Nanoscience and nanotechnology

We conducts extensive research into the design, growth and fabrication of semiconductor and optical devices on the nanometer scale using techniques ranging from MOCVD growth to ion beam processing. Such devices by virtue of their scale, exploit quantum effects to enhance their performance. A large part of this research program focuses on quantum well lasers and detectors of importance to the telecommunications industry.

We also research the nanoscale modification of bulk materials such as nanocrystals within semiconductors induced by ion irradiation. materials modified in this way can have unusual and technologically useful properties such as light emission at wavelengths incompatible with the bulk material band structure.

Nanotubes as their name suggests are microscopically small pipes of material such as carbon - like an elongated form of a "buckie ball". These have exciting properties such as unimaginably high tensile strengths and the School has an active research program on the efficient production of nanotubes by mechano chemistry.

Selected research highlights

Potential student research projects

You could be doing your own research into fusion and plasma confinement. Below are some examples of student physics research projects available in RSPE.

Please browse our full list of available physics research projects to find a project that interests you.

This project will address significant problems of feasibility and tunability of novel photonic metadevices aiming to open novel possibilities for a control of light flows topologically protected against scattering losses, energy leaking, or imperfections. 

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Auger electrons are emitted after nuclear decay and are used for medical purposes. The number of Auger electrons generated per nuclear decay is not known accurately, a fact that  hinders medical applications.  This project aims to obtain a experimental estimate of the number of Auger electrons emitted per nuclear decay.


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Develop and utilise computer simulations to analyse synchrotron based scattering from nano-sized objects.

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There is an imminent need to reduce our dependence on carbon-based fuels in order to minimize the
potential adverse outcomes associated with climate change. This project aims to develop an efficient means of producing clean hydrogen fuel by splitting water under sunlight using novel hematite based semiconductor electrodes for efficient solar hydrogen generation.

» Find out more about this project

Updated:  15 June 2016/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster