UoA 9 Physics

Our reputation for high quality Physics research is a testament to the research pedigree of our staff, many world-leaders in their field. We collaborate with international leading scholars, academic centres and external organisations to ensure we are at the very heart of the most innovative research.

Our leading academics deliver the very latest knowledge and innovative research not just to those within the academic community, but to the wider non-academic audience including science lectures and events for schools and open evenings and exhibits for the general public.

Our research plays a pivotal role in the University's Science Strategy via the Functional Materials and Extrasolar Planets key themes. We are also involved in the interdisciplinary Centre for Energy and the Environment and the Centre for Graphene Science.

Key results

  • 90 per cent of this research was ranked as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).
  • This unit was ranked 15 of 41 submissions.

Impact case studies

NameSummary
Inspiring the next generation of physicists through engagement A public engagement campaign based around 15 years of natural photonics research succeeded in enthusing school-age children in a science that was suffering declining levels of interest. Professor Pete Vukusic gave a series of lectures that brought the science of light and colour to life for 17,000 students and 1,500 teachers across the UK, Ireland and parts of Africa, and subsequently a global audience of thousands via YouTube. His work played a central role in the Institute of Physics’ efforts to promote the value of physics in the UK and overseas, contributing to a marked rise in the number of students taking physics A-level. In 2013, Professor Vukusic was awarded the distinguished Royal Society Kohn Award for Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science.
Inspiring successful sales strategy of a global healthcare company Natural photonics research by Professor Pete Vukusic was responsible for shaping the successful global communications strategy of Bausch & Lomb, a world-leading supplier of eye health products. Drawing on Professor Vukusic’s studies into bio-inspiration, Bausch & Lomb built its core brand messaging for a major new lens product around the ability of nature to inspire technological breakthroughs. Outreach campaigns targeting media and optometry professionals took Vukusic’s research to an international audience, raising wider public awareness of the concept of bio-inspiration.
Harnessing the power of ‘metamaterials’ to drive innovation at QinetiQ The manipulation of electromagnetic radiation using novel materials by Exeter physicists has given rise to new technologies for military stealth applications, anti-counterfeiting measures and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) of pharmaceuticals, machinery and perishable goods. The research findings increased the global competitiveness of FTSE 250 defence and security company QinetiQ, driving innovation in its work with the Ministry of Defence and leading to the creation of a successful spin-out, Omni-ID, that is meeting demand in the high-growth RFID market. Exeter’s research underpinned the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council decision to award the University and QinetiQ £3.2million to exploit applications of their patented technology.
How LCD research created one of the UK’s fastest growing companies Exeter researchers, and the work they undertook during the 1990s, led to the formation of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency’s (now QinetiQ) first spinout company: ZBD Displays Ltd. Achieving revenue growth of 17,910 per cent between 2008 and 2013, ZBD’s unique electronic retail signage and shelf-edge labelling technology is used by major retailers all over the world. The invention used the know-how developed by ZBD’s company founders whose R&D and engineering teams all include former postgraduates from the School of Physics and Astronomy, who acquired their expertise under the supervision of Professors Roy Sambles and Bill Barnes.

Research groups

GroupAbout the Group
Astrophysics One of the largest star formation groups in the UK with a wide variety of observational and theoretical programmes. We are also the head node of the EC FP6 Research Training Network CONSTELLATION studying the origin of the Initial Mass Function and a major participant in the eSTAR Project.
Biomedical Physics Actively involved in the complementary fields of Biophysics and Medical Physics. Our research falls under a number of headings: Biophysics, Human Perception, Biophotonics, Biomedical Imaging, and Biomedical Electrochemistry.
Electromagnetic Materials Our research focus is on the interaction between light and matter, where we have a particularly strong interest in the fundamental study of electromagnetic materials that incorporate structure from the nanometre to centimetre scale. We are part of Functional Materials - one of the University of Exeter's beacon areas of interdisciplinary research.
Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials We probe the quantum properties of matter, with an emphasis on nanomaterials. We investigate both experimentally and theoretically the properties of electrons, phonons and photons in nanomaterials (graphene and carbon nanotubes), and in nanostructures (quantum wells, wires, and dots). We also study the extraordinary properties of anisotropic phonon systems in liquid 4He.

UoA 9 Physics

Our reputation for high quality Physics research is a testament to the research pedigree of our staff, many world-leaders in their field. We collaborate with international leading scholars, academic centres and external organisations to ensure we are at the very heart of the most innovative research.

Our leading academics deliver the very latest knowledge and innovative research not just to those within the academic community, but to the wider non-academic audience including science lectures and events for schools and open evenings and exhibits for the general public.

Our research plays a pivotal role in the University's Science Strategy via the Functional Materials and Extrasolar Planets key themes. We are also involved in the interdisciplinary Centre for Energy and the Environment and the Centre for Graphene Science.

Key results

  • 90 per cent of this research was ranked as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).
  • This unit was ranked 15 of 41 submissions.

Impact case studies

NameSummary
Inspiring the next generation of physicists through engagement A public engagement campaign based around 15 years of natural photonics research succeeded in enthusing school-age children in a science that was suffering declining levels of interest. Professor Pete Vukusic gave a series of lectures that brought the science of light and colour to life for 17,000 students and 1,500 teachers across the UK, Ireland and parts of Africa, and subsequently a global audience of thousands via YouTube. His work played a central role in the Institute of Physics’ efforts to promote the value of physics in the UK and overseas, contributing to a marked rise in the number of students taking physics A-level. In 2013, Professor Vukusic was awarded the distinguished Royal Society Kohn Award for Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science.
Inspiring successful sales strategy of a global healthcare company Natural photonics research by Professor Pete Vukusic was responsible for shaping the successful global communications strategy of Bausch & Lomb, a world-leading supplier of eye health products. Drawing on Professor Vukusic’s studies into bio-inspiration, Bausch & Lomb built its core brand messaging for a major new lens product around the ability of nature to inspire technological breakthroughs. Outreach campaigns targeting media and optometry professionals took Vukusic’s research to an international audience, raising wider public awareness of the concept of bio-inspiration.
Harnessing the power of ‘metamaterials’ to drive innovation at QinetiQ The manipulation of electromagnetic radiation using novel materials by Exeter physicists has given rise to new technologies for military stealth applications, anti-counterfeiting measures and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) of pharmaceuticals, machinery and perishable goods. The research findings increased the global competitiveness of FTSE 250 defence and security company QinetiQ, driving innovation in its work with the Ministry of Defence and leading to the creation of a successful spin-out, Omni-ID, that is meeting demand in the high-growth RFID market. Exeter’s research underpinned the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council decision to award the University and QinetiQ £3.2million to exploit applications of their patented technology.
How LCD research created one of the UK’s fastest growing companies Exeter researchers, and the work they undertook during the 1990s, led to the formation of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency’s (now QinetiQ) first spinout company: ZBD Displays Ltd. Achieving revenue growth of 17,910 per cent between 2008 and 2013, ZBD’s unique electronic retail signage and shelf-edge labelling technology is used by major retailers all over the world. The invention used the know-how developed by ZBD’s company founders whose R&D and engineering teams all include former postgraduates from the School of Physics and Astronomy, who acquired their expertise under the supervision of Professors Roy Sambles and Bill Barnes.

Research groups

GroupAbout the Group
Astrophysics One of the largest star formation groups in the UK with a wide variety of observational and theoretical programmes. We are also the head node of the EC FP6 Research Training Network CONSTELLATION studying the origin of the Initial Mass Function and a major participant in the eSTAR Project.
Biomedical Physics Actively involved in the complementary fields of Biophysics and Medical Physics. Our research falls under a number of headings: Biophysics, Human Perception, Biophotonics, Biomedical Imaging, and Biomedical Electrochemistry.
Electromagnetic Materials Our research focus is on the interaction between light and matter, where we have a particularly strong interest in the fundamental study of electromagnetic materials that incorporate structure from the nanometre to centimetre scale. We are part of Functional Materials - one of the University of Exeter's beacon areas of interdisciplinary research.
Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials We probe the quantum properties of matter, with an emphasis on nanomaterials. We investigate both experimentally and theoretically the properties of electrons, phonons and photons in nanomaterials (graphene and carbon nanotubes), and in nanostructures (quantum wells, wires, and dots). We also study the extraordinary properties of anisotropic phonon systems in liquid 4He.