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Prof Monica Craciun

Professor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

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Telephone: 01392 723656

Extension: (Streatham) 3656

Prof Monica Craciun is Professor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in the Engineering Department at the University of Exeter, UK. She has over 15 years of research expertise in the areas of Advanced Materials, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. She held one of the 5-year EPSRC Engineering Fellowships for Growth awarded to only 8 UK leading academics for maintaining UK’s research leadership the area of Advanced Materials (identified as one of the Great British Technologies). Prof Craciun is/was investigator on more than 30 EPSRC, Royal Society, Innovate UK, EU and industrial research grants with a total funding of over £9.25million. At Exeter she is full-time staff of the Centre for Graphene Science and of the Nano Engineering Science and Technology Group. Prof Craciun gained a PhD in Applied Physics from Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands), an MSc in Materials Physics (Joseph Fourier University, Grenobe, France), an MSc in Applied Physics (University of Bucharest, Romania) and an MSc in Materials Engineering (Catholic University Leuven, Belgium). Before joining Exeter she was postdoctoral researcher at the University of Twente (The Netherlands) and at the University of Tokyo were she was awarded a prestigious fellowship of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. Prof Craciun joined the University of Exeter in January 2010 as research fellow and took up the position of Professor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in April 2017.

Her academic work spans from applied research in nanotechnology, electronic and optoelectronic devices to fundamental research in nanoscience (quantum phenomena, molecular electronics, nano electronics, spintronics) and materials science. She has over 100 publications in leading international journals (e.g. Nature & Science family journals, Advanced Materials, Nano Letters), with many papers ranked in the top 1% in Materials Science, Engineering and Physics, which have attracted an h-index of 33. Prof Craciun leads a group of researchers focusing on two-dimensional materials with the aim of harnessing their novel properties for scopes as broad as electronics, photonics, energy and sensing.

Membership of editorial boards
  • Editor for the Nature journal Scientific Reports (Electronics, Photonics and Device Physics)
Research interests

The work of Prof Craciun spans from fundamental research in nanoscience (molecular electronics, quantum phenomena, nano electronics, spintronics) to applied research in electronic and optoelectronic materials and devices.

Electronic and optoelectronic materials and devices. The aim of this area is the exploitation of 2D materials with extraordinary performances in electronic and optoelectronic devices and their drive towards the next-generation electronics technology. Contributions to this area include novel techniques to pattern electrical circuits in Fluorine- functionalised graphene, of use for whole-graphene electronics [Nano Lett. 11, 3912 (2011)], a method to tailor the band gap of fluorinated graphene by tuning the Fluorine coverage [Nanoscale Res. Lett. 6, 526, (2011) & New J. Phys. 15, 033024 (2013)]. In terms of materials advances, my team developed a new growth method for graphene which is 100 times faster and 99% lower cost than standard Chemical Vapor Deposition [Adv. Mater. 27, 4200 (2015)], allowing semiconductor industry a way to mass produce graphene with present facilities rather than requiring them to build new manufacturing plants. We also developed the GraphExeter material (i.e. few-layer graphene intercalated with FeCl3), the best carbon-based transparent conductor [Adv. Mater. 24, 2844 (2012)], with resilience to extreme conditions [Nature Sci. Rep. 5, 7609 (2015)], extensively reported by media such as BBC, Forbes and Reuters. We demonstrated the potential of GraphExeter for flexible electronics [Nature Sci. Rep. 5, 16464 (2015)], transparent photo-detectors [ACS Nano 7, 5052 (2013)], foldable light emitting devices [ACS Appl. Mater. Int. 8, 16541 (2016)], used GraphExeter to provide the first evidence for magnetic ordering in the extreme limit of 2D systems [Nano Lett 14, 1755 (2014)] and demonstrated GraphExeter as a plasmonic material with unprecedented capabilities in infrared [Nano Lett. 17, 5908 (2017)]. We also contributed to the development of a method to accurately produce MoTe2 layers and control their thickness for electronics and optoelectronics [Adv. Funct. Mater. 28 1804434 (2018)]. Our most recent innovation is the development of laser-writable high-k dielectric for 2D nanoelectronics [Science Advances 5, eaau0906 (2019)]. Engineering advances in optoelectronics include the intelligent design of fast and highly efficient atomically thin optoelectronic devices [Adv. Mater. (2017)], a novel method to engineer photodetectors in GraphExeter for ultrathin, high-definition sensing and video imaging technologies [Science Advances (2017)], 2D heterostructures for video-frame-rate imaging [Adv. Mat. 2017]. Recently we presented the first experimental evidence of an electron funnel on a chip [Nature Communications 9, 1652 (2018)], a technology that could unlock new ways of ‘funnelling’ the sun’s energy more efficiently directly into solar panels or batteries.

Wearable/flexible electronics and optoelectronics. My research has greatly contributed to the state-of-the-art in this field, as my team was among the first to report 2D materials based technologies for textile electronics [Nature Sci. Rep. 5, 9866 (2015) & Nature Sci. Rep.7, 4250 (2017)] and artificial skin [Adv. Mater. 27, 4200 (2015)]. These contributions effectively opened up the emerging field of electronic textiles to the thinnest materials ever conceived: atomically thin materials. In this area, our group also contributed to the demonstration of ultra-small, ultra-fast and flexible non-volatile graphene memories [ACS Nano 11, 3010 (2017)]. Recently we pioneered a new technique to create graphene electronic textile fibres that can function as touch-sensors and light-emitting devices [npj Flexible Electronics 2, 25 (2018)] and demonstrated fabric-enabled pixels for displays and position sensitive functions, constituting a gateway for novel electronic skin, wearable electronic and smart textile applications. Our latest advance is the integration of high‐quality graphene films obtained from scalable water processing approaches in emerging energy harvesting devices [Adv. Mater. 30, 1802953 (2018)], opening new possibilities for self-powered electronic skin, flexible and wearable electronics.

Quantum Engineering & Nano Electronics. We use nano-electronic devices to investigate the electronic properties of graphene, functionalized graphene and of other 2D materials. This encompasses quantum phenomena studies as well as application of these materials in photodetectors, p-n diodes, transistors and memories. Main contributions from our group include the first experimental demonstration of charge carriers propagation in monolayer graphene via evanescent waves [Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 196802 (2008)] and the discovery that ABA-stacked trilayer graphene is the only gate-tuneable semimetal [Nature Nanotech. 4, 383 (2009)], opening the research area of few-layer graphene (FLG). We also published the first experimental evidence that trilayer graphene has a unique stacking-dependent quantum Hall effect [Phys. Rev. B(R) 84, 161408 (2011)], the first studies of electrical transport in FLG with record high charge densities controlled by liquid ionic gating [PNAS 108, 13002 (2011)], and the first direct observation of the electric field tuneable energy gap in ABC-stacked trilayer graphene [Nano Lett. 15, 4429 (2015)]. Other advances are the realisation of a highly efficient graphene Cooper pair splitter device for quantum information processing [Nature Sci. Rep. 6, 23051 2016], and revealing the mechanism of large distance supercurrent propagation through graphene-superconductor junctions [Nano Lett. 16, 4788 (2016)]. We also developed novel ways to strain graphene [Nano Lett. 14, 1158 (2014)] which were used to experimentally study electron states in uniaxially strained graphene [Nano Lett. 15, 7943 (2015)], of interest for straintronics applications. Recently, we probed different strain configuration in 2D superlattices and provided a new mechanism to induce complex strain patterns in 2D materials [Nano Lett. 18, 7919 (2018)], with profound implications in the development of future electronic devices based on heterostructures.

Molecular Electronics was the focus area of my PhD. Highlights include the discovery of a correlation between the electrical conduction of metal-phthalocyanine (MPc) materials and the molecular structure of their constituent molecules [J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127, 12210 (2005)] and the realisation of the first MPc ambipolar transistor [Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 262109 (2005)]. This was followed by the first demonstration of high electrical conductivity in alkali-doped MPc [Adv. Mater. 18, 320 (2006)], which opened up the field of metallic MPc. I also published the first experimental observation of an insulating state in pentacene induced by strong interactions between the conduction electrons [Phys. Rev. B 79, 125116 (2009)]. This is still an active field in my group, but with a focus on hybrid 2D-organic materials systems and device engineering. My latest advance is the demonstration of novel devices for imaging at ultralow light levels based on organic semiconductors and graphene interfaces [Adv, Mater. 29, 1702993 (2017)]. Such devices pave the way for the implementation of low-cost, flexible imaging technologies at ultralow light levels.

 

Selected publications