Student and staff presentations at Light in Complex Materials International Workshop


Rachel Lennon (1st year PGR researcher)
Prof. Frank Vollmer

The first “Light in Complex Materials” international workshop took place from 8 – 10 April 2019 at the University of Exeter. Organised jointly by researchers at the University of Exeter and the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, Jena (Germany), this workshop attracted over 70 scientists and researchers from 3 continents, including many of the world leaders in wavefront shaping, light scattering, and fibre optical physics. Understanding and controlling the propagation of light through complex scattering materials is a rapidly advancing area, promising a host of new technologies in fields such as deep tissue imaging, optical communication, and optical computing. The overarching aim of this workshop was to bring together the diverse communities working on these challenges, to share visions and methods with each other, and particularly with the younger generation of students and early career researchers.

The technical program was led by keynote speakers from Yale and CalTech (USA), Utrecht (Netherlands), and Erlangen (Germany), along with 6 invited talks from LKB (Paris, France), Twente (Netherlands), EPFL (Swizerland), Seoul (Korea), and Southampton and Cambridge (UK). Discussions were focussed around the state-of-the-art in our understanding of light scattering in complex media, novel techniques for imaging through opaque objects, fibre optical physics, and micro-endoscopy. In addition, 14 abstracts from a highly international pool of early career researchers were selected for presentations, and a further 30 for a lively poster session. 3 industry representatives also gave talks: Nokia-Bell Labs, Meadowlark Optics (USA), and Vialux (Germany).

The organizers would like to thank all participants, and are grateful for the generous support from our sponsors: the University of Exeter Centre for Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (XM² ), the University of Exeter College of Engineering Mathematics and Physical Sciences (CEMPS), the University of Exeter Centre for Innovation, Impact and Business (IIB), and Meadowlark Optics.

XM² representation at the workshop included:
* Prof Frank Vollmer: “Lightwaves meet Molecular Machines: Sensing Single Protein Dynamics with Optoplasmonic Microcavities.”

* Rachel Lennon (1st year PGR): “Measuring the transmission matrix of a diffuser”
* Andrew Corbett (research fellow in computer science): “Modelling radiance distributions in natural water bodies”
* Kishan Menghrajani (4th year PGR): “Strong coupling of molecular vibrational resonances in a metal-clad microcavity below cut-off”
* Dr Jacopo Bertolotti (senior lecturer in physics, and workshop organiser): “Blind ghost imaging”
* Dr David Phillips (research fellow in physics, and workshop organiser): “Mode selective mirrors”

Congratulations to Prof J Knight: Fellow of the Royal Society

Congratulations to the XM2 Oversight Board Chair and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) of the University of Bath, Professor Jonathan Knight, who has been elected to the Royal Society for his exceptional contribution to science.

“Professor Knight, whose research focuses on photonics and optical physics, was instrumental in establishing the Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials at the University as its founding director. Much of his research has centred on developing photonic crystal fibres – new technologies for fibre design and fibre optics that have had diverse applications from healthcare to atomic physics.

A former Head of the Department of Physics at Bath from 2008 to 2013, and Associate Dean for Research (Science) at the University from 2013 to 2015, Professor Knight’s research has had significant international impact. He was winner of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2009), the Institute of Physics Optics and Photonics Division Prize (2012), the Rank Prize for Optoelectronics (2018 – with Bath colleague Birks and former colleague Russell), and a Chinese Academy of Sciences President’s International Fellowship for Distinguished Scientists (2019). … READ MORE

“You should sell this concept” – great feedback on our STEM industry careers event

Some of the particpants and exhibitors at our STEM industry careers event for PhD students and postdocs in April 2019 (Reed Hall, Streatham Campus, Exeter).

“You should sell this concept. The engagement with industry was impressive. Also, we made a couple of useful business to business contacts!” ( Charmyn Hall, HR Director, Plasma Technology at Oxford Instruments)

The CDT in Metamaterials hosted its annual STEM industry careers event for PhD students and postdocs on 18 April 2019. We welcomed representatives from quite a wide range of businesses where STEM PhDs could find themselves working in: Babwe Barton Enterprise, BAE Systems, DST Innovations, Granted Consultancy, IOP, Morpheus, NPL, Oxford Instruments, and WaveOptics.

The 15 minute company pitches on who they are, and who they are looking for, was hugely insightful – attitude, mindset, self-starters, problem-solving, and adaptability were key words alongside technical skills requirements.

“The event was fantastic at introducing a wide range of potential employers to PGR’s.  It really opened my eyes to possible future careers.” ( Milly Owens, PhD student in Engineering)

A special mention to our CDT in Metamaterials PhD students Conor Price (1st year) and Julia de Pineda Gutiérrez (3rd year): They agreed a few minutes prior event start to chairing the morning and afternoon sessions, respectively, keeping our speakers on time and moderating the Q&A sessions. They’ve done a very good job on this short notice ‘training opportunity’ to expand their experiences. Well done both!

To quote from our PGR-led twitter post: “A huge thank you to all of the companies who attended our Industrial Careers Event 2019. Their stimulating talks on the career paths open to our PGRs might just lead to future meetings as employees rather than students we hope!”

In short: we’re pleased to see that it was such a successful event and will aim to host it again in spring 2020. Put your company suggestions forward and we’ll try to get them on board for the next careers event!

“The event was great, I enjoyed particularly that HR and internal recruiters were there to answer questions, it really makes the event rich and productive for all!” ( Dr Adolfo de Sanctis, Research Fellow in the Centre for Graphene Science)

CDT PGRs present at IOP Magnetism 2019 conference


Left to right: Elizabeth Martin, Jacob Roth, Emily Glover, Connor Sait, David Newman and Konstantinos Othon Chatzimpaloglou

CDT second year researcher Emily Glover and third year CDT PGR researcher Elizabeth Martin presented at IOP Magnetism 2019 conference, which was held on 8th and 9th April at University of Leeds. Magnetism 2019 is the premier conference organised by the UK and RoI magnetism community. It welcomes and encourages participation from Europe and further afield, and from industry. It follows the highly successful conferences that have been held annually since 2014.

Emily and Elizabeth gave talks entitled “A ferrite-filled cavity resonator for electronic article surveillance on metallic packaging” and “Investigation of Coupled Elasto-Magnetic Pumps for Microfluidic Applications” respectively. This was Emily’s first time presenting at the Magnetism conference series; Elizabeth has presented previously, in 2017 (poster) and 2018 (talk).

First year CDT PGRs Connor Sait, David Newman and Konstantinos Othon Chatzimpaloglou, and third year CDT PGR Jacob Roth, also attended the conference.

More photos below: 


Pablo Martinez Pancorbo attends the Organ-A-Chip Learning & Collaborative Event

On 8th and 9th April, third year PGR researcher Pablo Martinez Pancorbo attended the Organ-on-a-Chip Learning & Collaborative Event. The event provides a valuable opportunity for network members from academia, healthcare, industry, and governance to take part in a range of talks, industry demonstrations, training sessions and network workshops. Pablo attended as a member of the network to meet possible future collaborators for testing his nanoparticles in their platforms and to explore future employment opportunities. The full event programme can be found here.

An organ-on-a-chip is an engineered system in which the architecture, functions and surrounding physiochemical environment of a living human organ are recreated, allowing drugs or therapies to be tested on an in vitro system which recapitulates the in vivo one. The development of organ-on-a-chip in vitro models has grown from a nascent idea in 2000 to one of the most promising, fastest growing research areas in the world, predicted to achieve a compound growth rate of 38-57% over the next 5 years to become a multi-billion pound industry.

For a taster of Pablo’s research, check out his elevator pitch

XM2 proudly presents: The first Materials for Clean Energy Conference at NPL

Our very first Materials for Clean Energy Conference (MCEC2019) took place from 8 – 10 April 2019 at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

The MCEC2019 organisers would like to thank all participants, our sponsors (the CDT in Advanced Characterisation of Materials, the Energy Harvesting Network, the Knowledge Transfer Network, Shimadzu, and Princeton Instruments), and in particular NPL, who have been an amazing host to this conference.

A mixed audience of over 70 researchers from national and international universities, laboratories, and industry made the event a huge success:

The technical program was led by six invited speakers covering innovative development in perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells, thick film energy harvesting, graphene based supercapacitors, and enhanced oxygen elec-trocatalysis. MCEC2019 covered two main themes, i.e. Energy Harvesting on 8th – 9th April and the Energy Storage on 9th -10th April. A total of 54 abstracts from national and international researchers were selected for presentation, which have been organised into 10 oral sessions and three poster sessions.

If you’d like to take part in the next MCEC event (date tbc), do not hesitate to get in touch:

XM2 representation at MCEC2019


  • Mian Zahid Hussein, 3rd year PGR: MOF derived Photocatalysts for highefficient solar-light-driven H2evolution
  • Kieran Walsh, 3rd year PGR: Intercalated graphene electrodes for photovoltaic applications


  • Shane Davies, 2nd year PGR: Nano-scale Patterning ForThermoelectric Applications
  • Kavya Sadanandan, 1st year PGR: Fabrication of semi-transparent triboelectric nanogenerator for wearable devices
  • Ned Taylor, 3rd year PGR: Solving the Riddle of Colossal Permittivity
  • Conor Price, 1st year PGR: Artificial Photosynthesis from Perovskite Materials: A SrSnO3 Case Study
  • Francis Davies, 3rd year PGR: 2D Rules: Band Gap Engineering in Weakly Interacting van der Waals Heterostructures
  • Conor Murphy, 2nd year PGR: FeCl3doped few-layer graphene as flexible electrode in solution processed OLED devices
 More pictures from the day below:

Josh Hamilton passed his viva – well done, and good luck at QinetiQ!

It is our pleasure to announce that Joshua Hamilton, supervised by  Prof Feodor Ogrin and Dr Peter Petrov, has passed his viva with minor corrections. He was examined by Dr Mariana Medina Sanchez (IFW Dresden, Germany)  and Stefano Pagliara  (University of Exeter).

He recently started a postdoc position at QinetiQ,  developing new materials or structures that can be used to control the propagation of microwave radiation.

During his PhD studies since 2015 he presented his work in posters and talks at various conferences, nationally and internationally (e.g. 6th International Conference on Superconductivity and Magnetism 2018 – 3rd place poster prize), and secured two travel grants to attend magnetism conferences in Dresden and San Francisco, respectively.

In addition, Josh organised a 3 day workshop “Bio-inspired Magnetic Systems” at Exeter in 2018.

He published various articles:

.. and his currently preparing two more based on the results during his PhD studies.

Learn more about Josh and his experiences in CDT for Metamaterials:

We wish him all the best of luck in his future career and hope to welcome him back at Exeter in the next few years to inspire the next generation of materials scientists and engineers.