Research in Physics
The Physics Program carries out research in several areas of strength. All academic staff are active in research and there is also strong technical support. Postgraduate training is an important aspect of research and Murdoch currently has many students carrying out research for their MPhil or PhD degrees.
The major research activities and some particular projects in these general fields together with a brief description of each project are listed below:
- Surface Physics
- Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conversion
- Environmental Radiation
- Structure and Properties of Amorphous Materials
There are several projects underway within the Surface Science group:
(Prof. Philip Jennings, Dr John Cornish)
Auger line shapes are measured and deconvoluted to give an estimation of the valence band density of states, particularly for amorphous semiconductors.
(Dr John Cornish)
The incorporation and bonding of hydrogen in hydrogenated amorphous silicon films is being investigated using the techniques of Thermal Desorption and FTIR.
(Dr John Cornish, Prof. Philip Jennings)
Hydrogenated amorphous silicon films are being produced by CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) and plasma enhanced CVD. Photovoltaic cells are produced by depositing thin films of silicon with appropriate doping, on various substrates. Subsequent testing and characterisation is being carried out to identify the factors limiting their performance as solar cells.
(Prof. Philip Jennings)
Development of techniques for the measurement of ionizing radiation in the environment, including radon, thoron and radionuclides in water and building materials.
Studies of electromagnetic radiation emissions from power generation equipment and communication facilities.
(Prof. Philip Jennings)
Modelling and simulation of amorphous materials using quantum theory to calculate their densities of states and bond strengths. Emphasis on technologically important materials such as amorphous silicon alloys.
(Dr Gèrard (Eddy) Poinern)
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology are two emerging fields of science whereby the main streams are the study and investigations of materials and processes at the nanometer scale. The prefix nano comes from the Greek meaning midget or very small and a nanometer is a unit of length, which is defined as being one billionth of a meter, (10-9 m). A red blood cell is a few microns wide, (thousand of nanometers) and a DNA strand is 2.5 nanometers in width whereas a carbon atom is 0.284 nm.
Synthesis of Fe Nanoparticles for the decomposition of organochlorine contaminants in water purification [With Philip Jennings]
In the purification of water by chlorine, organochlorine by-products are produced and several studies have been shown these to be toxic. In addition, recently it has been shown that Fe NPs can be very active in the dechlorination of these chlorinated organics. In this project, it is intended to synthesise Fe NPs and determine their dechlorination activity on some typical organochlorines.
Synthesis of Cu-CdS nanocomposite film for Photovoltaic Applications [With Philip Jennings, John Cornish]
Recent studies in Nanotechnology have shown that CdS Nanoparticles can enhance photovoltaic activity in PV applications. Previous studies in our group have shown that CdS of nanometer dimensions can be efficiently deposited on ITO substrates. In this project it is intended that a Cu-CdS to be produced to improve the photovoltaic quality of these films.
Synthesis of Titania based Nanoparticles for the photovoltaic Applications [With Philip Jennings]
Titania based NPs can be used effectively to convert sunlight into electricity and in this project it is intended to manufacture TiO2 nanoparticles and characterise its morphology with nano-characterisations techniques.
CNT film as an electrode material for the enhance deposition of As [With Philip Jennings, P. Singh]
Presently there is an epidemic of arsenic poisoning where about 50 million people are exposed to drinking ground water contaminated with Arsenic. CNTs are a new form of Carbon allotrope, having very interesting properties such as high tensile strength and enhanced adsorptive powers. In this project, it is intended to use films of CNTs to investigate the adsorption of arsenic in the CNTs.