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Leader in Integrated ICT Hardware & Systems

Cara-Lena Nies

Together Tyndall celebrates the winners and finalists of the 2020 Postgraduate Publication of the Year.

Despite a challenging a year, our students achieved outstanding discoveries and results as part of their PhD projects, some even opening major new possibilities in their field. 

Dr. Fatima Gunning, Senior Staff Researcher & Head of Graduate Studies at Tyndall, praised the entries, saying: “This year we had twice as many submissions for the Postgraduate Research Publication of Year. Besides lockdowns and restricted access to labs, our students excelled in their research outcomes. We also noted a number of students with exceptional publications at very early stages in their PhDs, and we couldn’t let this pass in blank, so we created a new award - the Rising Talent Award. Congratulations to all!"

Cara-Lena Nies

Cara-Lena Nies

Rising Talent

"DFT calculations of the structure and stability of copper clusters on MoS2."

1. What encouraged you to submit your application to the 2020 Postgraduate Research Publication of the Year?

I’m quite proud of all the hard work I put into writing this paper, so this seemed like a great way to showcase my research.

2. What inspired you to choose the subject of your paper?

My PhD project is all about extending the lifetime of Cu interconnects in CMOS devices. This will delay a move to alternative interconnect metals, which are more expensive than Cu. Extending the lifetime of Cu also allows continued use of the existing infrastructure for manufacturing Cu interconnects. MoS2 has been shown to be a potential diffusion barrier for Cu interconnects. I discovered that very little research has been carried out on thin film nucleation on 2D materials like MoS2. Researching the initial film growth of Cu on a monolayer of MoS2 addresses this deficit in the literature and is relevant to the many applications of MoS2, including the use of MoS2 in Cu interconnects.

3. What’s your paper about and how did you prepare for it? What role did research excellence play in your approach?

This paper is about understanding the factors controlling the stability of small Cu clusters on a monolayer of MoS2. Knowing what drives the formation of certain structures at this initial stage of film growth can allow us tailor the overall film structure to various applications such as electronics, batteries and catalysis.

4. The selection for Research Publication of the Year is extremely competitive. What is your advice for those aspiring for nomination next year?

The application itself doesn’t take too much work, so if you have published a paper it’s definitely worth it to apply!

5. What is the single most significant support Tyndall has been able to offer you in achieving your research goals? 

All of the support and encouragement I have received from my supervisor, Professor Michael Nolan, from helping to solve technical issues to extensive feedback on the writing of publications.

Reseach Publication Link

Nies, C.-L.; Nolan, M. Beilstein J. Nanotechnol 2020. "DFT calculations of the structure and stability of copper clusters on MoS2". 11, 391–406. doi:10.3762/bjnano.11.30