Zahid Hussain passes his viva!

Zahid Hussain

Congratulations to PGR Zahid Hussain, who has passed his viva. His thesis was titled ‘Metal-organic Framework (MOFs) Derived Nanocomposites: Synthesis and Applications in Photocatalysis’. During his time with the CDT, Zahid published 11 papers, plus an English-to-Urdu translation of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli. Zahid now works as a postdoctoral researcher at Technical University of Munich (TUM).

Zahid reflects on his experience of undertaking a PhD as part of the CDT:

I believe that life is a journey from nowhere to nowhere. The pleasure of living is in the process itself, and destinations only milestones leading us to the next journey. On this path, we meet all kinds of people. While some settle down on the way, others continue to live nomadic academic lives. As a foreign student, I identify myself with migratory birds, who leave behind many relationships, friendships, cultural and sensory experiences of material and non-material things, seeking better learning and living conditions. In the quest for knowledge and professional opportunities, the continuous struggle to assimilate into a new environment provides us with great learning opportunities, which broaden our mental horizons and deepen the understanding of life indeed.

The last 4 years of my life at the University of Exeter have been full of happenings, professionally and personally. I met some wonderful people, on-campus and off-campus. Many interactions turned into enduring friendships. First of all, I got a great sense of freedom in working with my PhD supervisors Dr Yongde Xia and Prof Yanqiu Zhu, which helped me to grow as an independent researcher. Also, my supportive colleagues and friendly environment of Functional Materials Laboratory (Lab 08) made the overall PhD experience very joyful and productive.

The doctoral training program (CDT) gave me the confidence to think independently and make my own research decisions. During this time, I developed some fruitful collaborations, especially with Dr Asif Tahir (Penryn campus), Prof. Roland Fischer (TU Munich), Prof. Freek Kapteijn (TU Delft, NL) and Prof. Ovidiu Ersen (University of Strasbourg, France). The work I did in these collaborations, greatly contributed to shaping my PhD project.

Along with the PhD, the last 4 years have been the most important time of my life. I married my partner Anna-Maria and became a parent of our lovely daughter Selma as if a sailboat navigating without a compass saw the shore and anchored. Countless moments of joy, peace and contentment, as well as many sleepless nights of childcare, frustrating days, lockdown months of Covid-19 and moving back and forth from Exeter to Munich, all made this time substantial.

We wish Zahid the best of luck with his future.

Zahid has co-authored the following publications:





Selected outreach activities

Zahid has translated a book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli from English to Urdu. It has recently published by the Mashal Books, LahorePakistan.

Zahid has presented at the following conferences:

  • M. Z. Hussain, Y. Xia; Presentation: Bi-MOF derived nanocomposites_applications in photocatalysis, GWPore: Conference on Porous Materials for Energy, Environment and Healthcare Applications, U.K. February 2021. (2nd best presentation award) 
  • M. Z. Hussain, R. A. Fischer, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Poster: Making heterostructures with water: Role of temperature and water steam in MOF derived TiO2/CuOx/Cu/C nanocomposites, Euromof-20193rd International Conference on MOFs and Porous Polymers, Paris, France. October 2019.
  • M. Z. Hussain, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Presentation: MOF derived photocatalysts for high efficient solar-light-driven H2 evolution. MCEC 2019, Conference on Materials for Clean Energy, NPL, London, U.K.  April 2019.
  • M. Z. Hussain, R. A. Fischer, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Presentation: MOF derived bimetal oxide/carbon composites: Synthesis and photocatalytic applications, 6th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials, Sitges, Spain, March 2019.
  • M. Z. Hussain, R. A. Fischer, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Poster: MOF derived TiO2/C nanocomposites for photocatalysis, ICS Winter School on Catalysis, Innovative Catalysis and Sustainability Scientific and Socio-Economic Aspects, Turin, Italy. January 2019.
  • M. Z. Hussain, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Poster: MOF derivatives for visible-light-driven photocatalytic applications, 41st Annual Meeting of the British Zeolite Association (BZA), Cumbria, Ambleside, U.K. July 2018.
  • M. Z. Hussain, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Poster: Black porous ZnO@C nanocomposites derived from MOF-5 for highly efficient photocatalytic application, RAMS-Recent Appointees in Materials Science, University of Exeter, U.K. September 2017.
  • M. Z. Hussain, Y. Zhu, Y. Xia; Poster: MOF-5 derived ZnO/C nanocomposites for adsorption and photodegradation of organic pollutants, NIM Conference on Nanostructured Functional Materials for Sustainable Energy Provision, Munich, Germany. July 2017.

Ned Taylor passes his viva!

Ned Taylor

Congratulations to CDT student Ned Taylor, who has just finished his PhD. His thesis was titled ‘Ab Initio Exploration of Interface Structures and Their Properties’.

Ned published five papers during his time as part of the CDT and presented at national and international conferences. He was also involved with the Metabuddies scheme- an outreach scheme led by our PGRs, who visit local schools to engage their students in physics and engineering.

Ned looks back on the experience of undertaking his PhD:

It is finally over. I have written my thesis, had my viva, completed my corrections and have been awarded my doctorate. Yesterday I had a final trek up to the Uni as a PhD student to pick up a copy of my thesis that I had printed for prosperity. It is weird to think that it is all over now; below are some of thoughts on my time as a postgraduate researcher.

A PhD is a unique experience for everyone. For me, it was a wonderful time and, although sometimes stressful, it was always worth it. I have relished in the opportunity to conduct research and the freedom to choose my path of study. I have learnt more about the materials that surround us than I had ever expected. The work was demanding, but that was never an issue as the topics were always fascinating. It was amazing going to conferences and have people attend talks to listen to the research that I conducted. Writing scientific papers was often rather tedious, but the outcome was definitely worth it and really helped in the process of writing my thesis.

I have learnt a lot throughout my PhD. In addition to the science, the courses offered by the CDT were, overall, very rewarding and useful. I learnt how to present, how to understand and communicate with others in a team, how to manage projects, how to put myself forward and highlight my skills. I feel that these skills will be vital for progressing beyond the PhD.

The community of PhD students in the CDT offered the chance to forge good friendships. Going on this journey with other PhD students helped me to relax and enjoy the experience. I am also extremely grateful for the support and guidance that my supervisors, Steve Hepplestone and Eros Mariani, have given me throughout the past four years.

As became a theme in the Hepplestone research group near the end of my PhD (before multiple lockdowns, that is), I shall summarise this chapter of my life with a haiku:

DFT was fun
Lots of time spent fighting tech
PhD is done

With my PhD complete, I am now transitioning over into the field of computer science. I have just started a postdoctoral research fellow position at University of Exeter, looking at ways of automating transport models for use in reducing the carbon impact of traffic systems.

We wish Ned all the best with his new role.

Below is a list of Ned’s publications, and conferences he has presented at:

Ned has co-authored the following publications:




Ned has presented at the following conferences:


Month 6 Presentation Prize Winners Announcement

This year, we have a joint win for our Month 6 Presentation Prize: congratulations to first year PGRs Joe Pitfield (also the winner of the Month 13 Presentation Prize)and Leanne Stanfield. They will be collecting their mystery prize soon…

The Month 6 presentations are given each May by first year PGRs, at the end of the six month mini project the students undertake before beginning their PhD project work. Feedback scores are given by their peers and by academic chairs (this year Dr Anna Katharina Ott and Dr Eric Hébrard took on these roles). Leanne’s presentation was titled ‘Graded negative index surface wave lens’ and Joe’s was titled ‘Structural stability of TMDC Heterostructures in the Presence of Water ’.  Please find their projects aims and methodology below.

Graded negative index surface wave lens

Leanne Stanfield


Model, fabricate and characterise a graded negative index surface wave lens. One study has
already produced a free-space negative index gradient lens [1]. The aim here is to do this with surface


1. Develop Comsol modelling of microwave metasurfaces made of simple meta-atoms to give easy control of the surface wave index. Then vary the size of the individual elements to design a simple surface wave GRIN lens. This is a very demanding task using Comsol as the GRIN lens will need
modelling in its entirety. Once this task is complete the lens will be fabricated using wax-ink printing
and etching before being fully characterised using the XY microwave scanner.
2. Repeat the above with a more elaborate meta-atom, following on from the work of Tremain
et al [2], to give almost almost isotropic negative dispersion. Once again then vary the size of the
individual elements so that they allow for spatial control of the effective surface mode index. Then
combine such elements in a 2D metasurface structure to form a negative index GRIN lens. As for the
conventional lens this is a very demanding task using Comsol as again the GRIN lens will need
modelling in its entirety. The complete lens will then be fabricated using wax-ink printing and etching
before being fully characterised using the XY microwave scanner.


[1] Driscoll T, Basov DN, Starr AF, Rye PM, Nemat-Nasser S, Schurig D and Smith DR (2006) Applied
Physics Letters 88, 081101 ‘Free-space microwave focusing by negative-index gradient lens.’
[2] Tremain B’ Hooper I R, Sambles JR and Hibbins AP (2018) Scientific Reports 8, 7098 ‘Isotropic
Backward Waves Supported by a Spiral Array Metasurface.’

Structural stability of TMDC Heterostructures in the Presence of

Joe Pitfield


To explore the random structures and reorganisation of TMDC metamaterials in the presence of
water, with addition consideration of substrate effects.


First principles calculations combined with analytic Gibb’s Free energy arguments. In
addition, random structure prediction will be developed as a tool. This tool will require a sound
understanding of both physical and chemical environments and allow the prediction of new phases of
structures. It will need to be benchmarked against known phases.


[1] F. Davies et al. TMDC Heterostructure band structure theory (submitted – preprint available)
[2] G. Schusteritsch et al. First-principles structure determination of interface materials: The NixInAs
nickelides, Phys. Rev. B, 2015.
[3] Heifets et al, BaZrO3, Phys. Rev. B, 75, 155431 (2007)

Elizabeth Martin wins Best Poster Award at 65th Annual Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (MMM 2020)

Elizabeth with the Best Poster Award Certificate

Congratulations to final year PGR Elizabeth Martin, who won the Best Poster Award at the 65th Annual Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (MMM 2020) (2nd-6th November 2020). This is an international conference that includes all aspects of fundamental and applied magnetism, which for the first time was held virtually. The conference had over 16000 attendees- including third year CDT PGRs Connor Sait, David Newman, Katie Lewis, Konstantinos Chatzimpaloglou and Oliver Latcham– with ~ 700 different talks and ~370 different posters as well as several different symposia, workshops, and tutorials.

One of our final year students, Elizabeth Martin, presented her research in one of the poster sessions and won a best poster award. Her poster was titled “Investigation of a Coupled Elasto-Magnetic Discs for Low Reynolds Number Pumps”. The presentation was in the format of a 90-second pitch with the poster, which could be viewed at any time throughout the conference on the conference platform, as well as an additional live Q&A session on Zoom.

The virtual format of the conference was a new experience for most of our researchers, they all enjoyed the conference and learnt a lot from the different presentations. However, they do feel that they missed the in-person experience and the chance to meet different researchers from all around the world. On the other hand, think that they have learnt some valuable skills with regards to presenting their work in an online format compared to in-person. The good news for in-person conferences is that according to our researchers their future is safe, they are just having a needed break for now.

Elizabeth says:

The virtual conference was obviously very different to that of the in-person conference, I enjoyed the experience and obviously I’m thrilled to be awarded a best poster award. I did miss the in-person experience and the chance to meet/catch-up with different researchers from all around the world, talking/messaging online is not the same, but this is the way things are at the moment. One of the benefits was that the presentations were in an “on-demand” format, meaning we were able to watch any presentation at any time we wanted because they were pre-recorded (another benefit was that this year none of us experienced jetlag).

The presentations from the conference are available to view on the conference online platform (for registered conference attendees only), until 30th November 2020. Other presenters from University of Exeter included Prof Feodor Ogrin, Elizabeth’s supervisor, and Dr Maciej Dabrowski, David Newman’s supervisor.


Elizabeth in avatar form at the conference’s social networking session

Ioannis Leontis gives oral presentation at Graphene 2020

Last month, fourth year PGR Ioannis Leontis gave an oral presentation virtually at Graphene 2020.  The event ran online from 19th-23rd October, including presentations, poster sessions and an industrial forum.

Ioannis says of the experience:

Last month, I contributed an oral presentation at the virtual conference Graphene 2020. The conference was really interesting as its programme presents very big names in the field including Nobel Laureates, such as Andre Geim, one of the fathers of graphene, and F. Duncan M. Haldane, one of the founders of the theory about topological phase transitions and the topological phases of matter. My presentation was on “Room temperature ballistic graphene p-n junctions defined by Zn metal doping”. In my talk I presented a new method for the fabrication of ultra-sharp ballistic graphene p-n junction using metal doping of graphene and a new simple characterization method of the metal induced graphene p-n junctions. My research work in this field may give a new push in the fabrication of room temperature graphene electron optic devices. In overall, my participation in such a high-level conference help me a lot in the deeper scientific understanding of my field and gave me the opportunity to make new connection as well.

Month 13 Presentation Prize Winners Announcement

This year, we have a joint win for our Month 13 Presentation Prize: congratulations to second year PGRs Joe Pitfield and Will Borrows. The prize was a £50 voucher.

The Month 13 presentations are given each October, where the PGRs give a presentation on their work to date and feedback scores are given by their peers. Joe’s presentation was titled ‘The search for new materials’ and Will’s was titled ‘Simulating heat flow in thermoacoustic devices’. Please find their abstracts below.

The search for new materials

Joe Pitfield


It is commonly understood that there is no universal a priori approach to predicting the nature of boundary regions between materials, nor one to enable theoretical design of novel materials within such regions. We present a developing method (RAFFLE; pseudo Random Approach For Finding (Local) Energy minima) learning from existing structural prediction methods [2][1], for the pseudo-random generation of atomic structures. Materials are characterised by decomposition of both bond angle and length, with these characterisations applied retroactively to generate new structures with profiles indicative of the isolated characteristic (in these cases, Energy of formation). This method is able to predict the existence of a series of structures of known one, two and three element systems, along with other geometries known [3] to exist for chemically similar structures (for the Transition metal dichalcogenides, both H and T phase structures predicted) and multiple stable phases identical stoichiometry structures (hexagonal and tetragonal and for Carbon) along with scopes over varying stoichiometries (HCP and FCC aluminium).

[1] Chris J. Pickard and R. J. Needs. ‘High-Pressure Phases of Silane’. Phys. Rev. Lett.97 (4 July 2006), p. 045504.
[2] Yanchao Wang et al. ‘Crystal structure prediction via particle-swarm optimization’. Phys. Rev. B82 (9 Sept. 2010), p. 094116.
[3] Anubhav Jain et al. ‘The Materials Project: A materials genome approach to accelerating materials innovation’. APL Materials1.1 (2013), p. 011002.

Simulating heat flow in thermoacoustic devices

Will Borrows


The thermoacoustic effect is a process by which sound is produced by the Joule heating of a thin film (a ‘thermophone’) with an alternating current [1]. While this effect has been known for more than a century [2], recent advances in the fabrication of nano-scale films have rejuvenated the field of thermoacoustics [3,4]. Despite this, thermophones have struggled to present themselves as an alternative to more conventional piezoacoustic speakers due to their low output efficiency.
Here we present an examination into the propagation of heat within and around a thermophone through both finite-element and finite-difference simulation of a device. We do this in order to gain a greater understanding behind the thermal processes which hinder thermophone efficiency. Of particular note is the effect of the Maxwell-Cattaneo correction to Fourier’s heat law [5], which accounts for the non-instantaneous nature of heat flow. By measuring the effect of this correction on the thermal fluctuations at the boundary between the thermophone and its surrounding medium, we are able to determine a trend for this correction. Going forward, we intend to more accurately calculate the expected sound output of a thermoacoustic device, as well as quantify the effects of this correction on the thermoacoustic efficiency.
[1] Ding, H. Nanoscale, 2019, v.11, p.5839-5860
[2] Preece, W. H. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 1880
[3] Shinoda, H. et al. Nature, 1999, v.400, p.853-855
[4] Xiao, L. et al. Nano Letters, 2008, v.8, no.12, p.4539-4545
[5] Cattaneo, C. Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Seances de l’Academie des Sciences, 1958, v.145, p.431-433

Month 25 Presentation Prize Winner Announcement

We are delighted to announce that third year PGR Benjamin Pearce has won the Month 25 Presentation Prize- a £50 Amazon voucher. The Month 25 presentations are given each October, where the PGRs give a presentation on their work to date and feedback scores are given by their peers. Ben’s presentation was titled ‘Mode Interference and Directional Acoustic Stop Bands in Solid-Fluid Superlattices’. Please find the abstract below.

‘Mode Interference and Directional Acoustic Stop Bands in Solid-Fluid Superlattices’

Whilst there is a large amount of work on one-dimensional phononic crystals (superlattices) consisting of alternating layers of solid materials, there is comparatively little investigation of the properties of the equivalent solid/fluid system. These systems are predicted to exhibit a directional transmission response not available to solid/solid systems. This response stems from an interference between the symmetric and anti-symmetric modes of a submerged plate. This effect can lead to pronounced, angularly dependent reductions in transmission, for even a single solid layer submerged in fluid [1,2]. Extending this system from a single plate to a multilayer structure offers an interesting avenue for phononic crystal design [3]. Existing work largely neglects to consider the interaction of this interference with the Bragg modes of a such a periodic structure. Here we present a numerical and theoretical consideration of the effects of this interaction and how the choice of crystal geometry offers routes for the creation of large bandwidth directional stop bands.

[1] M. Seiji, “Phononic Bandgaps Pecuiar to Solid-Fluid Superlattices,” Jpn. J. Appl. Phys, 2015.
[2] Z. Sai, X. Bai-qiang and C. Wenwu, “Controlling The Angle Range in Acoustics Low-Frequency
Forbidden Transmission In Solid-Fluid Superlattice,” J. Appl. Phys, 2018.
[3] S. Zhang, Z. Y, L. Wei, G. Hu, X. Bai-qiang and C. Wenwu, “Low Frequency Forbidden Bandgap
Engineering Via A Cascade of Multiple 1D Superlattices,” J. Appl. Phys, 2018.

David Osuna Ruiz submits his thesis!

Congratulations to David Osuna Ruiz, who has submitted the final version of his thesis, ‘Magnetisation dynamics and tuneable GHz properties of unsaturated magnetic nanostructures’ after corrections.

David looks back on his experience of studying for a PhD as part of the CDT:

Four years ago, I decided to move to the UK to pursue a big goal, professionally and personally speaking, that was to work towards the completion of a PhD in Physics. It just feels like yesterday, although four full years have passed by already since I arrived in Exeter. I am very thankful to myself for having taken such a decision back in January of 2016 and, of course, I am even more thankful to the University of Exeter, the CDT in Metamaterials and my supervisors Feodor Ogrin and Alastair Hibbins for giving me such an opportunity. During these years as a PhD student and researcher, I had so many exciting experiences in the UK, and in many other places worldwide, from Russia to the US. I met so many interesting and good people in the UK and from all over the world, some of them with whom I have been fortunate to have become friends.

After these 4 years, I can say for sure that this has been an unexpectedly enriching and life-changing period of my life. Aside of doing research, I went on industry placements, visited other colleague researchers, did outreach science, attended many courses and international conferences all over the world and many more things. However, what really makes the difference is the people you meet and those you feel by your side, especially during (the many) hard times while working on the thesis and when things seem to have no way out! In that sense, I feel so lucky of having met and worked with so many kind people during these years.
I very well know that I will hardly forget all the good moments I had during these last four years. I do believe that this whole experience has made me stronger and more prepared for future challenges so, to anyone still working on the thesis, two things: be resilient and most importantly, enjoy the journey! In the end, all of it is valuable and it is absolutely worth the effort.

David is staying on at University of Exeter, as a post-doc. We wish him all the best for his future.

David has co-authored the following publications:

In preparation

D. Osuna Ruiz, A. P. Hibbins and F. Y. Ogrin, “A reconfigurable spin wave emitter based on a teardrop shape”



David has presented at the following conferences:

  • D. Osuna Ruiz, A.P. Hibbins, F.Y. Ogrin, oral presentation:”Refractive Index Manipulation of Confined Spin Waves in Bloch Domain Walls”, Intermag Conference 2020, Montreal, Canada, May 2020 (accepted)
  • D. Osuna Ruiz, A. P. Hibbins, F.Y. Ogrin, poster presentation: “Magnetic actuated tuning of Winter’s magnons propagation in Bloch domain walls”, Magnonics 2019, Carovigno, Italy, July 2019
  • D. Osuna Ruiz, E. Burgos Parra, N. Bukin, A. Lara, F.G. Aliev, A.P. Hibbins, F.Y. Ogrin, oral presentation: “Improving Excitation and Detection of Propagating Spiral Spin Waves in Magnetic Nano-patches: Influence of Thickness and Shape”, Joint MMM-Intermag Conference 2019, Washington D.C., USA, January 2019
  • D. Osuna Ruiz, E. Burgos Parra, N. Bukin, A. Lara, F.G. Aliev, A.P. Hibbins, F.Y. Ogrin, oral presentation: “Propagating spiral spin waves in magnetic nano-patches: Influence of Thickness and Shape”, International Conference on Magnetism (ICM) 2018, San Francisco, USA, July 2018
  • D. Osuna Ruiz, E. Burgos Parra, N. Bukin, A.P. Hibbins, F.Y. Ogrin, oral presentation: “Propagating spiral spin waves in magnetic nano-patches”, IEEE International Conference in Microwave Magnetics (ICMM) 2018, organized by the University of Exeter,  Exeter, UK, July 2018
  • D. Osuna Ruiz, E. Burgos Parra, N. Bukin, A.P. Hibbins, F.Y. Ogrin, oral presentation: “Propagating spiral spin waves in magnetic nano-patches”, International Symposium on Spin Waves 2018. Organized by the Ioffe Institute, Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 2018
  • D. Osuna Ruiz, A. P. Hibbins, F.Y. Ogrin, poster presentation: “Propagating spiral spin waves in magnetic nano-patches”, IOP Magnetism 2018, April 2018
  • D. Osuna Ruiz, A. P. Hibbins, F.Y. Ogrin, poster presentation: “Propagating spiral spin waves in magnetic nano-patches”, NanoMagnonics Workshop 2018, Kaiserslautern, Germany, February 2018



David Newman and Kostas Chatzimpaloglou present at the Institute of Physics Current Research in Magnetism 2020: High Frequency Spintronics

Last month, 2nd year PGRs David Newman  and Kostas Chatzimpaloglou both gave contributed talks for the Institute of Physics Current Research in Magnetism 2020: High Frequency Spintronics, which was held virtually.

David Newman

David’s presentation was on “Spin current propagation through an epitaxial antiferromagnetic NiO layer”. In this talk, he demonstrated the use of the inverse spin Hall effect (ISHE) and X-ray Ferromagnetic Resonance (XFMR) measurements to observe a DC and AC spin current respectively propagating through an antiferromagnetic layer in a multilayer sample. This is intended to inform future studies on spin current propagation which is a vital step in the development of spintronic devices.

David says of his talk:

I found it a great experience to present my work as part of a programme filled with the big names in the research field and make more contacts within the community.


Kostas’ talk was titled “Time resolved magneto-optical study of spin-orbit torques (SOTs) in ellipsoidal CoFeB/Pt

Kostas Chatzimpalouglou

elements” and focused on results gathered from the development of a magneto-optical Spin Transfer Torque Ferromagnetic Resonance (STT-FMR) technique to explore the magnetization dynamics that arise in these devices in response to DC current excitation.

By comparing with a macrospin model simulation with experimental data, this proves that when DC current is large enough, the DC SOT is observed to act on the magnetization. However, the strong DC Oersted field produces similar features in the resonance to the effect of SOT. Thus, it is required careful fitting to determine the value of SOT.

Julia De Pineda passes her viva!

Julia De Pineda Gutiérrez with her thesis

Congratulations to Julia De Pineda, who passed her viva this month. Her thesis was entitled ‘Multi-layer metasurfaces for manipulating the propagation of microwaves along surfaces and edges’. Julia published four papers during her time with the CDT.

Below, Julia describes the challenges and rewards of undertaking a PhD and the experience of having a virtual viva:

My years as a PhD student have been an emotional rollercoaster. There have been some very tough times, when I’ve been very close to quitting but there have also been really fun times. And it is the difficult times that make you grow anyway so in the end, I am very happy I decided to stay and finish this project. I also feel very lucky to have been able to work with my supervisors who have always been there to point me in the right direction, even when I thought my research was not getting anywhere. I would also like to highlight the role of the CDT regarding the soft skills training that we received along the way. I feel that sometimes as student we don’t see the importance it has but now that I am starting to look for a job I realise how many transferable skills I have acquired during these four years.

From my time as a PhD student I take some really good friends with me and many great experiences, specially from all the conferences I’ve got to attend and the amazing places I was able to discover in the meantime. However, I am very pleased that this time is over and I am very much looking forward to an exciting new adventure, whatever that is. In any case, I am sure I will take with me everything I have learnt these years, both personally and professionally. I can definitely say that I am a better version of myself than I was four years ago and to me that’s the greatest achievement.

Finally, I would like to say that submitting my thesis in the middle of a global pandemic and therefore having a virtual viva was something I was not ready for and could never have imagined when I started my PhD. But it was alright in the end and an enriching experience after all. So I would like to tell anyone in a similar situation to relax and try to get the most out of the experience. I am sure in the future we will look at it in a different way and realise that it made us learn and grow.

Julia is considering retraining as an air-traffic controller. We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavours.

Below is a list of Julia’s publications and conferences she has presented at:

Julia has co-authored the following publications:





Julia has presented at the following conferences:

  • J.D de Pineda, A.P Hibbins, J.R Sambles; Presentation: “Metasurfaces for high index effective media”, 2019 IEEE Radio and Antenna Days of the Indian Ocean (RADIO), Reunion, Reunion, 23 – 26 Sept 2019
  • J.D de Pineda, A.P Hibbins, J.R Sambles; Presentation: “Exploration of Microwave Edge modes in metasurfaces with Glide symmetry”, 13th International Congress on Advanced Electromagnetic Materials for novel wave phenomena (Metamaterials), Rome, Italy, 16 – 21 Sept 2019
  • J.D de Pineda, G.P. Ward, A.P Hibbins, J.R Sambles; Presentation: “Exploration of Edge Modes formed in periodic hexagonal metasurfaces with glide symmetry”, 12th International Congress on Advanced Electromagnetic Materials for novel wave phenomena (Metamaterials), Espoo, Finland, 27 Aug – 1 Sept 2018
  • J.D de Pineda, A.P Hibbins, R.C Mitchell-Thomas, J.R Sambles; Presentation: “Multilayer Hexagonal Metasurfaces for Antenna Applications”, APS/URSI 2017, San Diego, California, 10-14 July 2017
  • J.D de Pineda, A.P Hibbins, R.C Mitchell-Thomas, J.R Sambles; Poster: “Multilayer Hexagonal Metasurfaces for Antenna Applications”, EUPROMETA school, Bordeaux, France, 4-7 April 2017