The Trustees of the Rank Prize Funds decided to offer a number of awards, each worth £5,000, for final year PhD students in UK universities who have a major commitment to teaching and research in optoelectronics, and who are likely to embark on a successful research career. The scheme was set up to support students through the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Every university in the UK was invited to nominate up to two final year PhD students from different departments or schools.
The University of Exeter nominated Charlie-Ray Mann as the candidate from the School of Physics and Astronomy, and he was awarded the prize by the Optoelectronics Advisory Committee. His PhD work, under the supervision of Dr Eros Mariani and Prof Bill Barnes, focuses on the theoretical investigation of novel Dirac and topological polaritons supported by metasurfaces embedded in photonic cavities. Charlie’s research has been published in several top-level journals, including Nature Photonics (2020) and Nature Communications (2018).