-resolved laser photoionization experiments which provide access to the wave like nature of the particles in the system. The experimental method is a three-dimensional imaging technique using a time-of-flight spectroscopy with multiparticle position sensitive detection. The goal of the project is to understand the fundamental interaction between light and matter. This exciting nonlinear photoionization study is carried out in collaboration with the attosecond laser group at the Lund Laser Center.
More details can be found here, or you can contact Docent Mathieu Gisselbrecht.

The chemistry of graphene

In January 2010 we initiated a study of graphene and graphene supported metal clusters. The project has now been running for 3 years and we successfully studied metal particles supported by grapheme, CO-induced sintering of the metal particles, intercalation of molecules between grapheme and its support material together with the group of prof. Thomas Michely, University of Cologne. Currently, our research is focused on understanding: Simple reactions in the protected region between grapheme and its support material, functionalization of grapheme, and how doping affects the chemistry of graphene.
Currently, two PhD students at the Division of Synchrotron Radiation Research are involved in this project. As an Exjobb student on this project you will define your own graphene project together with the responsible scientist. Your project is expected to be linked to our other graphene related research. The main techniques you will use in this project will be high resolution X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy. The project will give you a unique chance to part of a real research project.
More details can be found here, or you can contact Dr. Jan Knudsen.

The catalytic activity of metal oxide step sites

In this project we will create model systems with a large fraction of catalytic active metal oxide step sites and characterize their atomic scale structure mainly with Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) and high resolution X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (HRXPS). Subsequently, we plan to measure the catalytic activity of the model systems and correlate measured catalytic activity with the atomic scale structure of the step sites. The first model system we started to study is a ultrathin FeO(111) film grown on a stepped Pt(111) crystal.
Currently, three PhD students at the Division of Synchrotron Radiation Research are involved in this project. As an Exjobb student you will work in close collaboration with these PhD students and you will get a unique chance to be a part of a real research project.
More details can be found here, or you can contact Dr. Jan Knudsen.

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