Department of Materials News 2014

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REF logo

20th December 2014

Results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework Assessment

The department is delighted to report an excellent performance in the 2014 REF announced in December. 60% of our Overall Research was awarded the highest 4* rating (outstanding), and in Impact we were the highest performing materials department in the UK with 90% of our submission receiving the 4* rating.   46% of our submitted Research Outputs were judged to be of 4* quality, and our average across all metrics of 3.58 places us a close 2nd in the UK.  This outcome confirms the department as world-class in materials science research, and we are grateful to our colleagues in industry and partner laboratories for their contribution to our success.


Flexible Film

19th December 2014

Functional Materials Research

Oxford is to lead a £3.1M programme of research into “Wearable and flexible technologies enabled by advanced thin-film manufacture and metrology”, one of 10 projects to benefit from ESPRC's £20M investment in Manufacturing of Advanced Functional Materials, as announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable. Professors Harish Bhaskaran, Hazel Assender and Martin Castell from Oxford Materials will work with a consortium comprising researchers from Oxford (Engineering Science and Physics), Southampton and Exeter universities, along with eight industrial partners, to develop roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques (similar to those currently used to produce crisp packets) for application in the production of low-cost flexible electronics for sensing, display and power generation applications.

Professor Bhaskaran is also part of a second £3.1M project, led by Professor Hewak at Southampton University, on the Manufacturing and Application of Next Generation Chalcogenides where researchers from Southampton, Cambridge, Oxford, Exeter and Heriot-Watt universities, along with 16 industrial partners, will develop new forms of chalcogenide materials for applications in fibre-optic communications, electronic and photonic memories.

NQIT logo

26th November 2014

Oxford to lead Networked Quantum Information Technologies hub

NQIT is one of four Quantum Technology Hubs that will be funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) from the £270 million investment in the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme announced by the Chancellor, George Osborne in his Autumn Statement of 2013. NQIT will receive a total of almost £38m of government funding.

Simon Benjamin and Jason Smith are both Assoicate Directors of NQIT and researchers from the Department of Materials will be leading Work Packages for design of robust quantum devices (led by Simon Benjamin) and for experimental development of solid state subsystems (led by Jason Smith).


Professors Warner, Benjamin and Guistino

30th October 2014

Recognition of Distinction Awards

Congratulations to Simon BenjaminFeliciano Giustino and Jamie Warner who have been awarded the title of Professor in the recent Recognition of Distinction exercise for their outstanding contributions to research and teaching in the university.

Oxtex Logo

19th October 2014

Spin-out company Oxtex to receive £150k ISIS funding

The £1.25 million University of Oxford Isis Fund, set up by Parkwalk Advisors and Isis Innovation in February, has made its first investments in medical device spin-out Oxtex and in software incubator Brainomix.

Spun out by Isis in 2011, Oxtex has raised over £1.4m in start-up fundingand will receive £150,000 from the University of Oxford Isis Fund. This will be used to strengthen the company’s senior management, scale up the device manufacturing and launch its first commercial product for the veterinary market.

Developed by surgeons at the John Radcliffe Hospital and Jan Czernuszka's Biomaterials Group from the Department of Materials, the company’s tissue expander has applications in human reconstructive, dental and veterinary surgery.

RCUK Energy Programme Logo

10th September 2014

Two Low Carbon Vehicle Technologies projects receive £6 million from EPSRC

The two projects, "ELEctrochemical Vehicle Advanced Technology"  and "Ultra Efficient Engines and Fuels",  which are part of the RCUK Energy Programme involve academics from eight universities and  both include researchers from Departments at Oxford.

Professor Peter Bruce and Professor Patrick Grant from the Department of Materials will contribute to the ELEVATE project, led by Professor Rob Thring at Loughborough University, which will develop better materials for energy storage devices such as fuel cells and batteries and improve integration between devices, vehicles and power grids. 

6th August 2014

New facility to focus on Materials

As part of Diamond's pioneering hard X-ray nanoprobe beamline (I14) and electron microscopy centre, Johnson Matthey and Oxford University will each contribute cutting-edge microscopes from JEOL to support research in the physical sciences. These microscopes will complement two other advanced electron microscopes that will also be built at the new centre as part of a National Facility for Cryo-Electron Microscopy. Overall, the new centre will offer unrivalled facilities for research across the biological and physical sciences after the beamline comes online in Spring 2017.

Professor Angus Kirkland, of Oxford University's Department of Materials, said: 'This facility will provide a world class capability for materials imaging and our collaboration with Johnson Matthey will bring real problems into focus and pose new questions. The combination of the two electron microscopes with the Nanoprobe will deliver unique insights and Diamond will provide the best possible environment to enable scientific interaction.'

Prof Brian Eyre

29th July 2014

Professor Brian Eyre CBE, FRS, FREng

It is with sadness that the department announces the death of one of our most respected and eminent colleagues. Brian made important contributions in nuclear technology, including electron microscopy studies of irradiation damage in metals and alloys and the study of the deformation and fracture processes of metals and alloys. He worked for many years for the Central Electricity Generating Board and then for the UK Atomic Energy Authority, including serving as Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive.  He was also Professor of Materials Science in the University of Liverpool from 1979-84, and a Visiting Professor in Liverpool, UCL and here in Oxford. He was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001, the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1992 and to the Foreign Associates of the US National Academy of Engineering in 2009.  Brian continued to offer his encouragement and advice to younger scientists until a few months ago, and he will be sadly missed by the whole UK nuclear community.

18th July 2014

David Cockayne Centre for Electron Microscopy

On 17th July the Department held an opening ceremony for the newly refurbished “David Cockayne Centre for Electron Microscopy” showcasing five new electron microscopes which have been installed this year significantly expanding the capabilities of the Department’s Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis facility.

Rebecca Nicholls

2nd July 2014

Fellowship in Materials for Energy Applications

The Department congratulates Dr Rebecca Nicholls who has just started an EPSRC Fellowship.  Rebecca won the 5-year EPSRC Fellowship to enable breakthroughs in energy materials using advanced microscopy and modelling.