Student profile
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Sabrina Tardio

“My PhD focuses on the interaction between the Methylene diphenyl di-isocyanate (MDI) production process mixture, and metals.”

"I joined the University of Surrey as an exchange student a few years ago, on an Erasmus Masters programme from my home town in Italy. Last year Universita della Basilicata congratulated graduates who’d obtained the maximum mark for both their degrees and I was among the graduates who had done this; it was a very exciting moment for me. It was after my MSc module ‘Nanomaterials’ and after undertaking experiments within Surrey’s Surface Analysis Laboratory that I knew I wanted to carry on to do a PhD in Surface Analysis and Material Science at Surrey.

My PhD focuses on the interaction between the Methylene diphenyl di-isocyanate (MDI) production process mixture, and metals. I’m using surface analysis techniques to investigate the interaction between metals and organic molecules. By doing this, I try and spot chemical bonds. My main aim is to find new methodology to access the formation of particular bonds at the interface.

So far, I’ve presented a poster about my work to the European Conference on Applications of Surface and Interface Analysis (ECASIA) and have submitted an abstract for the Young Surface Analyst of the Year Competition, organised by the UK Surface Analysis Forum (UKSAF), and one for the World Congress on adhesion and related phenomena (WCARP). I’m now working on a paper and gaining teaching experience, helping out with Mathematics and Transferable Skills tutorials and demonstrating for the Physical Chemistry Lab.

The facilities here are really good; the Surface Analysis Laboratory vaunts modern instrumentation including an X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), a Scanning Auger Microscopy (SAM) and a Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM).

My supervisors, too, are always on hand to help and are supportive on all aspects of my PhD. I meet regularly with them to discuss my progress and I have my supervisors to thank for where I am now.

Coming here helped me improve my English and has enabled me to experience another country with a different culture, and I’ve made international connections. In the future, I’d like to carry on doing research – being a researcher has always been my dream!"

Discover more about our material science programmes.