Training and other events in May 2018






01.05.2018 Physics Theory Seminar:

Daniel Kattnig, Exeter University –

‘The quantum magnetic compass: Pathways to high sensitivity’

As applicable 13.30 – 14.30 Physics SCR
02.05.2018 CDT Group Meeting Group 2 13.30 – 14.30 Har 215
03.05.2018 Student Cohort Meeting with the XM2 Programme Manager Third Years 10.00 – 11.00 Physics SCR
08.05.2018 Physics Theory Seminar:

Andrew Daley, Strathclyde University, title tbc

As applicable 13.30 – 14.30 Physics SCR
08.05.2018 IP and Business Awareness Training Third Years 9.00 – 16.30 Ibrahim Ahmed Room, Reed Hall
09.05.2018 CDT Group Meeting Group 3 13.30 – 14.30 Physics 124
10.05.2018 Student Cohort Meeting with the XM2 Programme Manager Second Years 10.00 – 11.00 Physics 124
15.05.2018 6 Month Project Presentations First Years 9.00 – 12.00 Har 215
15.05.2018 Physics Colloquium:

Professor Massimo, Gurioli Universita Degli Studi Di Firenze. ‘Near Field: exploitation and imaging in nano-photonics’

As applicable 12.30 – 13.30 Streatham Court C
16.05.2018 6 Month Project Presentations First Years 9.00 – 12.00 Har 209
16.05.2018 CDT Group Meeting Group 4 13.30 – 14.30 Physics 124
16.05.2018 6 Month Project Presentations – Peer group follow up discussion First Years 15.00 – 16.00 G33
18.05.2018 CDT in Metamaterials Colloquium:

Mischa Bonn, Max Planck Institute, Mainz, title tbc

All 12.30 – 13.30 Newman Red
22.05.2018 Project Management Training First Years 9.30 – 16.30 Laver LT3
23.05.2018 Project Management Training First Years 9.30 – 16.30 Physics SCR
24.05.2018 CDT Group Meeting Group 1 13.30 – 14.30 Har 209
30.05.2018 CDT Group Meeting Group 2 13.30 – 14.30 Physics 124

Riddle time!

In need of a break? Get your hands and brains working and try this for a bit of a change:

Cut the image below in three pieces and reassemble them to form a square. You need to cut along the lines, obviously. 😉


Too easy? Got another one? Please email your riddle suggestions to

The solution to last newsletter’s riddle: X is 8. The underlying logic is multiplication. The outer two digits in each row and each column multiply with each other to give the two-digit number in the middle. For example, on the top row, six times seven is 42. In the left column, six times eight is 48. So to find X, we note that two times four is 0X, and that eight times six is 4X — so X must be eight.


16 May 2018 – Celebrate the International Day of Light with us!

The International Day of Light takes place on 16 May 2018. Our CDT in Metamaterials postgraduate researchers  in Physics and Engineering (Erick Burgos, Henry Fernandez, Joaquín Faneca) have joined forces with Astrophysics (Dr Jennifer Hatchell), Biophysics (Dr Francesca Palombo, Dr Noemi Correa) and Archaeology (Adrian Oyaneder) to celebrate this day with three events:

  • An outreach session on the Exeter city centre (Princesshay, 11.30 – 17.00) with hands-on experiments, demonstrations, and display of the finalists’ submisions of the currently open photo and poster competition (volunteers are welcome!).
  • A photo and poster competition with an award ceremony at the forum.
  • Pint of science” talks related to light in research – The event will take place between the 14th and 16th of May, featuring for example  the talk “Virtual light, real effects” from Henry Fernandez on 16 May 2018.

Photo competition

  • Submissions invited from everyone until the 4th of May of 2018.
  • Three submission categories: light in daily life; light in technology; light in nature.
  • Win up to £100!

Please see all entry regulations here:

Poster competition

  • Open to all Exeter students that use light as a tool of their investigation, or who study light by itself.
  • Submission of A0 size posters is open from 30th of April to the 5th of May of 2018.
  • Submissions will be done by twitter, using the hashtag #IDLposterexeter.
  • Win up to £50!

Please see all entry regulations here:

The exhibition of the finalist photos and posters will take place on 11th of May 2018 in the University of Exeter Forum, Streatham Campus, from 10:00 am to 16:00 pm. There will be an  “audience’s favourite” prize for the photo with the most likes on the EUOPS facebook page. The three finalist posters that received the most votes online will be judged on the day by an academic jury to select and anounce the poster prize winner on the day.

Take part, engage, share your passion!

Please contact Erick Burgos if you have any further questions.

Our PGRs presented their research at the Magnetism 2018 in Manchester – and returned home with a poster prize winner in their midst!

Congratulations to our very own Natalie Whitehead for winning the best poster award for her work “Theory of Linear Spin Wave Emission from a Bloch Domain Wall” at the Magnetism 2018 in Manchester!

Magnetism 2018 (IOP) is the premier conference organised by the UK and Rol magnetism community. It welcomes and encourages participation from Europe and further afield, and from industry. A mixture of invited talks and submitted contributions showcased the breadth of magnetism research in the UK and Rol covering the areas of thin films and nanostructures, spintronics, permanent magnetic materials, correlated electrons, nanoparticles and biological/biomedical applications of magnetism, computational magnetism and general magnetism.

The meeting included oral sessions on a range of subjects including spintronics, spin textures (domain walls, dynamics, vortices, skyrmions), permanent magnetism and energy efficiency, correlated electrons and topological systems, spin ice and 2D materials, nanoparticles, ab initio and micromagnetic theory, with plenary speaker Professor Albert Fert (University of Paris-Sud and UMP CNRS/Thales, France) and the Wohlfarth Lecture by Professor Gino Hrkac (University of Exeter, UK).

Our PGRs gave the following presentations:

  • Development of novel magnetic-elastic membranes for microfluidic applications (Elizabeth Martin)
  • High frequency modes in ferromagnetic shells for microwave applications (Conor McKeever)
  • Spatial mapping of torques within a spin hall nano-oscillator (Tim Spicer)

and presented their work with posters:

  • Collective excitations of bubble domains confined inside an antidot lattice (Angus Laurenson)
  • Ferromagnetic swimmer: fabrication, controlled swimming, and applications (Joshua Hamilton)
  • Propagating spiral spin waves in magnetic nano-patches (David Osuna Ruiz)
  • Theory of Linear Spin Wave Emission from a Bloch Domain Wall (Natalie Whitehead)
  • Time resolved imaging of coupled nano-contact spin transfer vortex oscillators (Erick Burgos)


Acoustic Metamaterials Meeting (XAM3 2018) at Exeter


Last week we welcomed 65 delegates from the acoustics community for a two -day research workshop at the University of Exeter: The Exeter Acoustic Metamaterials Meeting (XAM3, 16th – 17th April 2018; was organised by Dr Tim Starkey and sponsored by the EPSRC CDT in Metamaterials and the UK Acoustics Network.

The workshop aim was to bring together industrialists, established academics, and early career researchers from world-leading institutions to showcase research and to identify overlapping and complementary interests in acoustic metamaterials and metasurfaces research. Presentations from invited speakers such as Prof Richard Craster (Imperial College London), Prof. Will Parnell (University of Manchester), Prof Romain Fleury (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), Dr Daniel Elford (Sonobex Ltd), Dr Mihai Caleap (University of Bristol & Metasonics), and Dr Charles Rohde (US Naval Research Laboratory) covered many current metamaterial topics, from fundamental science through to engineered acoustic materials, including:

  • Metamaterials and metasurfaces
  • Underwater and elastic metamaterials
  • Topological metamaterials
  • Active metamaterials and acoustic haptics

[See all speakers here:]

The meeting provided a platform to engage in further discussion with representatives of industry (e.g. Armacell, Dyson, Metasonics, NPL,  QinetiQ,  and Thales) and academia (e.g. Aalto University, Institut Langevin, Le Mans University, Technical University of Denmark, University of Bristol, University of Exeter, University of Manchester, University of Southampton, University of Sussex) to explore potential industrial engagement with university research.

XAM3 2018 poster prize winner Emily Glover.

In addition, the poster presentation session offered an opportunity for early career researchers to initiate contact with the invited speakers and guests from academia and industry. We are delighted to announce that the poster prize of this year’s XAM3 event was awarded to the CDT in Metamaterials PGR Emily Glover for her poster ‘Phononic Band Engineering for Acoustic-Magnetic Tagging’. Congratulations, Emily!  All posters were judged by Dr. Gianluca Memoli from the University of Sussex.

XAM3 2018 provided an environment suited to forging mutually beneficial partnerships across industry and academia in acoustic metamaterials and metasurfaces research. The organisers are very grateful to all that attended for their contributions to the event’s success and they look forward to hosting the event again in the future.


EUOPS won an Optical Society (OSA) Special Program Grant for a PGR led careers development event

We are delighted to announce that the Exeter University Optics&Photonics Society (EUOPS) has been awarded with a Special Program Grant by The Optical Society (OSA).

This grant will co-fund a careers development event being organised by the CDT in Metamaterials postgraduate researcher (PGR) Julia De Pineda Gutierrez, director of the organisation committee. The committee members are the CDT PGRs Ben Hogan, Joaquin Faneca, and Henry Fernández Pizarro, and their colleague in the Engineering department Prince Khatri. The event will be held on 4th and 5th of July 2018 at the University of Exeter. A tentative program can be found here.

All CDT in Metamaterials PGRs are invited – please get in touch with Julia De Pineda Gutierrez if you have any questions.

New Publication: Investigating the bioavailability of graphene quantum dots in lung tissues via Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy

Tanveer Tabish‘s paper Investigating the bioavailability of graphene quantum dots in lung tissues via Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy has recently been published in Interface Focus (Royal Society publishing). Congratulations, Tanveer!


“Biomolecular fractions affect the fate and behaviour of quantum dots (QDs) in living systems but how the interactions between biomolecules and QDs affect the bioavailability of QDs is a major knowledge gap in risk assessment analysis. The transport of QDs after release into a living organism is a complex process. The majority accumulate in the lungs where they can directly affect the inhalation process and lung architecture. Here, we investigate the bioavailability of graphene quantum dots (GQDs) to the lungs of rats by measuring the alterations in macromolecular fractions via Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). GQDs were intravenously injected into the rats in a dose-dependent manner (low (5 mg kg−1) and high (15 mg kg−1) doses of GQDs per body weight of rat) for 7 days. The lung tissues were isolated, processed and haematoxylin–eosin stained for histological analysis to identify cell death. Key biochemical differences were identified by spectral signatures: pronounced changes in cholesterol were found in two cases of low and high doses; a change in phosphorylation profile of substrate proteins in the tissues was observed in low dose at 24 h. This is the first time biomolecules have been measured in biological tissue using FTIR to investigate the biocompatibility of foreign material. We found that highly accurate toxicological changes can be investigated with FTIR measurements of tissue sections. As a result, FTIR could form the basis of a non-invasive pre-diagnostic tool for predicting the toxicity of GQDs.”

Figure: Histological evaluation (haematoxylin and eosin stained) of lung tissue of rats at 24 h, 48 h and 7 days after intravenous injection of low and high doses of GQDs. Tissues from rats treated with low and high doses of GQDs are similar in histological appearance to those of the control group. In the control group, pulmonary parenchyma can be seen; bronchioles (shown by arrows) and pulmonary arteries (arrow heads) are also present. In the low dose group, lung tissue exhibits normal morphology. Alveolar ducts (arrows) and normal alveolar interstitial spaces (arrow heads) are present. In the high dose group, the alveolar lumen is free from any kind of exudate. Alveolar ducts are visible (arrows). Interalveolar septa are slightly thickened (arrow head). In the high dose group at day 7, interalveolar septa are moderately thickened (arrow head) and infiltration of mononuclear cells is seen in the pulmonary tissue section (arrow). Bars indicated by white stripes in the image are 50 µm.

Metabuddies: PGR outreach activity with Queen Elizabeth’s School Crediton

In spring 2018 Francis Davies, Elizabeth Martin, and Ned Taylor visited Queen Elizabeth’s School, Crediton as part of the CDT’s Metabuddies program to run physics sessions related to metamaterials with a group of year 12 physics students. They led a few different sessions over the course of March, in which they talked about their research and what studying a PhD is all about, and held a physics related Q & A with the students. A particular highlight were the indvidual physics challenges related to the PGR’s research the students could choose from, a data-storage and optics challenge (Frank), a programming challenge to find system energies (Ned), and a mechanics and magnetism related challenge (Elizabeth).

  • The programming challenge involved using various maths and physics skills and a computer to solve for the energy of different systems and investigating the use of programming in solving physics problems.
  • The data-storage challenge involved using a laser pointer and a CD to find out the number of bits stored using diffraction.
  • The mechanics and magnetism challenge involved using various pieces of equipment that were provided to design an experiment to investigate the magnetic force between to magnets and its relationship with distance.

The idea of these challenges was to give the students a taste of what it is like to be a researcher. The metabuddies aided them with the challenge along the way, but it was all about them figuring out how to conduct an investigation and solve various challenges, using the knowledge they had acquired from their taught course as well as their own ideas and general knowledge.

An example of a ‘magic trick’: The Metabuddies brought along two almost identical tubes, one made or copper and one made of paper. Drop a magnet into the tubes and you’ll notice it falls much slower down the copper tube than the paper one. The question for the students was: how is this possible? At first, there were apparanetly exclamations that it was a magic trick! But when the metabuddies handed the tubes over to the students to try themselves, that’s when they really started to think. As a group they explained Lenz’s Law without even realising it! It really emphasized how important the hands-on part of physics is in everyone’s learning.

Elizabeth Martin, CDT in Metamaterials PGR & Metabuddy:  “It was amazing to see the group transform so by the end they were a well organised team working together and bouncing ideas off each other.  In addition to this, the students had more questions about our research and how we came to be doing a PhD in this relaxed setting of doing an experiment in small groups, rather than in a presentation setting.”

Mr Nick Baker, Head of Physics, Queen Elizabeth’s School on the Metabuddies program:  “We have had a very positive time working with the metabuddies. They have been well organised and professional throughout. The students found their sessions engaging, challenging and inspiring.”



Images top to bottom: Our Metabuddies engaging with Queen Elizabeth’s School (Crediton) students through hands-on physics challenges (Elizabeth Martin, top), background knowledge taught coures (Francis Davies, middle), and 1:1 support (Ned Taylor, bottom).



Viva successfully completed!

Very many congratulations to Alba Paniagua Diaz who successfully defended her PhD on Monday 10 April 2018.  Her thesis title is “Light in scattering media: active control and the exploration of intensity correlations” and she was examined by Christian Soeller (College for Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences; Univeristy of Exeter) and Tomas Cizmar (School of Engineering, Physics & Mathematics; University of Dundee). Her supervisors are Jacopo Bertolotti and Bill Barnes in Physics.

This is a great success for Alba, but also a huge milestone for the CDT in Metamaterials – our first of many PhD graduates (hopefully over 80 PGRs!)

Read more about Alba’s thesis abstract and information on highlights of her time in the CDT:

Congratulations again to Alba, and all involved!


Flann and University of Exeter research project aims to pave way for 5G communications revolution

Microwave engineering company Flann Microwave is teaming up with the University of Exeter as part of ground-breaking research which could help pave the way for the next generation of 5G mobile communications.

Flann is working with PhD researcher Julia De Pineda-Gutiérrez from the Department of Physics and Astronomy on a four-year project which aims to use metamaterials to revolutionise antenna design for point to point radio networks – such as mobile phone networks – with the aim of making these smaller, lighter and cheaper to manufacture and install.

It is work which could overcome one of the key barriers in making the leap from 4G to 5G networks, which would require more regularly placed, highly directional microwave antennas to handle the increased data volumes and speeds involved.

The project is the latest in a series of collaborations over many years between the company, based in Bodmin, Cornwall, and the University of Exeter, a relationship which has grown closer with the establishment at the University of the £12 million EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (XM2).

Professor James Watts, Chief Executive of Flann Microwave, serves on the XM2 Oversight Board and was last year made an Honorary Associate Professor by the University.

He said: “This is incredibly exciting work which has implications nationally and internationally in the development of next generation communications networks, which face a considerable challenge in moving from 4G to 5G, much more so than with the step up from 3G to 4G.

“We’re delighted to be continuing our association with the University of Exeter, which has a growing reputation in the field of metamaterials research. We are excited at an academic level and by the practical and commercial opportunities which we hope will flow from this project and which could one day become mainstream in network development.”

Metamaterials involves materials being treated or engineered to give them special properties not normally found in nature. In the case of the research being carried out by Flann and Ms De Pineda-Gutiérrez, this involves developing surface structures and materials which can be used to manipulate radio waves to form the narrow beams needed for communication between mobile base stations.

As demand grows for higher capacity mobile networks, this technology opens the prospect of subtly incorporating antennas into everyday features and structures, potentially avoiding the visual clutter associated with conventional antenna types.

Professor Alastair Hibbins, Director of the CDT in Metamaterials, said: “We are particularly pleased to play an active role in building exemplary relationships between SMEs and the University of Exeter. Our long-standing collaboration with Flann Microwave strengthens the cluster of innovation and research with industry across the South West of England, and demonstrates mutual benefit for us and the local economy.  Our centre trains around 70 highly skilled PhD researchers, and working with industry gives us the opportunity to explore new areas of research, and the interaction with industry is crucial in moulding the training we provide to our students: ultimately we want them to succeed as scientific leaders in industry, and academia.”

With a 60-strong team based in Bodmin, Cornwall, Flann has grown over six decades to secure a global reputation and market leading position in the design and manufacture of precision microwave communications equipment, for example, to allow internet and mobile data to be carried between mobile phone masts or through satellite links.

Its innovations have been pivotal in the development of mobile telephone networks, from the very inception of the technology through to the huge growth in mobile use over the last two decades and right up to its ongoing research into 5G.

The company serves customers in the telecoms, government, automotive, aerospace, defence and research sectors, exporting more than 80 per cent of production. It has also worked with UK and overseas government agencies to write many of the standards used in the industry.

Pictured below, Professor James Watts and CDT in Metamaterials PGR Julia De Pineda-Gutierrez.

Flann Microwave are sponsoring a postgraduate researcher (PGR) at the University of Exeter. Pictured are CEO James Watts and the PGR Julia de Pineda-Gutiérrez in a physics lab on Streatham Campus. (Photo by Theo Moye 28/11/17 )