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Completed R&D Projects

Below are some of our completed R&D Projects. For a complete detailed project list please click and download the PDF file. 

Diamond-based nanomaterials and nanostructures for advanced electronic and photonic – D-Spa


Funded By: EU: H2020-MSCA-RISE-2016 (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange)

Period: 2017-2023


The objective of the proposed joint exchange programme is to establish long-term stable research cooperation between the partners with complimentary expertise and knowledge. The project objectives and challenges present a balanced mix between industrial application focused knowledge transfer and development and more far-looking studies for potentially ground-breaking applications of using diamond-based nanomaterials and nanostructures for advanced electronic and photonic applications (D-SPA), including fabrication of diamond nanostructures using 3D printing technology, development of diamond-plasmon hybrid photonic devices and development of biophotonic imaging technology for sensing applications. No one group in Europe can accomplish each work package alone. We have to collaborate with each other in order to gain their skills and expertise in these specific areas.


Partners: Aston University, UK (Aston); Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland (CIT); Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Spain (ICN2); University of Birmingham, UK (UoB); Zhejiang University of Technology, China (ZJUT); Nanotechplamsa Ltd, Bulgaria (NPL), B&T composites, Greece (B&T); National Institute for Research and Development in Electrical Engineering, Romania (ICPESA)



High-Performance Electrode Plate Coatings for Lightweight Fuel Cell Stacks (HiPerEPC)


Funded By: InnovateUK: Industrial research

Period: 2020-2021


Air-cooled fuel cells are particularly suitable for lower power automotive applications such as primary and range extender drives for lightweight vehicles. Their rapid refuelling capabilities, combined with significantly reduced balance-of-plant complexity, hence minimising weight (and cost), provide a clear differentiator from pure battery powered solutions. HiPerEPC exploits previous feasibility research (CAEPAC) and will deliver novel high performance coatings for Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) electrode plates based on lightweight alloy substrates. PEMFCs display the highest power densities of any of the fuel cell types, which makes them particularly attractive for transportation & portable applications where minimum size and weight are required. Conventional PEMFCs utilise electrode plates which are made from graphite (bulky and expensive to machine) or stainless steel. For automotive applications, hundreds of cells are needed within a multi-kW stack, hence a relatively small weight saving per plate will be significant for the whole system. Specific  power densities delivered by aluminium-based fuel cell systems can be double that of stainless steel-based ones but challenges remain in optimising the high-conductivity coatings which are essential to protect aluminium bipolar plates against corrosion in the acidic fuel cell environment. HiPerEPC will refine the promising coatings identified in CAEPAC to enable the use of aluminium electrode plates in fuel cell stacks and provide essential evidence of their critical performance characteristics and manufacturing costs to support investment decisions on future scale-up.


Partner: The University of Birmingham, UK



KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER PARTNERSHIP between University of the West of Scotland and Teer Coatings Limited (UWS-KTP)


Funded By: InnovateUK: (KTP)

Period: 2020-2023


To embed optical coatings expertise, particularly in plasma assisted deposition, in order to develop a new range of optical coating machines and optical coating services (application of optical coatings onto customer parts and components by TCL).

TCL’s strategy is continual investment in modern equipment & R&D, maintaining a worldwide lead in thin film coating technology, which is exploited commercially. TCL's line of coatings' products include solid lubricant coatings & hard wearing coatings. Customers are from motorsport, medical & high performance industrial sectors where long-term component performance in demanding engineering applications is required.

To capture this opportunity, TCL is seeking to embed emerging research from UWS (patented plasma assisted precision sputter deposition technology) to underpin the development of a new optical coating system (based on TCL's existing Magnetron plating hardware) which it can sell as a complete NEW system  plus offer a new in-house optical coatings service at TCL's premises for customers' free-issued parts.


Partnership: University of the West of Scotland, UK






Antimicrobial coatings by physical & chemical vapour deposition for application in aerorospace (ANCOP)


Funded By: InnovateUK: (Shanghai-UK Industrial Challenge Programme – Open)

Period: 2018-2020


Microbial and fungal growth in space environment are important challenges for the space industry. Typically, the number of microbial organisms is controlled through extreme disinfection and quarantine of astronauts but there is no established means of eliminating the organisms once in the space environment. The ANCOP project is focused on exploiting the disruptive innovation involving nano-cluster enabled Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) coatings, nano-composite PVD coatings and functionalised Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) diamonds to address the problem of microbial growth in space environment both on surfaces and critical components in manned satellites. Nano-cluster enabled PVD & nano-composite PVD coatings will enhance and retain surfaces' antimicrobial properties by controlling the size of silver nanoparticles in the coatings. In parallel, CVD-deposited functionalised diamond will be developed, adding anti-microbial functionality to the hard, wear resistant and/or decorative aspects of that coating. Post-project, similar coatings will also be exploited in terrestrial environments, including healthcare, agri-food & transport (automotive, aerospace, rail, marine, etc.).


Partners: Aston University (AU), Birmingham City University (BCU) and Shanghai Aerospace Equipments Manufacturer (SAEM).

Advanced XPS Measurements for High Performance Coatings (ADVACEXPS)


Funded By: InnovateUK: (Shanghai-UK Industrial Challenge Programme – Open)

Period: 2017-2018


High performance coatings for application in catalysis, such as coated polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell bipolar plates and photocatalysis have narrow tolerances on critical film properties such as thickness, uniformity, chemical composition and defect density. There is a need for measurement tools which can provide accurate data about these properties in a non-destructive and rapid manner. Teer Coatings Limited (TCL) has identified an urgent need for measuring such coating properties for very thin (a few nanometre) layers, which cannot be readily assessed by conventional measurement techniques. This expresses a wider requirement for such capability, which could be met by recent advances in surface analytical instrumentation and theory. The purpose of this project is to establish the technical feasibility of using advanced X-ray photoelectron and ion scattering techniques to deliver critical coating parameters for process optimisation and future routine QA monitoring.



National Physical Laboratory, UK; Kratos, UK

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