Training and other events: October 2018 to January 2019

Please find below a table of all upcoming XM² training and other events from October 2018 until January 2019 as far as planning currently allows. Yet to be confirmed for 1st year PGRs: progression & monitoring – introduction to CDT assessments and PGR progression  (Prof C D Wright) – likely to be held in November/December 2018 in preparation for the 6 months reports.

PGRs, please highlight any XM²-training related absence times to your supervisors. In regards to annual leave or other absence time planning: All confirmed events have been sent to the PGRs via a calendar invitation, but please ensure to check the CDT in Metamaterials outlook calendar and to liaise with your supervisors and the CDT in Metamaterials office () for approval BEFORE you make any bookings, as there might be a few more events coming up that are yet to be confirmed.

Supervisors, please be mindful of the XM² events when setting expectations on research deliverables with the PGRs.

date item attendees time venue
24/10/18 CDT Metamaterials PGR conference talks (PGRS only) All PGRs 13:30 – 17:30 Newman Red
25/10/18 Excellence at Interview – Day 1 (Vox Coaching) 4th years 9:00 – 17:00 Ibrahim Ahmed/Margaret Hewitt Rooms, Reed Hall
25/10/18 Solving Problems in Wave Physics 1st years 13:30 – 14:30 Physics SCR
26/10/18 Excellence at Interview – Day 2 (Vox Coaching) 4th years 9:00 – 17:00 Ibrahim Ahmed/Margaret Hewitt Rooms, Reed Hall
26/10/18 Statistics and Data Analysis 1st years 16:30-17:30 Physics 124
29/10/18 CDT Group Meetings- Introduction All PGRs 14:00-15:30 Harrison 101
30/10/18 EUOPS Workshop: Communicating Science for the General Public All PGRs 10:00-18:00 Seminar A and B, LSI Building
31/10/18 M13 Report Submission Deadline 2nd years
31/10/18 CDT Metamaterials PGR conference talks (PGRs only) All PGRs 13:30 – 17:30 Newman Red
1/11/18 Introduction to Monitoring & Progression (with Prof David Wright) 1st years 10:30 – 11:30 Peter Chalk 2.6
1/11/18 Solving Problems in Wave Physics 1st years 13:30 – 14:30 Physics SCR
2/11/18 CDT Metamaterials Colloquium: Miles Padgett, Glasgow University/ “Better images with entangled photons” All PGRs 12:30 – 13:30 Newman Red
2/ 11/18 Statistics and Data Analysis 1st years 16:30-17:30 Physics 124
7/11/18 Open Access and Sympletic Introduction 1st years 14:30-15:30 Physics 124
8/10/18 Solving Problems in Wave Physics 1st years 13:30 – 14:30 Physics SCR
9/ 11/18 Statistics and Data Analysis 1st years 16:30-17:30 Physics 124
12/11/18 Acoustics training 2nd years 10:00 – 16:30 Physics SCR
13/11/18 Acoustics training 2nd years 9:00 – 16:00 Physics SCR
13/11/18 Magnetic Materials & Devices training 1st years 10:00 – 12:00 SCR
15/11/18 Magnetic Materials & Devices training 1st years 10:00 – 12:00 Physics SCR
16/11/18 Statistics and Data Analysis 1st years 16:30-17:30 Physics 124
19/11/18 Plasmonics training 2nd years 10:00 – 12:00 Physics SCR
14:00 – 16:00
21/11/18 Sensing & Stealth workshop 2nd years 14:00 – 17:00 Peter Chalk 2/3
22/11/18 Magneto-transport and Spintronics Workshop 1st years 09:30-12:00 Physics 124
23/11/18 Titles and Abstracts workshop 2nd years 9:30 – 10:30 Physics SCR
23/11/18 Statistics and Data Analysis 1st years 16:30-17:30 Physics 124
26/11/18 Plasmonics training 2nd years 10:00 – 12:00 Physics SCR
14:00 – 16:00
28/11/18 CDT Group Meeting (groups 1-4) All PGRs 14:30-15:30 Peter Chalk 1.4,

Peter Chalk 1.5,

Peter Chalk 1.6,

Peter Chalk 2.3

30/11/18 CDT Metamaterials Colloquium: Maria Kafesaki, IESL – FORTH, Crete/ “Metamaterials for advanced electromagnetic wave control/” All PGRs 12:30 – 13:30 Newman Red
7/12/18 Industry Visit – IBM registered 3rd & 4th years arrival on 6 Dec, return late on 7 Dec IBM Daresbury
9/01/19 LTHE Training 1st years 09:30-16:00 TBC
15/01/19 Fabrication & Characterization of Functional Materials – Day 1(Group 1 & group 2) 1st years 10:00-17:30 Physics SCR
17/01/19 Fabrication & Characterization of Functional Materials – Day 1(Group 1 & group 2) 2nd years 10:00-13:00 Physics SCR
18/01/19 Beyond a PhD: Dr Alessandra Sala, Lead of the Data Analytics research Department at Bell Laboratories (Dublin, Ireland) All PGRs TBC TBC
22/01/19 Fabrication & Characterization of Functional Materials – Day 2(Group 1 & group 2) 1st years 10:00-17:00 Physics SCR
24/01/19 Fabrication & Characterization of Functional Materials – Day 2(Group 2) 1st years 10:00-17:00 Physics SCR
30/01/19 Leadership training – Day 1 3rd years 09:00-16:30 Physics SCR
31/01/19 Leadership training – Day 2 3rd years 09:00-16:30 Physics SCR

Riddle time!

A famous scientist was found murdered in her lab in the chemistry department! Before she died, she was able to smeer a few numbers with her blood on the wall:

Scotland yard believes this might be a clue to find her murderer(s)!  Strong suspects are some of her colleagues who were unable to provide an alibi and were reported to have had not the best of relationships with her in the past: Edward, Gabi, Carl, Sahra, Felice und Antonio.

Can you figure out who these numbers might refer to?


The answer to last month’s riddle: It’s a dice. An explanation: “It’s always 1 to 6”: the numbers on the faces of the dice, “it’s always 15 to 20”: the sum of the exposed faces when the dice comes to rest after being thrown, “it’s always 5”: the number of exposed faces when the dice is at rest, “but it’s never 21”: the sum of the exposed faces is never 21 when the dice is at rest, “unless it’s flying”: the sum of all exposed faces when the dice is flying is 21 (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6).

See all riddles on

Chris King passed his viva with no corrections!

It is our pleasure to announce that EPSRC CDT PGR Chris King passed his viva with no corrections. He was examined by Dr Dave Phillips (UoE) and Prof Stephen Barnett (University of Glasgow). An outstanding result! Very many congratulations to Chris, that’s truly exceptional.

Chris’ PhD thesis work Designing non-scattering graded-index media”  was supervised by Dr Simon Horsley and Dr Tom Philbin. He is now working for QinetiQ with a research focus on commercial applications of his theoretical work.

Read more about the thesis abstract & some details on Chris’ time in the CDT.

“Both myself and the external assessor were extremely impressed with Chris’ written work and his defence.”  (Dave Phillips, University of Exeter)

Poster prize winner Joaquin Faneca @ Photonex Europe

EPSRC CDT in Metamaterials PGR Joaquin Faneca (now in his 3rd year) won the technical poster prize at the Photonex Europe conference in October 2018, a key event for photonics that brings the whole supply chain together under one roof: supplier companies, consultants, industrial users, researchers, science groups and innovative new-comers.

Congratulations to Joaquin for his success with his poster on “Reconfigurable materials for intergrated optical communications applications”!

Jess Brown @ Soap Box Science 2018

Jess Brown only started her PhD in 2017, but has been an incredibly engaged researcher with strong committment to sharing her passion and experiences beyond her immediate research project right from the start. She joined the XM² Student Advisory Group to represent her cohort together with her peer Emily Glover, and represented Exeter on the BBC University Challenge programme.

Her latest endeavour? Taking to the stage for “Soap Box Science” events in Exeter and Plymouth to inspire the wider public with science!

Here’s Jess’ Soap Box Science story on piezoelectric effects and jelly waves:

Earlier this year, on the recommendation of another female CDT PGR, I applied to be a Soapbox Science speaker in Exeter. On their website, Soapbox Science is described as a grass-roots science outreach organisation that brings cutting-edge research onto urban streets whilst also promoting the visibility of women in science. Inspirational speakers are placed on soapboxes and encouraged to engage in and start conversations with the public about their work. Since 2011, the organisation has expanded dramatically from one event in London with 12 speakers to this year, with 30 events in 8 countries and hundreds of speakers worldwide.

One of the core aims of the XM² CDT is outreach, and I felt this was a perfect way to get involved. Speakers are given an hour on the soapbox, and it is up to them how they use that – planning my talk was challenging but enjoyable, taking a step back to be creative and think about how I would describe my work to the general public and children in particular, people without scientific backgrounds.

Armed with a slinky and a Tupperware full of raspberry jelly, I stood on my soapbox and talked about my research – I gave demonstrations of different kinds of waves, described the piezoelectric effect, and spoke about applications of acoustic microfluidic systems. I particularly enjoyed getting volunteers to help with wave demos – seeing a standing wave on a slinky in the middle of Exeter really grabbed people’s attention! When I wasn’t speaking, I walked around to learn from inspirational women about their research on a wide variety of topics such as clinical psychology, cardiac health, whales, bacteria, DNA and graphene. After a great day in Exeter, I did it all again the following day in Plymouth (the jelly only just survived the train journey)!

Soapbox Science was a really rewarding experience, as it’s a fantastic way to introduce the public to interesting science, while simultaneously promoting female scientists. I would highly recommend getting involved as a volunteer, and other female researchers (at any stage in their career) to sign up to be speakers for future events around the country and further afield!

Workshop on communication skills for presenting science to the wider public

All EMPS PGRs are invited to attend a fully sponsored workshop on communication skills for presenting science to the wider public, organised by the PGRs from Exeter’s Optics & Photonics Society (EUOPS), and facilitated by

  • Dr Rachel Won (session content: Writing news on science), International editor for Nature Photonics;
  • Dr Simon Clark (session content: Managing online channels), Science Communicator and Founder of;
  • UoE Marketing Team (session content: hands-on video production).

The event will take place on 30 October 2018 at 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. 

XM2 PGRs will have booking priority, but the EUOPS organising committee communicated that there will be spaces left for non-XM2 PGRs and all EMPS PGRs are more than welcome to attend. First come first served:  Reserve your Eventbrite ticket now.

New CDT administrator: Kelyn Luther

As of 1 October 2018 we have the pleasure to be supported by the new full-time CDT administrator Kelyn Luther. Kelyn brings with her excessive administrative experience and knowledge of the University’s systems due to her former roles in the Peopel Development and Staff Life teams, respectively. Please provide a friendly welcome to Kelyn.

We would like to use this opportunity to say thanks to the Temporary Staff Bank member Karen Pearson, who covered for long-term illness absence a couple of days per week over the past year.  Karen provided great support to the CDT administration and has now moved on to progress her career as an artist.

We would also like to say thanks to Rosie Dixon whose contract came to an end in September. She has supported the CDT in its early days and has now moved on to the role as Wellbeing Advisor in the Staff Life team.

We wish Karen and Rosie the best of luck and look forward to Kelyn’s contributions to the CDT.

Poster Prize Winners: Carlota Ruiz De Galarreta and Joseph Beadle


Figure 1: Poster prize winner Carlota Ruiz de Galarreta (4th from the left) at the European Phase-Change and Ovonic Symposium (E\PCOS 2018).

4th year XM² PGRs Carlota Ruiz de Galarreta and Joseph Beadle won the poster prizes at two different conferences:

  • Carlota attended the European Phase-Change and Ovonic Symposium (E\PCOS 2018 which brings together the phase change community together to discuss the latest technology achievements and their possible new application areas (figure 1);
  • Joseph won the prize for best poster at the Symposium on Acoustic Materials and Metamaterials, organised by the  IOA Physical Acoustics Group, and co-sponsored by the recently established UK Acoustics Network, which brings together many recognised specialists in acoustic materials and metamaterials from academia and industry to discuss latest research on absorbing, scattering and the diffusing of sound (figure 2).

Congratulations to both PGRs for their achievements!

Figure 2: Joseph Beadle’s winning poster at the ACOUSTIC MATERIALS AND METAMATERIALS Symposium 2018.

New Publication: The acoustic phase resonances and surface waves supported by a compound rigid grating

Congratulations to Joseph Beadle, 4th year PGR in the EPSRC CDT in Metamaterials, for his latest publication on ‘The acoustic phase resonances and surface waves supported by a compound rigid grating‘, published in Nature’s Scientific Reports.


We study the radiative and bound acoustic modes supported by a rigid grating formed of three same-depth, narrow grooves per unit cell. One of the grooves is twice the width of the other two, forming a ‘compound’ grating. The structure supports so-called ‘phase’ resonances where the phase difference of the pressure field between the grooves on resonance varies by multiples of π. We explore the dispersion of these modes experimentally by monitoring the specularly reflected signal as a function of the angle of incidence. In addition, by near-field excitation, the dispersion of the non-radiative surface modes has been characterised. Our results are compared with the predictions of a finite element method model.

Figure: Schematic (not to scale) of the experimental setup, consisting of a speaker at the focus of a collimating mirror giving a plane wave incident onto the sample, the reflected signal being then focused by a second mirror onto the microphone. The speaker and microphone are placed below the central plane of the mirrors and sample such that they do not directly impede the acoustic beams. Here, α = 90° − θ.


XM2 PGR away day

Building community is one of the main challenges in any bigger entity. Where many work under a shared framework there’s a lot of potential to exploit. However, getting building bridges and communication channels isn’t always easy, in particular when areas of expertise aren’t closely related in the first instance. The CDT in Metamaterials is no different in that regard – with about 65 active postgraduate researchers across 4 cohort years there’s quite a lot of opportunity for sharing of knowledge and innovative thinking right on the PGRs’ doorstep. And at the same time it can be difficult to create links with those that are not in the same research group. To facilitate the wider connections across the Metamaterials themes and to mark the start of long lasting, effective relationships between our 23 new starters and the older cohorts we organised our very first PGR away day at the end of this year’s induction week.

The Outdoors Group” whisked the PGRs away to West Town Farm just outside of the village Ide for some interactive team working exercises where they relied on their communication skills, support and trust to accomplish the challenges presented to them.  For not to miss out on a research knowledge exchange opportunitywith so many of the PGRs gathered, we introduced an exercise fondly remembered of by Prof Euan Hendry when thinking about his time at the AMOLF institute in Amsterdam: we gave the 4th year PGRs a week to find out more about their 2nd year peers’ projects to be able to present these to all of the PGRs on the away day.

See below some impressions of the XM² away day in September 2018.