Training and other events: April 2021 to June 2021

Please find below a table of all upcoming XM² training and other events from April 2021 to June 2021, as far as planning currently allows and subject to change.

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 an Outlook 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 (metamaterials@exeter.ac.uk) 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.

After six months, (e.g. after the Month 6 project is complete), first year PGRs can undertake teaching and demonstrating, provided that they complete LTHE online training first. The course is self-paced so you can take it whenever you like but please note it is mandatory and you will not be able to undertake teaching and demonstrating until you have completed it.

April
15.04.21 Cohort 5 meeting with Alastair and Anja 3rd years 09:00-10:00 via Teams
15.04.21 Introduction to Open Access/Symplectic and Research Data Management 1st years, optional for 2nd and 3rd years 10:00-11:30 via Teams
15.04.21 Cohort 7 meeting with Alastair and Anja 1st years 15:00-17:00 via Teams
19.04.21 Cohort 6 meeting with Alastair and Anja 2nd years 11:00-12:00 via Teams
19.04.21 Cohort 4 meeting with Alastair and Anja 4th years 13:30-14:30 via Teams
30.04.21 Metamaterials Colloquium: Dr Mariana Medina Sanchez, Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research, ‘Physical and Biohybrid Microrobots for Biomedical Applications’ All PGRs 12:30-13:30 via Zoom
May
28.05.21 Metamaterials Colloquium: Prof. Montserrat Rivas, University of Oviedo, ‘A New Generation of Rapid Diagnostic Tests: The Role of Magnetic Nanoparticles’ All PGRs 12:30-13:30 TBC
June
16.06.21 Project Management (Day 1) 1st years 09:30-16:30 TBC
17.06.21 Project Management (Day 2) 1st years 09:30-16:30 TBC
18.06.21 Beyond a PhD: Dr Al Lambourne, Materials Research Engineer at Rolls Royce All PGRs 12:30-13:30 TBC

 

Training and other events: January 2021 to March 2021

Please find below a table of all upcoming XM² training and other events from January 2021 to March 2021, as far as planning currently allows and subject to change.

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 an Outlook 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 (metamaterials@exeter.ac.uk) 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.

January
04.01.21 CDT Group Meetings All PGRs 16:30-17:30 via Teams
12.01.21 Write About Science (Part 1) 1st years 09:00-13:00 via Zoom
13.01.21 Write About Science (Part 2) 1st years 09:00-13:00 via Zoom
22.01.21 ALL: Metamaterials Colloquium, Prof. Roland A. Fischer. Technical University of Munich, ‘Integration of Metal-Organic Frameworks to Devices: (SUR)MOF-Derived Electrocatalysts for Water-Splitting and Fuel Cell Applications’ All PGRs 12:30-13:30 via Zoom
27.01.21 Wave Theory 1st years 09:30-10:30 via Zoom
28.01.21 OPTIONAL: SPARK (Entrepreneurial Skills Course) 4th years, 3rd years, 5th years 09:30-10:30 via Zoom
February
01.02.21 CDT Groups All PGRs 16:30-17:30 via Teams
03.02.21 Wave Theory 1st years 09:30-10:30 via Zoom
10.02.21 Wave Theory 1st years 09:30-10:30 via Zoom
12.02.21 Metamaterials Colloquium: Prof Marc Holderied, University of Bristol, ‘Acoustic metamaterials give moths stealth camouflage against bat biosonar’ All PGRs 12:30-13:30 via Zoom
16.02.21 Month 6 Assessment Briefing 1st years 10:00-11:00 via Microsoft Teams
17.02.21 and 18.02.21 Leadership Training 3rd years 09:30-16:30 (on both days) via Zoom
19.02.21 Beyond a PhD: Dr Jade Phillips, Research and Development Ingredient Specialist at Jacobs Douwe Egberts All PGRs 12:30-13:30 via Zoom
24.02.21 Wave Theory 1st years 09:30-10:30 via Zoom
March
03.03.21 Wave Theory 1st years 09:30-10:30 via Zoom
10.03.21 Wave Theory 1st years 09:30-10:30 via Zoom
17.03.21 Wave Theory 1st years 09:30-10:30 via Zoom
17.03.21 Presentation Skills 1st years 14:00-15:00 via Teams (sign-up required)
24.03.21 Wave Theory 1st years 09:30-10:30 via Zoom
25.03.21 Interview Skills 4th years 09:00-17:00 via Zoom
31.03.21 Wave Theory 1st years 09:30-10:30 via Zoom

After six months, (e.g. after the Month 6 project is complete), first year PGRs can undertake teaching and demonstrating, provided that they complete LTHE online training first. The course is self-paced so you can take it whenever you like but please note it is mandatory and you will not be able to undertake teaching and demonstrating until you have completed it.

 

 

Training and other events: September 2020 to December 2020

Please find below a table of all upcoming XM² training and other events from September 2020 to December 2020. Please note due to the current lockdown situation, dates and location are subject to change. All Beyond a PhD and Colloquia will take place online.

Induction is scheduled to take place in week beginning 21st September and will take place online. Students will be sent the full schedule once it has been set.

December

September
21.09.20-25.09.20 Induction Week 1st years All day via Zoom
28.09.20 Induction: Meet Your Pastoral Tutor 1st years 09:00-10:00 via Zoom
29.09.20 CDT Group Meetings (Chair Handover) 2nd years 13:30-14:30 via Zoom
30.09.20 Introduction to COMSOL 1st years 09:00-12:00 via Zoom
30.09.20 Induction: Meet The Technical Team 1st years 14:00-15:00 via Zoom
October
01.10.20 Introduction to Statistics 1st years 16:30-17:30 via Microsoft Teams
02.10.20 Metamaterials Colloquium- Minerva Prize Colloquium: Louisa Brotherson, University of Liverpool, ‘Absolute acoustic sensor calibration for quantifying lab-generated earthquake sources’ All PGRs 12:30-13:30 via Zoom
06.10.20 Introduction to Outreach with Exeter Science Centre All 11:00-11:30 via Zoom
08.10.20;15.10.20;22.10.20;29.10.20 Statistics All 1st years via Microsoft Teams
23.10.20 Beyond a PhD: Dr. Laura Stoica, Piezoelectric Materials Research Manager at Thales All PGRs 12:30-13:30 via Zoom
November
05.11.20 and 12.11.20 Statistics 1st years 16:30-17:30 via Microsoft Teams
13.11.20 Metamaterials Colloquia: Prof. Mario G. Silveirinha (University of Lisbon), “Nonreciprocal and Topological Electromagnetics” All PGRs 12:30-13:30 via Zoom
19.11.20 CBC: Mandatory Session 1st years 09:30-11:00 or 11:30-1pm (sign up via Doodle poll) via Microsoft Teams
04.12.20 Metamaterials Colloquia: Prof. Isabelle Staude (University of Jena),(title TBC) All PGRs 12:30-13:30 via Zoom

XM2 Minerva Prize Colloquium Winner Announcement

We are delighted to announce that the winner of this year’s inaugural Minerva Prize Colloquium is Louisa Brotherson, a PhD student at University of Liverpool. She will be giving a talk on “Absolute acoustic sensor calibration for quantifying lab-generated earthquake sources”, delivered via Zoom on Friday 2nd October 2020. Congratulations Louisa!

Louisa Brotherson, Minerva Prize Winner 2020

The Minerva Prize is a new initiative, created and organised by a committee of CDT PGRs. Two committee members- second year PGR Connor Sait and third year PGR Emily Glover– discuss the ethos of the prize and the experience of implementing their idea into practice.

Connor:

The time spent organising the first XM2 Minerva Prize has been very valuable to me. I would like to thank the XM2 management board for giving the Minerva Prize team of postgraduate students the freedom and support to organise the prize in a way that represents us.

We are delighted with our choice of prize winner Louisa Brotherson, whose application for the talk was incredibly strong. I am very excited for the chance to chat with Louisa and we are confident that her talk on the use of acoustic sensors for earthquake quantification will be a hit with the XM2 CDT!

Connor Sait

Being a part of the Minerva Prize organising committee has highlighted to me the important aspects of being part of an effective team. We have worked hard to build this event and shown great teamwork in the process. Our third year member Emily Glover in particular has worked very hard to bring things together and brought a positive and optimistic attitude to the group dynamic.

The Minerva Prize was suggested for the benefit of PhD researchers – whose opportunities to discuss their work are limited in comparison with later stage researchers – and particularly for our own postgraduate students at the Exeter metamaterials group to meet and hear about the work of a researcher at the same stage of academic development.

I would strongly encourage other XM2 postgraduates to bring their ideas for events and opportunities for the CDT to the management team. In this case, I brought the idea for a talk given by a PhD student to our programme manager Anja Roeding, who gave it serious consideration and took quick and effective action to put the foundations for the prize in place and get things off the ground. Our CDT administrator Kelyn Luther has also been a great help to us from the very beginning in organising this event. Thank you Anja and Kelyn!

I would like to thank everybody else who has given their support to the prize. I hope you all enjoy Louisa’s talk in October, and that the 2020 XM2 Minerva Prize Talk will be the first of many talks by PhD researchers, for PhD researchers here at Exeter XM2.

Emily Glover

Emily:

Being a part of the Minerva Prize Organising Committee has been a great experience for me. I have enjoyed some of the more creative opportunities that it has afforded me, including building a website that we used to advertise our prize. It also taught me how much work goes in behind the scenes, and how stressful waiting for people to apply can be! Receiving our first abstract was so exciting, and I can’t wait to hear the talk from our winner.

Summer Student Projects 2020

This summer, two of our PGRs- second year Conor Price and third year Iago Rodriguez Diez– were awarded summer student bursaries, covering a small stipend and project fees to allow them to host an undergraduate student for 10 weeks to complete a summer research project.

In a competitive process, the PGRs had to put forward project proposals, which were then reviewed by members of our Management Board and awards were granted. Once the call out had been made to undergraduates, the PGRs reviewed applications and decided who to call to interview before selecting the successful applicant.

These are the successful PGRs and undergraduate students, reflecting on their projects and what they learnt from the experience:

Is The Future 2D?: Investigating Next Generation Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting Using First Principles Methods

This project was designed by third year PGR Shane Davies. Conor Price supervised the project, working with undergraduate student Matt Evans, who has just finished his third year in BSc Physics.

The aim of this project was to investigate the suitability of various two-dimensional (2D) structures as next generation thermoelectrics from analysing their phononic band structures and lattice thermal conductivities.

Matt Evans discusses what he gained from this project:

Matt Evans

The project gave me an invaluable insight into what it would be like working as a full-time scientist part of an active research group. Various challenges were presented and as the project developed, these often became more complex. This required me to think outside-the-box and I developed new, independent researching skills that enabled me to probe these problems; in addition, I was encouraged to discuss the more challenging obstacles with the other members within the PhD group.

I also had the opportunity to explore various research papers and present summaries of these to the others within the group for further discussion gaining a fuller understanding of the underlying physics behind the project. And, I had the chance to use a Linux operating system with the BASH command language – which I was unfamiliar with before I started the project – to perform scientific computations.

These newly acquired research and programming skills that I gained from the project will be most useful when pursuing a scientific career, in the future.

Conor reflects on the challenges of leading a project:

Conor Price

Running the summer project was a completely different experience to anything I’ve done before: instead of being able to go to a supervisor or a textbook for guidance when encountering a problem in academic research, I was the one that was meant to have the solution. I had to be able to provide a concise but thorough description or explanation, quickly to ensure the project didn’t get held up, to someone that didn’t necessarily think about things the same way as me. We found that regular communication was key as it allowed us to iron out any problems as quickly as we could. I was very pleased with the work we were able to do in such a short space of time, especially considering the sharp learning curve at the start!

This experience will undoubtedly be useful in the future for any leadership and/or teaching role I may have in the future.

Photonic Crystals

This project was supervised by Iago Rodriguez Diez, working with undergraduate student Harrison Nicholls, who has just finished his second year studying MPhys Physics.

The aim of the project was to optimise the outcoupling efficiency η and quality factor Q of a H1 photonic crystal nanocavity by modifying the parameters of the nearest-neighbour holes around the defect. This was done using proprietary FDTD simulation software, which efficiently solves Maxwell’s equations.

Harrison Nicholls

Harrison reflects on what he has learnt during the process:

I have learned to work efficiently with people to outline a goal and work towards it, identifying steps that need to be taken along the way. Writing scripts in an unfamiliar programming language to set up the simulations as appropriate and subsequently analysing them gave me opportunities to work unguided. The remote nature of my work meant that I had to consciously organise my time and correspondence.

My final result fulfils what I set out to do, which is very satisfying for me, and useful to the project.

 

Iago discusses the science behind the project and the personal skills he has gained:

Photonic microcavities based on 2D Photonic crystal defects have proved to be excellent structures for

Iago Rodrigues Diez

applications such as microlasers, biosensing and quantum electrodynamics. However, the light coupling efficiency towards the out-of-plane direction remains very low, thus limiting the range of applications. The goal of this project was to design a photonic crystal defect-cavity that emits light into the direction perpendicular to the crystal. The system was optimized so that the cavity kept a high quality factor and low mode volume while achieving a high outcoupling efficiency into a low numerical aperture lens. The project involved theoretical understanding of photonic crystal cavities and how to solve numerically Maxwell’s equations with a Finite Difference Time Domain solver.

This was definitely a valuable experience of how to manage a short term research project from start to end. It allowed to me develop very useful and varied skills like how to write a project proposal, participate in an interview and a selection process, make a plan for the initial direction of the project, achieve the goals within the limited time and mentor a student during their first steps in the world of research. I absolutely recommend to other PGRs and undergrads to be involved in future CDT summer student project opportunities.

Congratulations to all students involved for rising to the challenges of collaborating on remote project work.

Below are some diagrams relating to Harrison and Iago’s findings:

3D perspective view of the cavity. The blue region is the crystal with cylindrical holes etched into it. The yellow squares indicate different monitors for recording data.
Fourier transform of the electric field profile from real space to k-space. These were useful for determining how the cavity emitted radiation.
Electric field profile of dipole mode around the defect in the crystal. The circles indicate holes through the material that makes up the crystal.

 

Training and other events: May 2020 to July 2020

Please find below a table of all upcoming XM² training and other events from May 2020 to July 2020. Please note due to the current lockdown situation, dates and location are subject to change.

May
11.05.20 CDT Group Meetings All PGRs 16:30-17:30 via Microsoft Teams
27.05.20 Poster Training 1st years 15:00-16:00 via Microsoft Teams
29.05.20 Mock Month 6 Presentations 1st years 09:45-12:30 via Zoom
June
02.06.20 Plasmonics (Day 1) 1st years 10:00-15:00 TBC
08.06.20 CDT Group Meetings All PGRs 16:30-17:30 TBC
09.06.20 Plasmonics (Day 2) 1st years 10:00-15:00 via Teams
19.06.20 Month 6 Presentations 1st years 09:45-12:30 via Zoom
23.06.20 and 24.06.20 Creative Futures (Advanced Creativity Training) 3rd years 10:00-11:30 (both days) via Teams
July
07.07.20 Open Access/Symplectic Training 1st years, optional for 2nd and 3rd years 10:00-11:00 via Teams
13.07.20 CDT Group Meetings All PGRs 16:30-17:30 TBC
16.07.20 Titles and Abstract (Optional) 2nd years 16:30-17:30 TBC
24.07.20 Beyond a PhD: Dr. Celia Butler, Senior Applications Engineer at Synopsys All PGRs 12:30-13:30 via Teams

Beyond a PhD: Dr Ben Masheder speaks about his journey from a UK PhD in Chemistry to postdoc in Japan, SME scientist in Wales, and Innovation Specialist at Business West in Bristol.

On Friday, 29 December 2019, Dr Ben Masheder gave a hugely inspiring talk to the CDT in Metamaterials PhD students on his career progression since he left University with a PhD in Chemistry. He highlighted how not knowing what’s next and just being a nice person by sharing a picture with a research visitor from Japan can lead to an opportunity being dropped on your door step when you most need it.

His experience as a postdoc in Japan was followed by a time of looking for a new opportunity to pay the bills once he moved back to the UK. He outlined how making yourself useful, applying your research skills and adaptability in other areas can lead to quite some CV building and satisfying progress to materials scientists and innovation specialist.

The time Ben has spent working at Sellafield, the National Nuclear Lab, AIST in Japan, and DST Innovations from 2014-2019 brough tabout a huge range of expertise way beyond his PhD topic: from working on controlling formation of solids in legacy nuclear waste tanks, to robust omniphobic dewettable surfaces for metal part protection in machines and engine, and on to photovoltaics, printed batteries/supercapacitors, energy harvesting, wearable electronics, IoT devices, augmented reality, lighting, displays, laser label marking, and flexible electronics.

He enabled his former employer to better understand and apply for funding schemes, and utilised this knowledge sucessfully when it became time to prioritise family time over commuting time: Ben recently started a postion as Innovation Specialist at Business West in Bristol, a not-for-profit company which offers business support to start-up and growing businesses in the West of England.

Ben spoke in a very engaging and approachable way about the bends his career took, and the reasons for his decisions.

We would like to say thanks to Ben for being such a great role model to PhD students who will face the same “What next?” challenge soon enough, and proving that no matter what you do, if you’re open-minded, if you apply yourself and utilise the knoweldge and experience you’ve got, you will find your way, step by step.

Good luck in your new role, Ben. We look forward to engaging further with Business West!

Training and other events: December 2019 to March 2020

Please find below a table of all upcoming XM² training and other events from December 2019 until March 2020 as far as planning currently allows and subject to change.

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 (metamaterials@exeter.ac.uk) 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.

December
05.12.19 Wave Theory course 1st years 13:30-14:30 XFI Seminar Room C
09.12.19 CDT Group Meetings All PGRs 16:30-17:30 Forum Seminar Room 9 (Group 1), IAIS Seminar Room 2 (Group 2), Peter Chalk 1.2 (Group 3), Peter Chalk 2.1 (Group 4)
13.12.19 CDT Colloquium: Dr. Bodo Wilts, University of Fribourg, title TBC All PGRs 12:30-13:30 Newman Red
13.12.19 Winter Graduation Celebration All PGRs 16:00-17:30 Physics SCR
January
08.01.20 LTHE Stage 1 Training 1st years 09:30-16:00 TBC
13.01.20 CDT Group Meetings All PGRs 16:30-17:30 Peter Chalk 1.2 (Group 1), Peter Chalk 1.3 (Group 2), Peter Chalk 1.4 (Group 3), Peter Chalk 2.6 (Group 4)
17.01.20 Beyond a PhD: Prof. John Bessant, University of Exeter All PGRs 12:30-13:30 Newman Red
21.01.20 Fabrication and Characterisation of Functional Materials (lecture) 1st years 10:00-12:30 Harrison 170
23.01.20 Fabrication and Characterisation of Functional Materials (workshop) 1st years 10:00-12:30 Harrison Imaging Suite, Room 021
23.01.20 Fabrication and Characterisation of Functional Materials (workshop) 1st years 14:00-17:00 Harrison Imaging Suite, Room 021
February
10.02.20 CDT Group Meetings All PGRs 16:30-17:30 Peter Chalk 2.4 (Group 1), Peter Chalk 2.5 (Group 2),Peter Chalk 2.6 (Group 3), Forum Seminar Room 1 (Group 4)
11.02.20 Sensing and Security- Introduction to Antennas and RF devices 1st years and 2nd years 09:00-17:00 LSI Seminar Room B
18.02.20 Industry Trip: Sensing and Security visit to Quinetiq 1st years and 2nd years 08.30-16:30 Qinetiq site (Farnborough)
21.02.20 CDT Colloquium, Dr. Nicolas Jaouen, Soleil Synchrotron (title TBC) All PGRs 12:30-13:30 Newman Red
27.02.20 Write About Science 1st years 09:00-17:00 LSI Seminar Room A
28.02.20 Beyond a PhD: Dr. Elena Ginina, Centre for Virtual Reality and Visualisation (VRVis), Vienna All PGRs 12:30-13:30 Newman Red
March
06.03.20 CDT Colloquium: Prof. Ortwin Hess, Imperial College London, (Title TBC) All PGRs 12:30-13:30 Newman Red
09.03.20 CDT Group Meetings All PGRs 16:30-17:30 Peter Chalk 2.1 (Group 1), Peter Chalk 1.4 (Group 2), Peter Chalk 2.4 (Group 3), Peter Chalk 2.5 (Group 4)
09.03.20 Leadership Training (Day 1) 2nd years 09:30-16:30 LSI Seminar Room B
10.03.20 Leadership Training (Day 2) 2nd years 09:30-16:30 LSI Seminar Room B
12.03.20 Careers Event (optional) 1st years 10:00-12:00 ld Library Rooms 4 and 5

Summer Student Projects 2019

This summer, three of our then-third year PGRs (Pablo Martinez Pancorbo, Ned Taylor and Elizabeth Martin) were awarded summer student bursaries, covering a small stipend and project fees to allow them to host an undergraduate student for 10 weeks to complete a summer research project.

In a competitive process, the PGRs had to put forward project proposals, which were then reviewed by members of our Management Board and awards were granted. Once the call out had been made to undergraduates, the PGRs reviewed applications and decided who to call to interview before selecting the successful applicant.

 

These are the successful PGRs and undergraduate students, and their projects:

Novel magnetoplasmonic core-shell nanoparticles for cancer theranostics via surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy and magnetic/photothermal hyperthermia

This project was supervised by PGR Pablo Martinez Pancorbo, working with undergraduate student Sam Treves, who graduated this summer from MPhys Physics with Astrophysics .

The project was interdisciplinary research focused on the fabrication of novel core-shell composite nanoparticles for both early-stage cancer cells imaging and treatment. It involved the nanoparticles synthesis and several materials characterizations techniques such as XRD, DLS, TEM, SEM, UV-vis spectrophotometry, Raman spectrometry, and vibrating-sample magnetometer. The project involved collaboration with with the Living Systems Institute (LSI) and Applied Magnetism Institute (IMA), Spain.

Pablo reports that all expected outcomes were achieved and as well as the scientific findings, he found transferrable skills:

I am taking several ideas out of this experience for future positions in which I manage others. The collaboration was very fluent, and we communicated effectively in a daily basis. I really enjoyed being part of this opportunity and think I will be a better manager and mentor in future roles.

Sam plans to apply for PhD positions after graduating and also grew his professional development:

My supervisor encouraged me to work independently from early on in the project. This presented problems initially as things took more time to complete and there were more obstacles that I did not know how to solve. These issues were resolved after speaking to PhD students and looking at published papers. As a result I am now able to work independently without supervision and my resourcefulness when problem solving has been enhanced.

Investigation of Coupled Elasto-Magnetic Pumps for Wireless Fluid Movement

This project was supervised by PGR Elizabeth Martin, working with final year MPhys student Tom Moynihan.

Lab-on-a-chip technology holds the key to fast, low power, portable diagnostic devices. This performs laboratory functions on one chip. In order to achieve this, there is a need for microscopic devices that can transfer fluid at this scale, which is a challenge due to viscouslike regime. This project aims to tackle this problem by employing novel elasto-magnetic devices, to manipulate liquids at microscopic dimensions. These devices will be implemented and tested which would aid in optimising the design and fabrication process. This could lead onto improvements in lab-on-a-chip technology in the future.

Elizabeth explained how the experience taught her skills outside of her usual day-to-day work:

The main skills that I have developed further through this experience (which are not so prominent in traditional day-to-day PhD work) are: motivating others to continue their research even when the preliminary results aren’t what you expect; forward-planning for people other than myself; and guiding someone in their research.

Her favourite part of the experience was seeing how her summer student enjoyed the research and she would recommend anyone who has the opportunity to give it a go.

Tom experienced the leap in difficulty from undergraduate experiments to postgraduate research:

Working on a research project without a given exact script to work from has given me the skills to work independently toward a goal with no fixed path. Working full time has allowed be to learn the skills required to manage my time efficiently, plan each day according to what I think I can do and adjust accordingly. I have also learnt how to deal with speed bumps in the research. I found when working on something that people haven’t done before (as opposed to early years undergraduate experiments where there’s a given script) there are far more difficulties to overcome in the completion of the task at hand, and overcoming these difficulties has been a large part of my learning.

From Chaos to Order: Predicting the True Interface Using First-Principles Methods 

This project was supervised by PGR Ned Taylor, working with final year MPhys student Isiah Rudkin-Crawford.

Ned’s project employed computational and theoretical methods to tackle the problems presented by interfaces by predicting the true interface between any two given materials. To make the ideal solar cell, several interfaces are needed; as such, we need to understand their attributes. These interfaces can remove, change or even create the desired properties of a device. By gaining insights into the interface, we can better understand the device.

Ned learnt many transferrable skills from his project:

I found the interview panel to be one of the most useful experiences of this programme. I had to select an interview panel and create a set of questions to gauge each candidate’s potential. This was very interesting, as the purpose of each question needed to be made clear to the panel members. Going through the Uni’s interview process was helpful in understanding the requirements of interviews and the rules under which they are conducted. For the students who were unsuccessful in this stage, I tried gave individualised, constructive feedback to each in order to help them for their next time applying for a role.

The third stage allowed me to develop and improve my skills of project management. I tried to keep close to the initially outlined plan of the project, whilst still allowing room for deviation if work merited it and if the student had some ideas they wanted to test. This project has given me the opportunity to guide a student in the development of new skills and give them goals to work towards.

Isiah felt the project had improved his scientific skills:

The project has required me to be imaginative when trying to find ways to manipulate physical systems and implement mathematical models in computational form.
Undertaking this project has significantly enhanced my programming ability. I am now competent with Fortran, a programming language that I hadn’t used before the project started and have learnt a lot of transferable coding skills that aren’t specific to the language. I have also gained significant experience working with other people’s code in a group project, which is an important and difficult skill for my future working with others on large programming projects.
The opportunity to use the University supercomputer is also a valuable experience, as it has given me insight and experience into how these devices are run, used, and managed in a professional environment.

The call out for Summer 2020 project proposals is coming soon so watch this space!

 

Training and other events: June 2019-July 2019

Please find below a table of all upcoming XM² training and other events from June 2019 until July 2019 as far as planning currently allows and subject to change. Please note that some locations and events have been updated and added since the previous month’s table.

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.

June
14.06.19 CDT Colloquium: Joaquin Rossier All PGRs 12:30-13:30 Streatham Court D
25.06.19 NPL Visit 4th years 12:30-13:30 Streatham Court D
28.06.19 Beyond a Phd: Irina Khromova and Sathya Sreetharaman All PGRs 12:30-13:30 Queens LT1
July
15.07.19 Summer Graduation Celebration Event All CDT and graduates 11:30-13:30 Northcott Theatre bar
19.07.19 Dyson Industry Visit 3rd years 08:30-17:00 Dyson