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2D Materials

The extraordinary electrical, thermal, mechanical and optical properties of few-atom thick materials, and their application to optoelectronics, electronics, photonics, construction materials, energy and sensing.

Research groups associated with 2D Materials at Exeter

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CMRI staff associated with 2D Materials at Exeter


Prof Bill Barnes

Light-Matter Coupling - Linking molecules with light

Traditionally, making molecules with new properties, e.g. dyes of different colours, has been the province of chemistry, new properties are based on making new molecules. Our approach is fundamentally different, we use light to alter the way molecules interact with each other, something that can lead to radical changes in their properties, without changing their chemical composition. We use two related techniques known as strong coupling and weak coupling.

Electromagnetic and Acoustic Materials


Prof Monica Craciun

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

My research expertise spans across applied research in nanotechnology, electronic and optoelectronic devices to fundamental research in nanoscience (quantum phenomena, molecular electronics, nano electronics, spintronics) and materials science.

In particular, I am currently focused on the study of 2D materials such as graphene, functionalized graphene and layered dichalcogenides (e.g. MoS2, WS2), and of their hybrids with other emerging materials (e.g. organic semiconductors, perovskites). The aim is to create new materials and devices with unique electronic and optoelectronic properties not available in any other systems. In particular, we explores novel devices that can be used in emerging technologies such as electronic textiles, multifunctional smart coatings, or in a new generation of highly efficient solar cells and light emitting devices.

Nano Engineering Science and Technology Group


Prof Euan Hendry

THz materials, imaging and spectroscopy; Nonlinear optics

We explore the potential for developing new THz components and sensors to fill the so called “THz gap”, utilizing novel magnetic and plasmonic responses of many materials in this region, and are currently working on novel methods for imaging in this difficult spectral region. We also work in plasmonics, and explore the possibility of replacing coinage metals with new materials such as graphene and ITO. These materials have tuneable electromagnetic responses, as free electrons can controllably introduced by chemical, electrical or photo-doping, making the manipulating light on extreme sub-wavelength length scales possible, and we focus on enhancing nonlinear optical responses for optical switching etc.

Electromagnetic and Acoustic Materials


Prof Geoff Nash

Optical and Acoustic Materials and Devices

Within the Nash group we explore the fascinating characteristics of new materials including 2D materials, for example, graphene and metasurfaces. We both investigate fundamental phenomena, such as the interaction of light with molecules, and aim to exploit these phenomena to create novel technology.

Nano Engineering Science and Technology Group

Prof Saverio Russo


Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials

My research group is pioneering the novel science found in nano-systems. In particular, we are currently studying the electrical properties of graphene materials, which are just one or few carbon atom thick with honeycomb structure. In these materials charge carriers have a record high mobility at room temperature and behave as massless Dirac fermions.

Our main research directions are

  • Graphene-based flexible and transparent electronic devices;
  • Novel technologies for fabricating suspended and double gated graphene transistors to access the electric field tuneable low-energy band structure in few-layer graphene and the electro-mechanical properties;
  • Search for highly conductive and transparent materials;
  • Superconducting-graphene hybrid structures.

Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials


Prof C David Wright

Active/Reconfigurable Metasurfaces; phase-change materials

Conventional metamaterials and metasurfaces (the 2D form of metamaterials) are ‘fixed-by-design’, with performance determined by the form of their resonating structures and the properties of the materials of which they are made. Far greater functionality and application would be available if we could develop active versions, i.e. metamaterials whose response can be dynamically adapted, tuned or reconfigured. At Exeter we are doing just this, using chalcogenide phase-change materials to deliver active optical metasurfaces that can work from the UV right out to the THz, and with applications ranging from LiDAR to multispectral imaging, optoelectronic displays, chemical sensing and much more.

Nano Engineering Science and Technology Group

Prof Shaowei Zhang

Functional and Structural Materials

My main research interests are in the processing, microstructures and properties of both functional and structural materials. Current research topics include: 1) development of nanostructured ultra-high temperature composites, 2) exploration of 2D materials for energy, waste water treatment, and biomedical applications, 3) novel synthesis of monolayered quantum dots for cancer treatment, and 4) preparation of high efficiency nanocatalysts for hydrogen generation. Other works include preparation of functional oxide/carbide coatings, low-carbon refractory composites, and novel nanocomposite armours.

Graphene Centre


Prof Yanqiu Zhu

Functional Materials

My team's fundamental research focus is on the synthesis and characterization of 1-dimentional structures, from carbon nanotubes to other transition metal oxide nanowires, sulphide nanotubes and complex functional metal oxides with 1D, 2D and 3D structures, using techniques such as chemical vapour deposition, solid state and soft-chemistry synthesis.

Nanocomposites fabrication using these novel nanostructures is also a main research focus. The processing parameters, structural features and interfacial reaction that underpin the physical and mechanical properties of these nanocomposites lie in this category.

Furthermore, the performance of the new nanomaterials and nanocomposites under very high pressures, dynamic and static, covers the third aspect of my team's fundamental research.

Nano Engineering Science and Technology Group

Associate Professors

Prof Dave Phillips

Structured light

I work on spatial structuring of infra-red and visible light for a variety of applications to imaging, optical trapping and optical communications. Dynamic light shaping is achieved using liquid crystal spatial light modulators and digital micro-mirror devices. We are also developing new methods to create compact light transforming optics using direct laser writing (microscale 3D printing).

Biomedical Physics

Senior Lecturers / Senior Research Fellows

Dr David Horsell

Acoustic and thermal devices

We study the generation, control and interaction between sound, heat and electricity in materials. The focus of our experimental research is to study the fundamental physics of acoustic, thermal and electrical transport both within materials and across interfaces between materials. This has direct application in sound production, heat management in electronics, and improved efficiency of electronic devices. We also investigate the ways in which these properties can be used for active sensing, which includes detection of gas and fluids as well as electrical and thermal features of materials. Our work extends into biological systems, including biomimetics, thermoregulation in insects and electrical signalling in plants and animals.

Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials

Dr Isaac Luxmoore

Quantum Nanophotonics

Optoelectronic devices, which generate, manipulate and measure light, underpin modern communication and have enabled the internet to revolutionise the modern world. A new generation of quantum optoelectronic devices, which process light at the single photon level, promise a further revolution in the way we communicate, measure and process data. Individual photons, the elementary particles of light, are the building blocks of this technology, but must first be generated by single photon sources. For practical applications the photons must be generated on-demand, at high repetition rates and must be indistinguishable- in other words identical in all degrees of freedom (for example, energy and polarisation). My research is centred around the development of such devices through the exploration of novel materials and their nanophotonic integration.

Nano Engineering Science and Technology Group

Dr Ana Neves

Wearable technology

This line of research uses 2D materials, such as graphene, as active layers for a wide range of electronic devices based on flexible and textile substrates. These materials offer a wide range of properties of interest, allied to a very small size, lightweight and flexibility, which makes them ideal for truly wearable devices. These devices go well beyond bulky commercial accessories embedded in clothes and, when endowed with with wireless communications, have an enormous transformative potential for applications such as remote healthcare or energy harvesting.

Nano Engineering Science and Technology Group


Dr Stefano Pagliara

Membrane transport in antibiotic resistance

Bacteria exchange molecules with their environment taking up molecules essential for subsistence while excluding poisonous molecules such as antibiotics. They do so by using proteins that form physical pathways for molecular transport across membranes, these pathways being at the basis of antibiotic resistance, one of the most challenging problems for our society. Using a metamaterials approach through microfluidics and imaging I study the fundamental diversity in the capability to take up molecules in bacteria aiming to understand which physical pathways are used by individual bacteria to achieve this diversity. The new knowledge that I am developing will provide guidelines for the optimisation of antibiotic therapy in killing infecting bacteria.

Dr Peter Petrov

Mechanics and electrostatics of soft and biomembranes

My research interests are in the area of membrane biophysics, with emphasis on the relationships between membrane composition, mesoscopic lateral ordering, physical properties and biological function. Much work is carried out on the biophysics of the interactions between bacterial toxins and cell membranes, transmembrane transport as well as 2D mesoscopic structure and physical properties of artificial lipid mono- and bilayers using a variety of advanced optical microscopy and synchrotron techniques. Further research interests include statics and dynamics of wetting and low Reynolds number propulsion.

Biomedical Physics


Dr Yongde Xia

Nanomaterials for energy

My research covers a broad spectrum of nanomaterials and nanocomposites, with specific interests in functionality and their applications. The core research focus is to synthesize and characterise novel functional nanoporous materials, to understand the growth mechanisms, to assess their advanced mechanical and physical properties, and to apply these interesting functional nanoporous materials for practical applications in a diverse areas, from energy storage and conversion to nanodevice construction, from solar energy creation to hydrogen energy storage and greenhouse capture and conversion, and from photocatalysis and environmental catalysis for renewable energy to lightweight wearable engineering devices.

Nano Engineering Science and Technology Group

Lecturers / Research Fellows

Dr Anna Katharina Ott‌

Quantum materials and spectroscopy

Transition metal dichalcogenides are a novel platform for quantum optics. They are optically active, semiconducting layered materials which can be exfoliated from their bulk crystals to monolayers which can be re-assembled to vertical heterostructures by stacking. These layered materials (LMs) are promising for fast optoelectronics and on-chip photonics. We demonstrated the existence of quantum light emitters in atomically thin TMD layers. Raman spectroscopy and photoluminescence is the primary tool to characterise layered materials and heterostacks used as platform for quantum optics. These techniques can identify TMDs, extract the number of layers, doping, quality of the material.

Nano Engineering Science and Technology Group