Materials Science Institute Conference Speakers

The main conference will feature a series of short talks from academia, the public sector, and industry, providing excellent networking opportunities for all delegates.

Keynote speakers from Lancaster University, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and the EPSRC, will discuss the importance of materials science in an afternoon session on Tuesday 22nd March.


Tuesday 22nd March

Theme 1: Photonics and Nanostructures


Dr Tommaso Orzali, Cardiff University


Dr Andrew Marshall, Lancaster University


Long-wavelength VCSELs: Materials, Devices and Applications

Prof Markus-Christian Amann, Technische Universität München

InP-based VCSELs based on the buried-tunnel-junction (BTJ) technology for the 1.3-2.5 μm wavelength range are presented. These devices show excellent lasing behaviour regarding stationary and dynamic characteristics such as very small threshold currents and threshold voltages around 1 mA and below 1 V, respectively. At 85°C, output powers in the milliwatt range are observed. Nanofabrication techniques are applied to accomplish lasing with deterministic and stable polarisation as well as emission into an equally spaced 4-wavelength grid. Accordingly, stable spectral single-mode emission with side-mode suppression ratio well beyond 40 dB is maintained over the relevant temperature and current ranges. The lasers accomplish high-speed and energy-efficient modulation exceeding 20 GHz in small-signal and 30 Gb/s in NRZ pulse modulation. They can be made tuneable with continuous tuning over more than 50 nm. The wavelength range further up to 3μm, which is important for gas-sensing applications, is addressable by GaSb-based BTJ-VCSELs. Recent device results and gas sensing application examples are demonstrated.

Markus-Christian Amann received the Diplom degree in electrical engineering in 1976 and the Dr.-Ing. degree in 1981, both from the Technical University of Munich. From 1981 to 1994 he was with the Corporate Research Laboratories of the Siemens AG in Munich where he was involved in the research on long-wavelength InGaAsP-InP laser diodes. In 1994 he joined the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Kassel as a full professor for “Technical Electronics”. Since 1997 he is a director of the Walter Schottky Institute at the Technical University of Munich, where he is currently engaged in the research on semiconductor optoelectronics, tunable laser diodes, quantum cascade lasers, long-wavelength vertical-cavity laser-diodes and laser diode applications.

He has authored or co-authored more than 500 articles (including some 50 invited) on semiconductor optoelectronics in scientific journals and conference proceedings, and co-authored two books. He is a member of the German Informationstechnische Gesellschaft (ITG), and a Fellow of the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society.


Current directions in photonic devices in telecommunications

Michael Robertson, CIP Technologies

In this talk, Michael will briefly outline the directions for optical telecommunication systems, and the issues currently seen as critical in the development of new optoelectronic devices, and point to areas where new materials and technological approaches may offer solutions.

Michael Robertson (Research and Collaboration Manager) has more than 30 years’ experience in semiconductor optoelectronics for telecommunications. Over this time, he has studied many types of device including lasers, modulators, optical switches and detectors. He has covered all aspects of their development including device design, epitaxy, fabrication, characterization and reliability testing. He has published more than 75 papers and submitted more than 10 patent applications. He is currently Research and Collaboration Manager for CIP.



Theme 2: Quantum Sciences


Dr Thierry Ferrus, Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory


Superconductivity in graphene: new physics and applications

Dr Jonathan Prance, Lancaster University

Although graphene is not a superconducting material, super-current is able to flow several microns through high-quality graphene when it is placed in close proximity with a superconductor. The unusual properties of graphene mean that this superconducting proximity effect can now be observed in a material where the density of carriers can be controlled and where carrier transport is ballistic and coherent. In this talk I will present measurements of high-quality, niobium-graphene-niobium junctions and describe some of the unexpected behaviour seen in this system. In particular, we have found that super-current through the junctions, which should be supressed in magnetic fields of a few millitesla, actually survives in magnetic fields as high as 1 T. We attribute this high-field supercurrent to mesoscopic states that exist near the edges of the graphene. The work reveals new regimes where super-current can be controlled by quantum confinement and cyclotron motion, and points the way to new applications for graphene-based superconducting devices.

Jonathan Prance is a Lecturer in the Physics Department at Lancaster University. He studies the low-temperature properties of nanoelectronic structures and their applications to Quantum Technologies. Prior to joining Lancaster, Jonathan undertook research on silicon spin qubits at the University of Wisconsin Madison and completed his PhD on quantum-dot-based refrigeration at the University of Cambridge.


Dr Freddie Withers, National Graphene Institute, University of Manchester


Nano-Identification: The Fingerprints of the Future

Jonathan Roberts, Lancaster University

The rise of modern technology has ushered in exciting new technologies such as self-driving cars, wearable technology and the ability to make purchases with a touch of your phone. This upsurge of technology has, unfortunately, provided a pathway in which criminals can tread; using these advanced tools for nefarious purposes. A popular example is counterfeiting, which leads us to a question: How do you tell the difference between a real device and a fake device? The answer to this question lies in the production of devices that provide a check of authenticity - much in the same way that a person’s fingerprint can be used to verify their identity. Contemporary anti-counterfeiting solutions are used for this purpose but have multiple flaws, the most critical of which is the readiness with which they can be duplicated, providing criminals with a way to bypass the security. Here at Lancaster, we are creating devices using quantum technologies that can provide this check of authenticity with infallible security. To do this, we have manufactured nanoscale devices that comprise random imperfections from device-to-device on the atomic level. In this talk I will describe how by using unique and unclonable imperfections on this scale, we have generated an impassable barrier for criminals and counterfeiters, leading to a safe and secure future for everyone.

Jonathan started his PhD in 2012 with the EPSRC NowNano doctoral training centre, a multidisciplinary collaboration between Lancaster University and The University of Manchester, after achieving first class honours in a Masters in Physics from the University of Sheffield. His research interests include nanotechnology, optoelectronics and semiconductor devices with a speciality in their applications to security. In 2015, he was the overall winner of the EPSRC UK ICT Pioneers award, a prestigious competition held for ICT-related disciplines with judges from Samsung, Facebook, EPSRC, HP, BT, dtsl and dstl. He also won the IOP research communication award at the UK semiconductors conference and has published a first-author paper into the Nature journal Scientific Reports which was subsequently highlighted on the BBC news website. 



Keynote Speeches



Prof. Mark E. Smith, Vice Chancellor, Lancaster University


Introduction to the Lancaster Materials Science Institute

Prof. Oleg Kolosov, Interim Institute Director


Business Engagement at Lancaster University

Dr Mark Rushforth, Head of Business Partnerships & Enterprise, Faculty of Science & Technology

There are a range of mechanisms for businesses to engage with researchers within the Faculty of Science & Technology. These range from student placements, contract research, professional development and multi-partner collaborative research projects. Lancaster has an established track record in working in collaboration with a variety of external organisations and we are keen to develop new and existing partnerships.

Mark's role as Head of Business Partnerships and Enterprise, Physical Sciences includes the management of the new Impact Acceleration Account from the EPSRC and support for the development of proposed ERDF investments in physics, chemistry and engineering. He works as part of a wider team to develop partnerships with businesses across Energy Lancaster, the Quantum Technology Centre, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Advanced Manufacturing.

Mark has a PhD in Materials Engineering from the University of Birmingham and previously worked in grant capture roles at Dublin City University and Coventry University, predominantly focusing on collaborative proposal development for EU Framework 6/7 and Technology Strategy Board funding schemes.


UK Prosperity – the role for Materials Science

Dr Andrew Bourne, Associate Director, EPSRC

EPSRC’s contribution to the UK is founded on our investment in excellent research and postgraduate training which has beneficial impact for society and the economy, and which delivers highly skilled, numerate individuals with potential to become leaders in industry, the public sector and academia.

Our vision for 2016-20, and beyond, is for our investments to explicitly support four inter-linked outcomes which collectively underpin UK prosperity.

The short presentation will outline:

  • EPSRC’s outcome-based approach (Productivity, Connectedness, Resilience and Health)
  • The role materials science might play in the strategic research programmes currently under development to contribute to these outcomes
  • The balance between ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches to solve the national and global problems of our age.

Andrew’s main responsibility is to lead EPSRC’s strategic interactions with the university sector who deliver much of the research portfolio, skilled people and economic and social impact commissioned via our Delivery Plan.

Andrew has corporate specific oversight for our relationships with Imperial, UCL, Nottingham and Strathclyde Universities, Funding Councils, AWE, NPL and Siemens. Andrew is also responsible for EPSRC’s Delivery Plan submission 2016 – 2020 and its subsequent implementation.

Previously Andrew has led:

  • the Physical Sciences Capability theme commissioning research and training within the fundamental chemistry, physics, and materials portfolio
  • the Council’s postgraduate training portfolio
  • the grants processing team for Science
  • the Engineering Sector team (covering business engagement in the Aerospace and Defence, Energy, Construction, Environment & Water, and Manufacturing sectors)



Prof. Mike Hinton, Interim Chief Technology Officer, High Value Manufacturing Catapult




Wednesday 23rd March

Theme 3: Artificial Materials


Unlocking the Potential of Metal-Glass Composites

Dr Svetlana Zolotovskaya, Lancaster University

Glass staining with noble metal particles has a long history. The earliest known and most famous example of such a glass is the ‘Lycurgus’ cup — the Roman goblet dated from the 4th century AD. It appears red in the transmitted light and green when viewed in the reflected light. Its unique appearance is determined by the presence of metal particles with dimensions substantially smaller than the wavelength of light.

In her presentation, Svetlana will focus on the artificial materials created by controllable formation of metal nanoparticles in glass matrices, so-called Metal-Glass Composites. She will explore pathways to tailor their optical properties in order to provide new functionalities for a wide range of applications from security and sensing to optical component integration.

Svetlana joined Lancaster University in September 2015, as a Lecturer in Materials Science & Engineering – part of the 50th Anniversary Lectureships Scheme. Her current research interests include development of photonic materials & devices, biomedical photonics, laser spectroscopy and laser micro/nano materials processing. Svetlana obtained her PhD in 2009 on the development of novel photonics systems for biomedical applications at the University of Dundee and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Dundee, University of St Andrews and STFC Daresbury Laboratory between 2009 and 2015.


SYMETA: SYnthesizing 3D METAmaterials for RF, microwave and THz applications

Prof. Yiannis Vardaxoglou, Loughborough University

SYMETA is a 5 year research programme and a 5 University consortium supported by 15 companies addressing EPSRC’s Grand Challenge: Engineering across length scales, from atoms to applications; SYMETA is a radical research project with the potential to transform communication, electronics and manufacturing industries. Metamaterials offer a unique opportunity, however up until now, manufacture of metamaterials has been limited to the small-scale through work taking place in University labs and workshops.  SYMETA offers a truly disruptive advancement in the technology:  to scale up the manufacture of materials with end-user-defined electromagnetic parameters, with metallic, dielectric and magnetic inclusions.  Wireless products will be manufactured at rapid rates, at the point of use and with minimal waste. SYMETA will manufacture materials from which the subwavelength building blocks ("meta-atoms") can be constructed. SYMETA will electromagnetically characterise current materials used in additive manufacture and will design, manufacture and test new materials developed by the consortium partners.

The talk will introduce this Grand Challenge and outline SYMETA’s building blocks and organisation.

Yiannis Vardaxoglou is the Head of the Wireless Communications Research Group (WiCR) researching wide-ranging topics applicable to cutting-edge wireless communications technology. His research focuses primarily on antennas, microwave and mm-wave engineering, and metamaterial structures, with income >£10M (300 publications). He authored a pioneering book on Frequency Selective Surfaces. WiCR collaborates with many internationally leading companies and universities and is home to the internationally renowned Loughborough Antennas & Propagation Conference (currently in its 12th year).


E-band transceiver design at Filtronic

Dr Christopher M Buck, Filtronic Broadband Ltd

This talk will describe the materials requirements for a typical ultra-high frequency (86GHz) electronics module. In this case, the example is a transceiver which Filtronic have designed and manufacture for use in the mobile backhaul network. The various functions are achieved with the latest technologies based on gallium arsenide Integrated Circuits, and waveguide and these will be described. The talk will conclude with some opportunities where new materials may improve module performance

Dr Christopher Buck is the Technology Manager at Filtronic Broadband Limited and has over 30 years’ experience with MMIC design and technology. In this role, he has led a team designing E-band MMICs for Filtronic’s mm-wave products and is responsible for their integration into the company’s mm-wave transceiver modules.

In his previous employment, after graduating from Manchester University, Chris worked for Philips for 23 years at the manufacturing site in Manchester and at the UK research site in Redhill, developing semiconductor processes leading to MMIC design then integration into mm-wave radios.


Mm-wave and THz metasurfaces and antennas

Dr Alexandros Feresidis, University of Birmingham

Millimeter-wave and terahertz (THz) frequencies offer new opportunities for communications, sensing and imaging applications. These include multi-Gigabit/s short range communication links as well as highly resolution sensing and imaging, such as medical and security scanning systems. Meta-surfaces are periodic arrangements of passive metallic elements and have been proposed recently for a number of applications such as the design of high performance planar antennas and quasi-optical components. This presentation will discuss the design of multi-layer periodic surfaces for applications such as high gain antennas, quasi-optical phase shifters and filters. The fabrication and implementation at mm-wave and low-THz frequencies using innovative micromachining processes will be presented.

Alexandros Feresidis is a Senior Lecturer in Communications Engineering at the School of Engineering, University of Birmingham, and a former Royal Academy of Engineering/ Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow. He leads research on artificial electromagnetic metamaterial structures, antennas, microwave/mmWave circuits and systems. Dr Feresidis has published more than 130 papers in peer reviewed international journals and conference proceedings and has co-authored three book chapters. His work has been cited over 2000 times with h-index of 17. He has also presented a number of invited papers and seminars in international conferences and European PhD schools. He is a member of the UK EPSRC Peer Review College and he is on the Editorial Board of IET Microwaves, Antennas and Propagation journal. He recently served as Lead Guest Editor in an IET Special Issue on “Emerging Reconfigurable Antenna Technologies”. He currently leads projects on mm-wave and terahertz antennas for communications and radar systems.


Dr Rosa Letizia



Theme 4: Chemistry & Biomaterials   


Prof. Matthew Rosseinsky, University of Liverpool


Modelling Porous Organic Materials for Energy Applications a bottom-up approach to rational property design 

Dr Abbie Trewin, Lancaster University

Materials with molecular-scale porosity are important in wide range of energy applications such as gas storage, molecular separation, heterogeneous catalysis, energy generation and energy storage.

The ability to rationally predict and hence design the porous properties of materials for specific energy applications is a key challenge for materials discovery. Here, I show how taking a bottom-up approach and assessing the structure-directing influences of the material building blocks can lead to new ‘rational design’ strategies.

Dr Abbie Trewin is a University of Liverpool graduate (2002), obtaining her Ph.D there in 2005 using density functional theory (DFT) to investigate the surface structure of different metals with carbon, particularly the Ni(111) surface. In 2006 she joined the materials chemistry group of Prof. Andy Cooper as a post doctoral research assistant. In 2009, she was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. Abbie joined The University of Lancaster in August 2013. Abbie specialises in modelling porous materials. Working in close collaboration with leading synthetic groups she has developed novel methodologies for computational analysis of structure, guest uptake mechanisms and guest selectivity of porous materials. 



Dr Emily Parnham, DuPont Teijin Films UK



Prof. Melinda Duer, University of Cambridge



Dr John Hardy, Lancaster University