Welcome to Xiaoyan and Stefan!

A warm welcome to Xiaoyan and Stefan who join the group today.

Xiaoyan will be studying for an MPhil, looking at nanowire heterostructures for optoelectronics, co-supervised by Dr David Binks.

Stefan is studying for a PhD co-supervised by Prof. Wendy Flavell, to understand energy dynamics in novel materials for photovoltaics.


Rank Prize Funds – a view from Conor

Conor, a UoM 4th year undergraduate has spent the summer working in the lab (see here for details). He has been kind enough to describe working on a long summer project in the group:

This summer, I spent ten weeks designing, building, and testing a terahertz time domain spectroscopy system that utilised optical laser diodes rather than the standard technique involving femtosecond lasers.  The aim of this system was that it would be significantly cheaper while still retaining the quality of previous systems.

These ten weeks was a huge opportunity to learn in depth about experimental physics and all the struggles and challenges behind the scenes of every journal paper.  Dealing with limited resources, liaising with other members of the PSI, and deciding how to approach and deal with various obstacles to your progress were all vital experiences I went through that helped me develop an understanding of the processes involved in taking on real physical research.

In terms of the experiment itself, I handled the taking of measurements by using electronics and analysed data computationally, as well as designing a number of custom parts for use in the experiment.  I was also able to use relatively low-tech skills I hadn’t expected would be necessary, such as soldering, to build parts, while simultaneously getting to grips with the electron beam lithography technique used to print antennas on semiconductor substrates.

If you are interested in this research or want to know more about research in the group, please contact Patrick.

New Grant – Royal Society Paul Instrument Fund

The group has been awarded a grant by the Royal Society to develop a new optical instrument known as the i-TCSPC. The Paul Instrument Fund, established by the late RW Paul, is intended to help the design and construction of a new piece of apparatus.

The new apparatus will leverage single-photon interference to increase the throughput and speed of spectral acquisition for extremely-low intensity and rapidly varying signals, with potential application in nanotechnology, metrology, and life sciences.

Work on the £52k project will begin in October 2016, and run for two years.

Goodbye and thanks to Conor!

Over the past 10 weeks, Conor Wilman (a UoM undergraduate) has been working with the group developing a low-cost and easy method of doing terahertz spectroscopy, known as terahertz quasi-time-domain-spectroscopy. His work, funded by the Rank Prize Funds Summer Studentship has been in trying to replicate this technique in the Manchester labs.

While the final spectrometer unfortunately did not work out, he produced a number of interesting findings and new designs along the way.

Thanks to Conor!