Publication News

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Small Cover Article

16th October 2017

A Nanophotonic Structure Containing Living Photosynthetic Bacteria

In experiments depicted on the front cover of the new issue of Small, members of the Photonic Nanomaterials Group in collaboration with researchers at Sheffield, Harvard and Clark Universities have demonstrated the strong coupling of living photosynthetic bacteria to optical microcavities. This coupling causes excitons in the bacteria and photons of light in the cavity to hybridize into quasi-particles known as polaritons, adopting properties of both particle type and changing the energy level structure compared with the uncoupled systems. By controlling the separation of the mirrors that form the cavity, the polariton energies and properties can be tuned. The experiments open prospects for engineering optical devices that involve living organisms or for modifying life processes by optical coupling.

Molecular Heat Engines


6th October 2017

Molecular heat engines

Conventional heat engines convert a temperature difference into mechanical work. Similarly, molecular heat engines use quantum transport to turn a thermal energy into electrical power. Molecular heat engines are small and do not have any moving parts, therefore they are ideal for low-power applications. Researchers in the Quantum Electronic Devices Group report in Nano Letters on the measurement of the thermoelectric power conversion of individual C60 molecules in a graphene nanogap. They achieve energy conversion rates close to the theoretical limit by carefully engineering the molecular energy levels, providing a viable pathway towards on-chip cooling and energy harvesting for quantum technologies.

Photonic Synapse

6th October 2017

On-chip photonic synapse

The search for new “neuromorphic computing” architectures that mimic the brain’s approach to simultaneous processing and storage of information is intense. Because, in real brains, neuronal synapses outnumber neurons by many orders of magnitude, the realization of hardware devices mimicking the functionality of a synapse is a first and essential step in such a search. Researchers in the Advanced Nanoscale Engineering Group report  in Science Advances  the development of such a hardware synapse, implemented entirely in the optical domain via a photonic integrated-circuit approach. Using purely optical means brings the benefits of ultrafast operation speed, virtually unlimited bandwidth, and no electrical interconnect power losses. 

Phase Change RAM

14th September 2017

Materials science and engineering of phase change random access memory

With scaling-limit of current silicon technology becoming very apparent, there is growing search for alternate data computation and storage systems. Phase Change Materials based Phase Change Memory (PCRAM) is amongst the most promising candidate. In a review article published in Materials Science and Technology by Syed Ghazi Sarwat from Advanced Nanoscale Engineering Group, this technology is detailed from rudiments, covering essentials topics and advances. This review is also the winner of 2017 Literature Review Prize by IOM3 and Taylor and Francis.

EHD printing nanoparticles

14th September 2017

Nanoparticle assembly enabled by EHD-printed monolayers

Researchers in the Advanced Nanoscale Engineering Group have published in Nature Microsystems & Nanoengineering research combining self-assembly and printing to achieve additively nanomanufactured structures. They showed that monolayers can drive the assembly of nanoparticles into pre-defined patterns with single-particle resolution; then crucially demonstrated for the first time that molecular monolayers can be printed using electrohydrodynamic (EHD)-jet printing. The functionality and resolution of such printed monolayers drives the self-assembly of nanoparticles, demonstrating the integration of EHD with self-assembly. This shows that such process combinations can lead towards more integrated process flows in nanomanufacturing. This article was highlighted as the feature article for the journal issue.


11th September 2017

New software for atomic pair distribution function (PDF) analysis of amorphous and polycrystalline materials

Janaki Shanmugam, Konstantin Borisenko and co-authors in Electron Image Analysis Group have released eRDF Analyser software, a new free and open code software that brings to the masses computation of atomistic pair distribution function (PDF) from electron diffraction data. An easy to use and interactive interface of the software allows straightforward calculation of the PDF that represents distribution of interatomic distances in amorphous and polycrystalline materials. Analysis of such materials is often required in various applications, from energy materials to catalyst nanoparticles. The software is described in SoftwareX publication.


8th September 2017

Origin of Superconductivity and Latent Charge Density Wave in NbS2

Transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) have generated considerable interest in recent years, since they provide an ideal playground for studying semiconductors, metals, and superconductors in two dimensions using the same structural template. In the case of superconducting TMDs, one remarkable feature is that Cooper pair condensation usually coexists with a charge density wave (CDW), raising the question on whether superconductivity and the CDW cooperate or compete in these compounds.
In this work published in Physical Review Letters, researchers in the Materials Modelling and Design Group elucidate the origin of the phonon-mediated superconductivity in 2H-NbS2 completely from first principles. They demonstrate that the electron-lattice coupling is dominated by low-energy anharmonic phonons, which place the system on the verge of a charge density wave instability. These findings call for further efforts to determine whether the proposed mechanism underpins superconductivity in the whole family of metallic transition metal dichalcogenides.

5th September 2017

A new approach to fabricate superconducting NbTi alloys

Tayebeh Mousavi and collagues in the Centre for Applied Superconductivity have reported in Superconductor Science and Technology successful fabrication of superconducting Nb(Ti) alloy samples by ball-milling pure Nb and Ti powders at room temperature, a simple processing route compared to the thermomechanical process used in industry.  Superconducting properties have been measured in consolidated bulk samples of the milled product with Jc and Bc2 values comparable with those of conventionally processed NbTi wires. A nanometre-scale layered microstructure with some similarities to those achieved in Nb–Ti wires has been shown to arise naturally from the intrinsic processes involved in mechanical alloying, and strong pinning has been demonstrated in the consolidated Nb(Ti) material.

5th September 2017

In-Service Oxidation and Microstructural Evolution of a Nickel Superalloy in a Formula 1 Car Exhaust

Researchers in the Atom Probe group and collaborators around the UK have recently published Oxidation of Metals an analysis of oxidation and microstructural evolution of an Inconel 625 alloy exhaust manifold exposed to an automobile racing environment using a combination of advanced analytical methods to characterize the surface and near-surface. The dynamic, corrosive gas conditions result in accelerated oxidation, with the inner exhaust surface also heavily contaminated by multiple species including Zn, P, K and Na. Nb carbides and Ti nitrides identified in stock control samples evolve into mixed (Ti, Nb)N species during exposure, decorated by smaller Mo, Si-rich precipitates. 


7th August 2017

Valley-addressable polaritons in atomically thin semiconductors

Dr Aurélien Trichet and Prof Jason Smith in the Photonic Nanomaterials Group have recently published their latest work on cavity QED with 2D materials in Nature Photonics. In this work, the formation of polariton states in cavity-coupled monolayer MoSe2 allows the observation of spin-valley effects that were previously invisible in this material. The work is in collaboration with the Tartakovskii group at the University of Sheffield, the Novoselov group at the University of Manchester, and the Malpuech group at the Institut Pascal. A News and Views article discussing the work has also been published.

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