Whilst the additional training available in a cohort-based PhD programme is what differentiates it from the traditional “lone scholar” PhD, the essence of the research aspect, the requirement to produce a piece of original research, remains unchanged. XM2 is interdisciplinary in nature, with projects taking place within the Electromagnetic and Acoustic MaterialsQuantum Systems and Nanostructures, and Functional Materials research groups in the Physics and Engineering departments, and aligned along one or more of the following themes:

Optical, Infra-red and THz Photonics and Plasmonics

  • Light at the nanoscale
  • Nanoplasmonics for metamaterial applications
  • Graphene based devices
  • Phase-change photonic devices
  • Optically tuneable metamaterials
  • Subwavelength imaging

Microwave Metamaterials


  • Metasurfaces and surface waves
  • 3D metamaterials and photonic crystals
  • Compact and functional antennas
  • Resonators and energy harvesting structures
  • Filtering, absorbing and channelling microwave energy
  • Active metamaterials



Magnonics, Spintronics and Magnetic Metamaterials

  • Programmable magnonic metamaterials
  • Spintronics
  • Spin wave based data and electromagnetic signal processing
  • Artificial magnetic materials and their tuneability
  • Magnetic composites

Acoustic and Fluid-dynamical Metamaterials

  • Aero- and hydro-acoustic metasurfaces for manipulating the propagation of sound
  • 3D metamaterials and phononic crystals
  • Fluid-structure interactions for influencing the flow of fluids
  • Coupling between acoustics and fluid-flow
  • Microfluidic metamaterials for lab-on-a-chip technologies


Wave Theory and Spatial Transformations


  • Application of spatial transformation theory to electromagnetic and acoustic problems
  • Theory of metasurfaces
  • Theory of light propagation in complex media 


Graphene and other 2D Materials, and related Devices 

  • Flexible metastructured detectors and sources for infrared and THz
  • Multifunctional ultra-lightweight energy harvesting coatings
  • Metastructures for underwater acoustics

Nanomaterials and Nanocomposites

  • Nanometamaterials, nanorods, nanowires, nano-tubes of carbon or carbon based structures
  • Carbon nanotubes and graphene for energy conversion and storage
  • Composites for control of electromagnetic radiation

Biological and Bio-inspired Metamaterials

  • Exploration of metastructures in wingscales and insect cuticles
  • Biomimetics of natural photonic structures
  • Use of nanocellulose to provide biodegradable optical metamaterials
  • Magneto-elastic membranes


Quantum Metamaterials

  • Exploitation of coherent quantum dynamics to control electromagnetic waves
  • Magnetic field sensing with quantum metamaterials