Postgraduate research opportunities

3-D nanoscale structural analysis in the scanning electron microscope through application of direct electron detectors

This project is focused on developing and applying next generation detectors for the scanning electron microscopy techniques of electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) and electron channelling contrast imaging (ECCI).

Number of places



1 January 2017



BSc (Hons) 2:1 or equivalent degree in physics.


Scholarships (fees and stipend) available on a competitive basis for UK/EU students, please contact supervisor for details.

Project Details

The PhD student will join our multidisciplinary research team developing and applying novel scanning electron microscopy techniques to the understanding of materials.

See Scanning electron microscopy of III-nitrides for some of our current research activities.

This joint project between The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington promises to open up a whole new research area in non-destructive three dimensional texture, strain and defect mapping in solid-state materials. Such information is invaluable for the optimisation of new materials ranging from steels for the automotive industry; to titanium based alloys for aerospace applications; to semiconductor thin films for use in the solid state lighting and electronics industries.

The student will work together with researchers at The University of Strathclyde, the National Physical Laboratory, the University of Glasgow and other research collaborators from both academia and industry. The project is to interface a direct electron detector to a dual beam (electron and ion beam) instrument for three-dimensional analysis of the structural properties of materials via the novel scanning electron microscopy techniques of electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) and electron channelling contrast imaging (ECCI). The use of such a detector will dramatically improve speed and performance of such measurements. Materials problems to be addressed include the optimisation of ion implantation in semiconductors – this will also take advantage of the new electron probe microanalyser to be installed within the new Technology and Innovation Centre at the University of Strathclyde, and the optimisation of nitride based electronic devices.

The student will be based at the University of Strathclyde but will have the opportunity to spend substantial time at the National Physical Laboratory.


  • S Vespucci, A Winkelmann, G Naresh-Kumar, KP Mingard, D Maneuski, PR Edwards, AP Day, V O'Shea and C Trager-Cowan, "Digital direct electron imaging of energy-filtered electron backscatter diffraction patterns", Phys. Rev. B. Vol 92, 205301 (2015).
  • G. Naresh-Kumar, C Mauder, K R Wang, S Kraeusel, J Bruckbauer, P R Edwards, B Hourahine, H Kalisch, A Vescan, C Giesen, M Heuken, A Trampert, A P Day, and C Trager-Cowan, "Electron channeling contrast imaging studies of non-polar nitrides using a scanning electron microscope", Appl. Phys. Lett. Vol. 102, 142103 (2013).
  • G Naresh-Kumar, B Hourahine, P R Edwards, A P Day, A Winkelmann, A J Wilkinson, P J Parbrook, G England and C Trager-Cowan, "Rapid nondestructive analysis of threading dislocations in wurtzite materials using the scanning electron microscope", Phys. Rev. Lett. Vol. 108 135503 (2012).
  • C Trager-Cowan, F Sweeney, A Winkelmann, A J Wilkinson, PW Trimby, A P Day, A Gholinia, N-H Schmidt, P J Parbrook and I M Watson, "Characterisation of nitride thin films by electron backscatter diffraction and electron channelling contrast imaging", invited paper Materials Science and Technology (Special Edition on Advances in EBSD) Vol. 22 1352 (2006).
  • C Trager-Cowan, F Sweeney, P Trimby, A Day, A Gholinia, N-H Schmidt, P J Parbrook, A J Wilkinson and I M Watson, "Electron backscatter diffraction and electron channelling contrast imaging of tilt and dislocations in nitride thin films", Phys. Rev. B Vol. 75, 085301 (2007).
  • A Winkelmann, C Trager-Cowan, F Sweeney, A P Day and P J Parbrook, "Many-beam dynamical simulation of electron backscatter diffraction patterns", Ultramicroscopy Vol. 107 414 (2007).
  • C Trager-Cowan, F Sweeney, A J Wilkinson, I M Watson, P G Middleton, K P O’Donnell, D Zubia, S D Hersee, S Einfeldt and D Hommel, "Determination of the structural and luminescence properties of nitrides using electron backscattered diffraction and photo- and cathodoluminescence", phys. stat. sol. (c) Vol. 0, 532 (2002).
  • S Pereira, M R Correia, E Pereira, K P O'Donnell, C Trager-Cowan, F Sweeney and E Alves, "Compositional pulling effects in InxGa1-x N/GaN layers: A combined depth-resolved cathodoluminescence and Rutherford backscattering/channeling study", Phys. Rev. B, Vol. 64, 205311 (2001).