NANOSCALE (ATOMIC-SCALE) ELECTRICAL SCIENCE

Work under this heading involves theoretical research and modelling in the following areas:

The application of a high electric field to a material surface introduces new terms into all Hamiltonians and into the Free Energy, and in consequence changes the physics and chemistry of the surface and of surface processes, creating a specialist area of science and technology and a need for theoretical understanding.

Applications include modern atomic-imaging techniques (including atom-probe and some of the scanning-probe techniques), liquid-metal emission sources and electrohydrodynamic spraying, and field-emission-related technologies (including large area electronic displays and Fresnel projection microscopy). Better basic knowledge is valuable as science, but also leads to better understanding of how instruments and techniques work; hence to the possibility of improvements in instruments and techniques, and clearer scientific understanding of results produced.

The general research aim is an integrated theoretical understanding of the physics and chemistry of surfaces in high electric fields, of the atomic-scale and nanoscale processes occurring at such surfaces (especially the field-induced emission of ions and electrons), and of derived technologies.