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Prof Monica Craciun

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

My research expertise spans across applied research in nanotechnology, electronic and optoelectronic devices to fundamental research in nanoscience (quantum phenomena, molecular electronics, nano electronics, spintronics) and materials science.

In particular, I am currently focused on the study of 2D materials such as graphene, functionalized graphene and layered dichalcogenides (e.g. MoS2, WS2), and of their hybrids with other emerging materials (e.g. organic semiconductors, perovskites). The aim is to create new materials and devices with unique electronic and optoelectronic properties not available in any other systems. In particular, we explore novel devices that can be used in emerging technologies such as electronic textiles, multifunctional smart coatings, or in a new generation of highly efficient solar cells and light emitting devices.

Nano Engineering Science and Technology Group

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Prof Saverio Russo

Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials

My research group is pioneering the novel science found in nano-systems. In particular, we are currently studying the electrical properties of graphene materials, which are just one or few carbon atom thick with honeycomb structure. In these materials charge carriers have a record high mobility at room temperature and behave as massless Dirac fermions.

Our main research directions are

  • Graphene-based flexible and transparent electronic devices.
  • Novel technologies for fabricating suspended and double gated graphene transistors to access the electric field tuneable low-energy band structure in few-layer graphene and the electro-mechanical properties.
  • Search for highly conductive and transparent materials.
  • Superconducting-graphene hybrid structures.

Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials

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Associate Professors

Prof Janet Anders

Quantum thermodynamics

Our research focusses on providing theoretical understanding of thermodynamic processes at the nanoscale using the tools of quantum information theory and statistical physics.

From the fundamental point of view, we aim to:

  • uncover and quantify the impact of quantum effects - such as superposition states and entanglement - on dissipation and heat transport at the nanoscale
  • characterise classical and quantum non-equilibrium stochastic fluctuations which dominate in nanoscale systems
  • provide estimation methods to accurately measure temperature at low temperatures

Our work enables a better understanding and manipulation of energy, heat and temperature at the nanoscale. Applications we currently develop include:

  • a quantum thermostat that can replace the standard classical thermostat in magnetic materials simulations
  • an efficient method to predict redox potentials of certain proteins with potential applications in bio-technology
  • the characterisation of a new single molecule sensing method for diagnostics in the healthcare sector.

Previously, my research focussed on quantum computing as well as quantum cryptography which has applications in communication and security.

Please see here for more information about the Quantum Group.

Electromagnetic and Acoustic Materials

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Prof Mikhail (Misha) Portnoi

Theory of optical and transport properties of nanostructures

I am a theoretical physicist with a broad range of research interests spanning from exactly-solvable problems in quantum and statistical mechanics and anyon excitons in the fractional quantum Hall effect regime to THz applications of carbon-based nanostructures and modelling white light-emitting diodes. My most recent work is related to electronic waveguides and zero-energy states in graphene and THz gain and excitons in narrow-gap carbon nanotubes as well as optoelectronic applications and quantum optics of quantum rings.

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Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials

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Senior Lecturers / Senior Research Fellows 

Dr Charles Downing

Theoretical Quantum Nanophotonics

I am interested in applying concepts like topology, chirality and PT symmetry to quantum metamaterials and quantum nanophotonic systems. The aim of my research is to master the generation, dissipation and propagation of quantum excitations at the nanoscale, with a view to proposing novel quantum devices and technology. I also work in the fields of plasmonics, where I study the collective behaviour of metallic nanoparticles, and quantum optics, where I investigate asymmetric interactions between meta-atoms and cavity quantum electrodynamical effects.

View Charles' publications.

Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials 

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Dr Steve Hepplestone

Quantum mechanics and its applications to materials

At the atomic scale, we can engineer materials to have unusual properties not seen in the normal bulk material. To do this we have to understand and control the behaviour of individual atoms, particularly at the interface between two materials. Our research is focused on the atomic level manipulation and control of interfaces to both make new devices, and to better understand existing devices. This has application in several areas including energy storage (batteries), energy harvesting (thermoelectrics and solar), quantum metamaterials and 2D materials. We explore the role of electronic and thermal transport in materials, as well as optical properties and characterisation.

Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials

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Dr David Horsell

Acoustic and thermal devices

We study the generation, control and interaction between sound, heat and electricity in materials. The focus of our experimental research is to study the fundamental physics of acoustic, thermal and electrical transport both within materials and across interfaces between materials. This has direct application in sound production, heat management in electronics, and improved efficiency of electronic devices. We also investigate the ways in which these properties can be used for active sensing, which includes detection of gas and fluids as well as electrical and thermal features of materials. Our work extends into biological systems, including biomimetics, thermoregulation in insects and electrical signalling in plants and animals.

Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials

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Dr Simon Horsley

Theory of electromagnetic and acoustic materials

Design of electromagnetic materials: Suppose you want to do something to a wave; perhaps redirect a radio wave, or absorb a sound wave. I use mathematics to look for the materials you need.

I am interested in the theory of electromagnetism and wave physics in general.  Recently I have been thinking about how waves reflect from metamaterial structures, but I also work on the theory of quantum electromagnetism in dielectric media (I am interested in understanding how macroscopic bodies affect the quantum properties of the electromagnetic field, and how these in turn affect the motion of the object).

Electromagnetic and Acoustic Materials

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Dr Isaac Luxmoore

Quantum Nanophotonics

Optoelectronic devices, which generate, manipulate and measure light, underpin modern communication and have enabled the internet to revolutionise the modern world. A new generation of quantum optoelectronic devices, which process light at the single photon level, promise a further revolution in the way we communicate, measure and process data. Individual photons, the elementary particles of light, are the building blocks of this technology, but must first be generated by single photon sources. For practical applications the photons must be generated on-demand, at high repetition rates and must be indistinguishable, in other words identical in all degrees of freedom (for example energy and polarisation). My research is centred around the development of such devices through the exploration of novel materials and their nanophotonic integration.

Nano Engineering Science and Technology Group

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Dr Eros Mariani

Theoretical condensed matter physics

My research spans different areas of condensed matter theory, with particular focus on the properties of correlated states in reduced dimensionality. These include quantum transport in two dimensional (2D) electron systems in the fractional Quantum Hall regime, the electronic and electromechanical properties of graphene and carbon nanotubes [e.g. Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 076801 (2008)], as well as nano-electromechanical systems [e.g. Nature Physics 5, 327 - 331 (2009)] and suspended Josephson junction resonators.

Within the field of metamaterials I recently started investigating the properties of tunable Dirac-like and topological polaritons in 2D arrays of dipolar resonators embedded in optical cavities. Here we showed that the photon-mediated interactions between the resonators give rise to a tunable polariton bandstructure, with the emergence of type I and II chiral Dirac-like quasiparticles [Nature Communications 9, 2194 (2018)]. In parallel, we have recently unveiled how strained metasurfaces embedded in optical cavities lead to tunable fictitious magnetic fields for light [Nature Photonics 14, 669 (2020)].

Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials

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Dr Ana Neves

Wearable technology

This line of research uses 2D materials, such as graphene, as active layers for a wide range of electronic devices based on flexible and textile substrates. These materials offer a wide range of properties of interest, allied to a very small size, lightweight and flexibility, which makes them ideal for truly wearable devices. These devices go well beyond bulky commercial accessories embedded in clothes and, when endowed with wireless communications, have an enormous transformative potential for applications such as remote healthcare or energy harvesting.

Nano Engineering Science and Technology Group

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Yongde Xia

Nanomaterials for energy

My research covers a broad spectrum of nanomaterials and nanocomposites, with specific interests in functionality and their applications. The core research focus is to synthesize and characterise novel functional nanoporous materials, to understand the growth mechanisms, to assess their advanced mechanical and physical properties, and to apply these interesting functional nanoporous materials for practical applications in a diverse areas, from energy storage and conversion to nanodevice construction, from solar energy creation to hydrogen energy storage and greenhouse capture and conversion, and from photocatalysis and environmental catalysis for renewable energy to lightweight wearable engineering devices.

Nano Engineering Science and Technology Group

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Lecturers / Research Fellows

Dr Oleksandr Kyriienko

Quantum simulation of complex systems

Lattices of optical and microwave resonators represent the essence of metamaterials, and are responsible for complex manipulation of electromagnetic waves. To drive these systems into quantum domain, the appearance of large effective photon nonlinearity is needed. First, in the optical domain this can be introduced by strong coupling of an optical mode in microcavity lattices to matter excitations, with prominent examples being excitons and trions. Second, in the microwave domain LC resonators strongly coupled to nonlinear Josephson elements form qubits – the building block of rapidly developing superconducting quantum computers. In the Quantum Dynamics, Optics, and Simulation (QuDOS) group we work these metamaterials at the quantum level, where collections of nonlinear cavities and qubits allows for quantum simulation of complex systems. The particular application areas include quantum chemistry and optimization.

Electromagnetic and Acoustic Materials

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