XM2 Graduation Summer 2019

L to R: Tom Graham, Toby Octon, Jake Mehew, Josh Hamilton, Anja Roeding (Programme Manager) and Miguel Camacho Aguilar)

On 15th July, we held a post-graduation celebration for the PGRs graduating in the summer ceremony. These included not only students from our first cohort but also students from our second cohort. Their peers, other PGRs and academic staff joined to congratulate them on their fantastic achievement.

These graduates have gone on to a variety of destinations, including both academia and industry:

Graduate thesis supervisors next destination
Miguel Camacho Aguilar Microwave Response of Finite Periodic Metal Structures  Alastair Hibbins and Roy Sambles Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Pennsylvania
Thomas Graham Underwater Acoustic Waves on Structured and Unstructured Plates Roy Sambles, Alastair Hibbins, Simon Horsley Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Sussex
Joshua Hamilton Bio-inspired Magnetic Systems: Controlled Swimming, Fluid Pumps, and Collective Behaviour  Feodor Ogrin and Peter Petrov Postdoctoral Research Fellow at QinetiQ
Christopher King Designing non-scattering graded-index media Simon Horsley and Tom Philibin Theoretical Physicist at QinetiQ
Conor McKeever Theory and Simulation of the Microwave Response of Concentric Ferromagnetic Shells Mustafa Aziz and Feodor Ogrin Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Exeter (ICURe programme)
Jake Mehew Optoelectronic devices based on van der Waals heterostructures Saverio Russo and Monica Craciun Six months of travelling in South America
Tobias Octon Optoelectronic Properties of Two-Dimensional Molybdenum Ditelluride David Wright and Monica Craciun Customer Insight Analyst at GAIN Capital
Illia Starshynov Quantum and classical correlations of multiply scattered light Jacopo Bertolotti and Janet Anders Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Glasgow

They join fellow alumni from the CDT who graduated in Summer 2018 and Winter 2018

L to R: Alastair Hibbins (Director of CDT), Miguel Camacho Aguilar, Conor McKeever, Jake Mehew, Tom Graham and Josh Hamilton

Here are some more photos from the graduation celebration:

PGR Henry Fernandez submits his PhD thesis

Congratulations to PGR Henry Fernandez, who has recently submitted his PhD thesis titled “Optical and Electronic Study of Hybrid Light-Matter States” supervised by Prof. Bill Barnes, and Prof. Saverio Russo. This thesis extends a description of his recently published work titled “Electrically Tuneable Exciton-Polaritons through Free Electron Doping in Monolayer WS2 Microcavities” and “Electrically tuneable exciton energy exchange between spatially separated 2-dimensional semiconductors in a microcavity“.  Additionally, Henry recently presented this work as an invited speaker at the Rank Prize Funds Symposium on 2-Dimensional Semiconductors for Optoelectronics and also at Nanometa19.

Henry says of his research work

I am proud of an essential aspect of this work, which is the design and implementation of an automated optical/electronic setup from scratch, that allowed us to position our research at the frontier of the optoelectronics with light-matter particles.




During his PhD, Henry also participated in many different events. He joined in the Startup Weekend Exeter in October 2018, where his team Dot_IT was the winner of the competition. He also participated in many outreach events as part of the Exeter University Optics and Photonics Society.
He was the president of this society from February 2018 to February 2019. He was also the chair of the IONS Exeter conference, recently held from 9 to 12 of July 2019. IONS Exeter was a student-led conference that brought together esteemed keynote and invited speakers, as well as normal contributions from different countries.

After completing his PhD viva and obtaining his PhD certificate, Henry will move to Finland to work in a postdoctoral position with Prof. Zhipei Sun, at the Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering of the Aalto University.

Henry presenting at Nanometa 2019
Henry Fernandez

New Publication: Vibrational strong coupling with surface plasmons and the presence of surface plasmon stop bands

Kishan Menghrajani

Congratulations to 4th year PGR Kishan Menghrajani, who is lead author on ‘Vibrational strong coupling with surface plasmons and the presence of surface plasmon stop bands’, published in ACS Photonics.

The authors present results from experiments and numerical simulations to show that surface plasmon modes provide convenient open cavities for vibrational strong coupling experiments. In addition to providing momentum matching between surface plasmon modes and incident light, gratings may also produce a modification of the surface plasmon properties, notably their dispersion. The authors further show that for the parameters used in our experiment, surface plasmon stop bands are formed, and they find that both stop-band edges undergo strong coupling.

Kishan’s previous publications include ‘Hybridization of Multiple Vibrational Modes via Strong Coupling Using Confined Light Fields’.

New publication: ‘A Nonvolatile Phase‐Change Metamaterial Color Display’

Congratulations to PGR Santiago Garcia-Cuevas Carrillo, who is the lead author on ‘A Nonvolatile Phase‐Change Metamaterial Color Display’, recently published in Advanced Optical Materials. Co-authors include fourth year PGR  Liam Trimby and Prof. C. David Wright.


Chalcogenide phase‐change materials, which exhibit a marked difference in their electrical and optical properties when in their amorphous and crystalline phases and can be switched between these phases quickly and repeatedly, are traditionally exploited to deliver nonvolatile data storage in the form of rewritable optical disks and electrical phase‐change memories. However, exciting new potential applications are now emerging in areas such as integrated phase‐change photonics, phase‐change optical metamaterials/metasurfaces, and optoelectronic displays. Here, ideas from these last two fields are fused together to deliver a novel concept, namely a switchable phase‐change metamaterial/metasurface resonant absorber having nonvolatile color generating capabilities. With the phase‐change layer, here GeTe, in the crystalline phase, the resonant absorber can be tuned to selectively absorb the red, green, and blue spectral bands of the visible spectrum, so generating vivid cyan, magenta, and yellow pixels. When the phase‐change layer is switched into the amorphous phase, the resonant absorption is suppressed and a flat, pseudowhite reflectance results. Thus, a route to the potential development is opened‐up of nonvolatile, phase‐change metamaterial color displays and color electronic signage.


Santiago passed his viva in May this yearpassed his viva in May this yearpassed his viva in May this year. His previous publications include ‘Reconfigurable phase-change meta-absorbers with on-demand quality factor control’ and ‘Design of practicable phase-change metadevices for near-infrared absorber and modulator applications, both published in Optics Express.

PGR Kavya Sreeja Sadanandan presents poster at ISFOE Conference

First year PGR Kavya Sreeja Sadanandan presented a poster on ‘Graphene coated textile fabrics for wearable electronics’ at the 12th International Symposium on Flexible Organic Electronics Conference (ISFOE 2019), held in Thessaloniki, Greece from 1st to 4th July. ISFOE is the biggest scientific & technology event in Flexible Organic & Printed Electronics (OEs), that promotes the Research, Technology and Innovation in OE nanomaterials, Manufacturing Processes, Devices and Applications and Solutions.


Kavya said of her experience of the conference:

Workshops and sessions discussed the progress and the future of smart textiles and related fields in detail by the scientific and technical experts of the field.
Here I had the opportunity to present my poster on ‘Graphene coated textile fabrics for wearable electronics’ based on my CDT 6 month project on fabricating a conductive textile electrode towards energy based wearable device applications. It was a good environment to learn new methods, discuss my work and to create collaborations for my project.

Prof. Bill Barnes wins the Thomas Young Prize and Medal 2019

Congratulations to Prof. Bill Barnes who has been awarded the Thomas Young Prize and Medal 2019 from the Institute of Physics. The award is made for distinguished contributions to optics, including work related to physics outside the visible region.

Bill was awarded this prize for his outstanding contributions to the development of nanophotonics, especially in plasmonics and nanoscale light-molecule interactions. He was the first to show that monomolecular organic layers (Langmuir-Blodgett layers) are optically biaxial- in doing so he established a new polarization conversion technique that became a powerful way to analyse liquid crystal materials and devices.

Bill’s present research includes developing a new all-molecular pathway to making nanophotonic materials and leading research to use confined light fields to radically alter the energy levels of ensembles of molecules. Ongoing research includes band-engineering the optical properties of carbon-based materials and manipulating the charge and energy transport of 2D molecular materials, including photosynthetic materials.

Thomas Young was an English polymath noted for having established the wave theory of light via his famous double-slit experiment, and for what is now known as Young’s modulus, which relates the stress in a body to its associated strain. He also made contributions to the theory of colour vision, first coming up with the hypothesis that our perception of colour depends on three kinds of receptors sensitive to different wavelengths of light, and to the understanding of surface tension.

All award winners will be celebrated at the Institute’s annual Awards Dinner, to be held this year on 19 November at the Royal Lancaster London Hotel, where they will be presented by the President with their medal, a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Gooch and Housego Industry Visit

In May this year, our first year PGRs (Cohort 5) visited Gooch and Housego, a global leader in photonics technology in Torquay, for an insight into their company and the wider industry.

G&H are experts across a uniquely broad range of photonic technologies – crystal growth, optical materials processing, acousto-optics and electro-optics, fiber optics, DFB laser modules, precision optics (thin-film coating, birefringent optics, non-linear, planar and aspheric), RF driver electronics in addition to light measurement and calibration solutions.

Through tours and presentations, the PGRs experienced what it was like to work in this modern industry. Building on the ethos of our Beyond a PhD talks, some students spoke further with the staff to see which careers are open to them post-PhD.

We would like to thank G&H for hosting our PGRs to offer such insights in their business.

CDT PGR Pablo Martinez Pancorbo is Poster Award Finalist at Nano Today Conference 2019

At the Nano Today Conference in Lisbon, third year PGR Pablo Martinez Pancorbo reached the final 17 in the Poster Awards (out of 350 posters)- the only UK student this year to do this. Overall, there were 1,100 entries to attend the conference so this is a real achievement for Pablo.

Chaired by Nano Today Editor-in-Chief and A*STAR Senior Fellow, Professor Jackie Y. Ying, this international conference presented the latest research at the multidisciplinary frontier of nanostructured materials and devices.