Department of Materials News 2013
20th December 2013
RMS Honorary Fellowship
15th November 2013
Quantum memory 'world record' smashed
An international team of researchers, led by Prof. Mike Thewalt of Simon Fraser University and including Dr Stephanie Simmons from the Department, has recently achieved a room-temperature coherence time of over 39 minutes for the storage of a quantum memory state at room temperature, smashing the previous record. Having such robust, long-lived, qubits is a major step forward in the development of practical quantum computers.
25th October 2013
Two IoM3 prizes for Oxford students
We are delighted to announce that on 25th October two Oxford Materials students were awarded prizes by The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining:
Anna Ploszajski (Mansfield) was awarded the R H Craven award for Best Polymers Graduate
Luke Hanna (Trinity) was awarded the Royal Charter Prize for Best Materials Graduate.
Congratulations Anna and Luke! (© Photographs courtesy IoM3)
17th October 2013
Oxford leads new European consortium on diamond quantum photonics
From November 1st, an Oxford team will lead a consortium of six European research institutions in a three year project entitled Wavelength-tunable Advanced Single Photon Sources (WASPS), funded by the European Commission under FP7. The €2M project coordinated by Dr Jason Smith will develop devices for quantum information technologies in which colour centres in diamond are coupled to optical microcavities to produce single photons in a highly controllable fashion. A central aim of the project is to produce devices that can be operated in a ‘real world’ environment beyond the confines of a laboratory, thus providing an important step towards practical quantum information systems.
The consortium includes researchers at Bristol and Cardiff Universities in the UK, Universität des Saarlandes and Ludwig-Maximilians Universität in Germany, and CNRS Grenoble in France. A ‘kick-off’ meeting for the project will be held in Oxford on December 12/13.
17th October 2013
Two new EPSRC research grants awarded in the Atom Probe Group
The Oxford Materials Atom Probe Group has recently been awarded two research grants from the EPSRC.
The first award – Hydrogen in metals (HEmS) – led in the department by Michael Moody and Paul Bagot is a £5.5M programme grant in collaboration with colleagues in the Oxford Engineering Department and the Universities of Sheffield and Cambridge, Kings College and Imperial College London. HEmS aims to understand, at a fundamental atomistic level, how hydrogen embrittles advanced engineering steels for applications across a wide range of key UK industries.
The second award led by Phil Edmondson and Paul Bagot (with Neil Young of the electron microscopy group) is a 3.5 year ~£2.5M project examining radiation effects in perovskites in conjunction with the Universities of Sheffield, Huddersfield and Imperial College London. This project aims to understand how this class of materials respond to radiation for applications in both nuclear fission and fusion technologies.
30th September 2013
World Economic Forum New Champions
Professor Nicole Grobert from the Department of Materials at Oxford was one of 40 young scientists recognised at a meeting of the World Economic Forum on 11th September 2013 in Dalian, China. Professor Grobert was also part of a European Research Council delegation visiting China to foster relations with Chinese researchers.
Professor Grobert was also one of two speakers leading the panel debate "From research to economic success" at the Alpbach Technology Forum in Austria in August 2013.
19th August 2013
Business Secretary visits BegbrokeBusiness Secretary Dr Vince Cable, MP for Twickenham, visited theBegbroke Science Park on August the 13th with the local Liberal-Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate, Layla Moran. Here they were hearing about some of the nuclear research going on in the department.
25th July 2013
Millions for new research infrastructure
Oxford University projects on robotics, advanced materials, and energy storage have received a multi-million-pound boost thanks to an £85m national investment in technologies to drive UK growth.
"Multifunctional high performance alloys for extreme environments", a joint project between the Department of Materials and Department of Engineering Science, will receive £3.5 million. New modelling, manufacturing and testing laboratories will be established on the Begbroke Science Park, supported by technicians and engineers provided by the University.
The Department of Materials and Department of Engineering Science will also benefit from the £14.3 million project "Energy Storage for Low Carbon Grids" , in collaboration with Imperial College London and other institutions. This project will enable the purchase of specialised equipment to investigate a possible solution to the challenge of large scale energy storage.
10th July 2013
2 Fellowships in Nuclear Materials
The Department congratulates Dr Phil Edmondson and Dr David Armstrong for their recently announced fellowship awards. Phil won a 5-year EPSRC Nuclear Fellowship to study Fundamentals of the Behaviour of Fission Products in Oxide Nuclear Fuels and Dave a 5-year Royal Academy of Engineering fellowship on Micro-Engineering Advanced Alloys for Extreme Nuclear Power Environments.
5th July 2013
Work hard, play hard!
The department congratulates Part II student Sam Agarwal who has set a record not equalled since 1827 by scoring 313 not out in the Varsity Cricket Match against Cambridge. We are all very impressed that at the same time as playing for the Dark Blues, he successfully completed the research for his Part II.
3rd June 2013
Noisy quantum networks
Simon Benjamin and co-workers from London and Singapore have shown the feasibility of a new route to practical quantum technology, one of the UK's 'grand challenges' in physics. Writing in the journal Nature Communications they argue we should break a large device into thousands of pieces, and then wire them back together.
The task of making a full size, useful quantum computer is very hard because quantum systems are extremely delicate. It is proving very difficult to create the quantum equivalent of silicon chips, with thousands of components laid out in a dense pattern. Benjamin and co-authors argue that perhaps we shouldn't try: instead, a better method would be to build only tiny chunks or 'cells', each with a only few components. These would be easier to control and in fact this has been achieved in the lab using materials like doped diamond. The trick is then to 'wire up' the pieces -- the new research shows that this should be surprisingly straightforward. In fact the wires can be imperfect, introducing lots of errors or 'noise', and yet the complete system can be made to function perfectly.
22nd April 2013
Three academic appointments
The Materials Department is delighted to welcome 3 new members of academic staff. Professor Roger Reed has joined us from Birmingham University as a joint appointment with Engineering Science. His research field is alloys for extreme environments. Dr Jamie Warner(Oxford) and Dr Harish Bhaskaran (Exeter) are new permanent Research Lecturers. Jamie leads a group working on synthetic carbon nanomaterials, including graphene, for opto-electronic applications. Harish is an expert in manufacturing and applications of nanoscale devices, particularly in the development of energy efficient nanoscale manufacturing and nano-electromechanical systems. We are looking forward to working closely with all 3 of them.
9th April 2013
Manufacturing the future: endohedral fullerenes, small molecules, big challenges
Dr Kyriakos Porfyrakis has been awarded an EPSRC Fellowship to explore the manufacturing capacity and chemical functionalization of endohedral fullerenes. The grant, worth £1.5M over 5 years, will allow Kyriakos to develop manufacturing methods for large-scale production of a variety of endohedral fullerenes. These molecules have attractive properties for a number of applications including energy harvesting, medical imaging and nanoelectronics. This project will develop the methodologies for gram-scale synthesis of nanomaterials and will synthesise molecules that are designed for specific applications. The research will involve collaboration withProf. Hisanori Shinohara at Nagoya University and with Prof. Luis Echegoyen at The University of Texas (El Paso) who are both experts in endohedral fullerenes. The work will also involve collaborating with industry for commercial exploitation of the materials made in the laboratory.
19th March 2013
Comic relief bake-off at Begbroke
The first annual international Comic Relief Bake-off at Begbroke on Friday was a great success, the winners were:
1st Vitaliy Babenko (Materials)
2nd Phil Anderson (Engineering)
3rd Assia Kasdi (Materials)
£100.65 was raised for Comic Relief
Thanks to all those who attended and a special thanks to Natasha and Chris for organizing and making the attached poster with some photos from the day.
8th March 2013
Interview about nuclear materials research in Oxford
James Marrow (James Martin Chair in Energy Materials) has been interviewed by James Martin (benefactor of the Oxford Martin School) on the nuclear materials research in Oxford, and its contribution towards solving the global energy challenges of the 21st Century. Some of this work is supported by the Oxford Martin School programme in Nuclear and Energy Materials. The discussion focused on questions that included: Can nuclear power ever be completely safe? Is nuclear power the best solution for world energy needs? and how can improved materials contribute to the safety of nuclear power stations? Some of these points are captured in a pair of podcasts, available from the Oxford Martin School website.
13th February 2013
Research into the next generation of mobile devices
The Departments of Engineering Science and Materials have been awarded a three year research contract worth approximately US$1.5m over three years by Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) to open a new paradigm of flexible energy storage and generation systems.
Professor Jong Min Kim, Principal Investigator of the project, will lead the flexible energy generation, device design, integration and testing. Professor Kim said: “This research will be based on a new concept of flexible energy generation/storage for the next generation of mobile devices”.
Professor Patrick Grant will lead the research on the manufacture and characterisation of flexible energy storage, materials and sub-systems using recent developments in carbon and other nano-materials.
The research will also involve close collaboration with Professor Han Soo Kim at Hanyang University in South Korea, who is an expert in energy storage devices. The final stages of the research will involve translating the work to collaborating industries.
28th January 2013
EU Funding for GRAPHENE announced
Funding for the 1 billion Euro EU FET Flagship project GRAPHENE has just been announced. Feliciano Giustino will be contributing to this enormous project in the area of the computational modelling of photovoltaic materials and devices based on graphene.
18th January 2013
Hirsch Lecture 2013 podcast
On 18th January 2013 Mark Miodownik, Professor of Materials and Society at University College London, gave the Hirsch Lecture 2013 entitled "Strange Materials".
The lecture is available via the podcasts web site:
Alternatively it can be accessed via the Oxford on iTunesU site:
The video podcast series is in here:https://itunes.apple.com/gb/itunes-u/department-of-materials/id425665707
The audio podcast series is here:https://itunes.apple.com/gb/itunes-u/department-of-materials/id425666524
Note Prof Miodownik will be giving another talk on "Strange Material" on 22nd February at the Royal Institution.