Graphite under water droplet (David Horsell)

Our research

The most recent Research Assessment Exercise confirms Physics and Astronomy at the University of Exeter as one of the foremost centres of research in the country. We are ranked 8th in the UK for world-leading and internationally excellent research and have active programmes of research within Astrophysics, Biomedical Physics, Electromagnetic Materials, and Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials.

Our reputation for high quality research is a testament to the research pedigree of our staff, many world-leaders in their field. We also collaborate with international leading scholars, academic centres and external organisations to ensure we are at the very heart of the most innovative research.

Our leading academics are responsible for delivering the very latest knowledge and innovative research. This is delivered not just to those within the academic community, but to the wider non-academic audience including science lectures and events for schools and open evenings and exhibits for the general public.

Our research plays a pivotal role in the University's Science Strategy via the Functional Materials and Extrasolar Planets key themes. We are also involved in the interdisciplinary Centre for Energy and the Environment and the Centre for Graphene Science.

Research groupContact
One of the largest star formation groups in the UK with a wide variety of observational and theoretical programmes. We are also the head node of the EC FP6 Research Training Network CONSTELLATION studying the Origin of the Initial Mass Function and a major participant in the eSTAR Project.
Visit our Astrophysics web pages.
Professor Isabelle Baraffe
Biomedical Physics
Actively involved in the complementary fields of Biophysics and Medical Physics. Our research falls under a number of headings: Biophysics, Human Perception, Biophotonics, Biomedical Imaging, and Biomedical Electrochemistry.
Visit our Biomedical Physics web pages.
Professor Christian Soeller

Electromagnetic and Acoustic Materials
We explore the interaction of electromagnetic and sound waves with matter, and how this can be manipulated using “metamaterials”.  Our work involves material synthesis and nanofabrication, imaging and characterisation using microwave, ultrafast laser and synchrotron sources, which are combined with numerical and analytic theory in quantum optics and quantum information science.
Visit our Electromagnetic Materials web pages.

Professor Robert Hicken
Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials
We probe the quantum properties of matter, with an emphasis on nanomaterials. We investigate both experimentally and theoretically the properties of electrons, phonons and photons in nanomaterials (graphene and carbon nanotubes), and in nanostructures (quantum wells, wires, and dots). We also study the extraordinary properties of anisotropic phonon systems in liquid 4He.
Visit our Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials web pages.
Prof Saverio Russo

Research degrees

An MPhil/PhD in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Exeter offers an exciting opportunity to work with dynamic, internationally leading researchers at the cutting-edge of research, within a close-knit and supportive environment. Find out more about our postgraduate research programmes.

Research seminars

There is a strong research culture in the department which is reflected in our regular seminars and colloquia. These are run over the course of the academic year, cover a wide range of topics and students and academics from across the University with a forum to meet and discuss the latest topics in Physics and Astronomy.

More information

We welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students. Please initially contact the staff member closest to your research interests. Alternatively, contact our admissions team for more information.