Department of Materials News 2012

EUREC2012 award

EUREC2012 award

20th December 2012

3rd prize in EUREC Awards 2012

Congratulations to Sabina Caneva who was awarded 3rd prize in theEUREC Awards 2012 for the best undergraduate student project in the field of renewable energies.

View video promoting EUREC Masters Programme including the prize giving (see 2.49sec).

Prof. John Hunt FRS

Prof. John Hunt FRS

10th December 2012

Professor John Hunt, FRS

It is with great sadness that the department announces the death of one of our most respected and eminent colleagues. John Huntjoined the department in 1966, and was appointed to a readership in 1990 and a professorship in 1996, finally retiring in 2002. He contributed enormously to teaching and research in the department, and was internationally recognised for his work on solidification. John was also the tutor in St Edmund Hall from 1968, where he helped train generations of Materials Scientists.

The department sends its deepest sympathies to Ann and all his family.

Phil Dolan at ICT pioneers competition

Phil Dolan at ICT pioneers competition

26th November 2012

ICT Pioneers

Philip Dolan (4th year DPhil) was one of 12 finalists in the EPSRC ICT Pioneers competition with his project "Ultra-small open access microcavities for enhancement of the the light-matter interaction".

Find out more now - view cool flash animation!

Feliciano Giustino

Feliciano Giustino

16th November 2012

Leverhulme Research Leadership Award

Dr Feliciano Giustino has been awarded a prestigious Leverhulme Research Leadership Award to explore the atomic-scale mechanisms of how biomimetic solar cells turn light into electricity. The Leverhulme Trust awards only a handful of these Research Leadership grants, and the Department is delighted to be able to congratulate Feliciano on his achievement.

More details on this award can be found on the official press releaseof the University of Oxford and also the Wolfson College news.

Quantum of Spin exhibit

Quantum of Spin exhibit

14th August 2012

Making a big show at the Royal Society

In July a team from Oxford Materials spent the week at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London. For 11 hours a day they ran the 'Quantum of Spin' exhibit, explaining their science to 2000 visitors of all ages. The exhibit featured a fully operational MRI scanner contributed by Bruker, which was used to read messages hidden inside 'phantoms' prepared by the visitors. Other highlights included a Schrodinger Box inside which a quantum spin mysteriously changed direction when not observed, and quantum-entangled dice that correlated their outcomes to beat the odds.

7th August 2012

Two academic promotions

The Department is pleased to announce promotions for two of our senior staff members.  Angus Wilkinson has been appointed Professor of Materials in recognition, inter alia, of his internationally recognised contributions to developing high resolution strain mapping by EBSD and its application to problems in a wide range of metallugical and semiconducting materials.  Sergio Lozano-Perez has been appointed to the George Kelley Senior Research Fellowship (associated with St Edmund Hall) in recognition of his work on the development of high resolution analytical techniques for the study of degradation mechanisms in materials for power generation.  Our warmest congratulations to both!


31st July 2012

Athena SWAN silver award

The Department of Materials has been granted an Athena SWAN Silver award for commitment to gender equality in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) employment in higher education and for the promotion of good working practices for women.

Professor Richard Todd

Professor Richard Todd

6th June 2012

IoM3 Verulam Medal 2012

Professor Richard Todd has been awarded the 2012 Verulam Medal and Prize of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in recognition of distinguished contributions to ceramics. 

Professor Todd has proven his ability to achieve significant developments as a researcher as Editor of the Journal of the European Ceramic Society (JECS), a key member of the UK Structural Ceramics Network (SCERN) and a prime organiser in the one day research meetings on advanced ceramics (1-DRAC).

Much of Professor Todd's research revolves around oxide ceramics, microstress measurements and superplastic metals. Among his many achievements he is responsible for establishing what is believed to be the best spatial resolution for stress measurements achieved so far in bulk alumina specimens.


15th May 2012

Two recent EPSRC grant awards

Congratulations to Angus Wilkinson and Feliciano Giustino who have both had new grants announced by the EPSRC. Feliciano led a team from Materials and Physics who will work on the design of solid-state semiconductor-sensitized solar cells. Angus with colleagues from Strathclyde, Imperial, Nottingham, Bath and Cambridge will study thenanoscale characterisation of nitride semiconductor thin films using EBSD, ECCI, CL and EBIC.
SuperSTEM facility launch

SuperSTEM facility launch

27th March 2012

Launch of EPSRC National Facility for Aberration-Corrected STEM

A consortium of five UK universities (Oxford, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow) has been awarded £4.5M to operate SuperSTEM as an EPSRC Mid-Range Facility for the next five years.  SuperSTEM offers world leading atomic resolution imaging and spectroscopy capabilities in two scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) instruments.  Pete Nellist of the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford acts as the Consortium Scientific Champion for the facility.  An opening celebration was held in January 2012.  The consortium also recently made a successful bid to the EPSRC Strategic Equipment Panel for a further £1M to enable the purchase of a new instrument offering spectroscopic resolution to better than 60 meV with high spatial resolution.

SuperSTEM is available for all EPSRC eligible researchers, and can be accessed via

Nanotest plus researchers

Nanotest plus researchers

13th March 2012

New High Temperature Nanotest Equipment

Department of Materials researchers developing Materials for Fusion & Fission Power have just installed a unique high temperature nanoindenter capable of testing between -30°C and 750°C. Both tip and sample are heated, giving a well-characterised indentation temperature. As well as operating as a nanoindenter, the inclusion of a piezoelectric nanopositioning stage allows use in AFM mode, so that small test elements such as microcantilevers can be located, imaged and tested. The machine, manufactured by Micromaterials Ltd, has completed its initial trials, and is now (Feb 2012) being used for the first experiments.

USS Monitor

2nd March 2012

150 years after the USS Monitor

9th March 2012 is the 150th anniversary of the action between USS Monitor and CSS Virginia on the second day of the Battle of Hampton in the American Civil War. This was the first ever engagement between two ironclad warships, and the USS Monitor was the first warship to have her main guns on a rotating turret. The result was inconclusive but did not prevent the US Navy from maintaining its blockade of Hampton Roads. The Monitor sank under tow of Cape Hatteras on 31st December 1862. The wreck was located in 1977 and is now part of a US Marine Sanctuary. Because of sea conditions the wreck is deteriorating badly and important parts, notably the turret with its guns and the engine have been raised for conservation and preservation at the Mariners Museum, Newport News VA.

Hwei Tan's Part II project with Peter Northover and Chris Salter is to characterise samples of both ferrous and non-ferrous alloys from the Monitor in order to understand the supply of material for its construction in  the mid-19th century USA, and also to explore their present state of corrosion. The results will assist both the interpretation of the vessel's construction and the efforts towards its preservation. To provide an important comparison she is also characterising samples from a steam locomotive lost at sea on its way to Canada in 1857. The materials are very similar but it is in a much colder and less saline environment off the coast of Scotland so that the corrosion is much less advanced.

Graph of leavers' salaries ©THE

Graph of leavers' salaries ©THE

10th February 2012

Materials graduates ranked as top Oxford earners

The Times Higher Education magazine (THE) magazine  recently highlighted Oxford’s published data from the survey of Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education.   From the 2009 and 2010 data comparing graduate salaries six months after leaving Oxford, the department is very pleased to see that Materials graduates have the highest average earnings.

Nuclear Research Centre Logo

Nuclear Research Centre Logo

4th January 2012

Launch of Bristol/Oxford Nuclear Research Centre

The NRC is a joint initiative between the University of Bristol and the University of Oxford, creating a centre of national and international importance in Nuclear Research. Over 180 people attended the official opening last November by the UK Minister of State at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, Charles Hendry.