Members of this large and prestigious Research Group are drawn from experimental, computational and theoretical areas of physics, chemistry, engineering and mathematics. Our research focusses on applied optics, complexity and nonlinear photonics, hydrogen storage, photovoltaics, functionalization of graphene, semiconductor materials and thin films. Our well-equipped laboratories include various spectroscopy facilities (e.g. Raman, photoluminescence, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, spectrophotometry), chemical vapour deposition, high performance computing facilities, high pressure facilities (up to 2 Kbar high pressure gas facility and diamond anvil cells for experiments up to 1 Mbar), X-ray diffraction, scanning and transmission electron microscopy. We are regular users at national and international facilities such as Diamond Light Source (www.diamond.ac.uk), ISIS (www.isis.stfc.ac.uk) and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (www.esrf.eu).
Our research topics include:
Our research activities receive strong support from a wide range of funders. For example, during the period 2008-2013, the Materials & Physics Research Centre was awarded total funding in the region of £6.2 million. Key funding highlights were:
January 2017 to date
“Crossover between liquid-like and gas-like behavior in CH4 at 400 K” - D. Smith, M. A. Hakeem, P. Parisiades, H. E. Maynard-Casely, D. Foster, D. Eden, D. J. Bull, A. R. L. Marshall, A. M. Adawi, R. Howie, A. Sapelkin, V. V. Brazhkin, and J. E. Proctor, Phys. Rev. E (accepted).
“Low temperature pulsed direct current magnetron sputtering technique for single phase β-In2S3 buffer layers for solar cell applications” – Sreejith Karthikeyan, Arthur E. Hill, Richard D. Pilkington, Appl. Surf. Sci 418, 199 (2017) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsusc.2017.01.147
“Determining Molecular Orientation via Single Molecule SERS in a Plasmonic Nano-gap” – A.R.L. Marshall, J. Stokes, F.N. Viscomi, J.E. Proctor, J. Gierschner, J.-S. Bouillard and A.M. Adawi, Nanoscale (accepted) https://doi.org/10.1039/C7NR05107G
“Dual functionality anti-reflection and biocidal coatings” - Heather M.Yates, Paul Sheel, John L.Hodgkinson, Michael E.A.Warwick, Souad O.Elfakhri and Howard A.Foster, Surf. Coat. Tech. 324, 201 (2017) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.surfcoat.2017.05.077
“Raman spectroscopy of methane (CH4) to 165 GPa: Effect of structural changes on Raman spectra” - J.E. Proctor, H.E. Maynard-Casely, M.A. Hakeem and D. Cantiah, J. Raman Spec. 1 – 6 (2017) https://doi.org/10.1002/jrs.52376
“Anharmonic effects in simple physical models: introducing undergraduates to nonlinearity” - J.M. Christian, European J. Phys. 38, 055002 (2017) https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6404/aa7cbe
“Surface-related properties of perovskite CH3NH3PbI3 thin films by aerosol-assisted chemical vapour deposition” - M. Afzaal, B. Salhi, A. Al-Ahmed, H.M. Yates and A. S. Hakeem, J. Mater. Chem. C 5, 8366 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C7TC02968C
“Growth patterns and properties of aerosol-assisted chemical vapor deposition of CH3NH3PbI3 films in a single step” – M. Afzaal and H.M. Yates, Surf. Coat. Tech. 321, 336 (2017) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.surfcoat.2017.05.011
“Bistable Helmholtz dark spatial optical solitons in materials with self-defocusing saturable nonlinearity” - J.M. Christian and M.J. Lundie, J. Nonlinear Optic. Phys. Mat. 26, 1750024 (2017) https://doi.org/10.1142/S0218863517500242
“Broadband Cooling Spectra of Hot Electrons and Holes in PbSe Quantum Dots” – F.C.M. Spoor, S. Tomić, A.J. Houtepen and L.D.A. Siebbeles, ACS Nano 11, 6286 (2017) http://dx/doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.7b02506
“Direct observation of cation distributions of ideal inverse spinel CoFe2O4 nanofibres and correlated magnetic properties” – X. Zeng, J. Zhang, S. Zhu, X. Deng, H. Ma, J. Zhang, Q. Zhang, P. Li, D. Xue, N.J. Mellors, X. Zhang and Y. Peng, Nanoscale 9, 7493 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C7NR02013A
“Platinum composite nanowires for ultrasensitive mass detection“ – T. Hao, T.H. Shen et al., Appl. Phys. Lett. 110, 143102 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4979645
“Transparent Conductive Oxide Films for High-Performance Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells” – U. Mehmood, M. Afzaal, A. Al-Ahmed, H.M. Yates, A.S. Hakeem, H. Ali, F.A. Al-Sulaiman, IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics 7, 518 (2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/JPHOTOV.2016.2641303
“1 cm2 CH3NH3PbI3 mesoporous solar cells with 17.8% steady-state efficiency by tailoring front FTO electrodes” - Mohammad Afzaal, Heather M. Yates, Arnaud Walter, Sylvain Nicolay and Christophe Ballif, J. Mat. Chem. C 5, 4946 (2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C7TC01248A
“On the high-pressure phase stability and elastic properties of β-titanium alloys” – D. Smith, O.P.J. Joris, A. Sankaran, H.E. Weekes, D.J. Bull, T.J. Prior, D. Dye, D. Errandonea and J.E. Proctor, J. Phys.: Cond. Mat. 29, 155401 https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-648X/aa60b6
“Spontaneous spatial fractal pattern formation in dispersive systems” – J.G. Huang, J.M. Christian and G.S. McDonald, J. Nonlinear Optical Physics and Materials 26, 175009 (2017) https://doi.org/10.1142/S0218863517500096
“An Introduction to Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes” – John E. Proctor, Daniel Melendrez Armada and Aravind Vijayaraghavan, CRC Press (January 2017). https://www.amazon.co.uk/Introduction-Graphene-Carbon-Nanotubes/dp/1498751792
“Influence of elevated radiative lifetime on efficiency of CdSe/CdTe Type II colloidal quantum dot based solar cells” - Marina A. Leontiadou, Edward J. Tyrrell, Charles T. Smith, Daniel Espinobarro-Velazquez, Robert Page, Paul O׳Brien, Jacek Miloszewski, Thomas Walsh, David Binks, Stanko Tomić, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 159, 657 (January 2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.solmat.2016.01.018
We are extremely well served with respect to the provision and operation of specialised infrastructure and facilities. Our researchers benefit from the specialist facilities outlined below, which in total cost our University just over £1.5 million annually to run. In addition, we have benefited from University capital expenditure of just over £5 million through the 2008-2013 period, which has been used to augment our state-of-the-art provision.
A significant proportion of our research is focused on the area of renewable technologies, including photovoltaics and energy storage systems. Part of the outputs from our research contributes to reducing the environmental impact of our main university campus. The University has an Energy Team dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint of the campus and has adopted technologies developed by our Research Centre. This work is focused on the Energy House, described above.
A selection of specific Materials & Physics research equipment is listed on the Physics Facilities page.