Once again we have a formidable array of world-leading research showcasing the strength and diversity of science and engineering at Manchester. In this edition we have studies ranging from the production of single phonons from quantum dots through to research into unlocking gigawatts of power from the UK’s electrical power grid.
One area of key expertise that is highlighted within many of the studies in this edition is the use of large central scientific facilities, including the Large Hadron Collider and Diamond Light source, which are used by researchers from across the Faculty of Science and Engineering. There are more exciting results from ATLAS detailing the first observations of doubly-charmed baryons and W bosons produced through weak boson fusion highlighting the continued contribution of Manchester researchers to this major international project. In contrast to these fundamental studies, in situ synchrotron-based X-ray spectroscopy has been utilised to directly probe what happens during catalytic methane combustion providing a new insight into this process which may help to develop and apply this technology.
Looking back into deep geological time is the key theme of the Earth Science studies. The origin and evolution of the Earth’s atmosphere was investigated using high precision analyses of ancient air trapped in 3.3 billion-year-old rocks from South Africa. The isotopic composition of the fluid inclusions suggests that some of the Earth’s atmosphere may have been brought to the planet by comets billions of years ago . Moving from Precambrian to the Cambrian era, CT imaging of trace fossils demonstrates that animals capable of burrowing probably evolved by 550 million years ago, providing a step change in the way we think about animal evolution on earth.
Interdisciplinary studies linked to the field of health science are a feature of many Manchester-based research projects with key findings related to how the body responds to exercise and the function of human lungs. The discovery of the first biomolecular mechanism by which exercise is sensed and the development of methods to predict the probability of lung airway unblocking both have the potential to aid development of techniques to tackle major diseases affecting society today.
Discovery and innovation at the molecular scale is highlighted in our contributions from the School of Chemistry with the discovery of a new single-molecule magnet with unique properties, which in the future has the potential to act as a bit in high-density data storage devices. However, if you need to control what you produce from a chemical process, perhaps you need a one of the newly developed molecular machines which can be programmed to build different molecules.
We hope you enjoy reading about these and the other studies In Abstract. Keep a look out for the next edition in Spring 2018!