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Material Systems studies materials at the atomic and molecular level, and up to the nanometre scale, looking to create new materials and novel combinations of materials for applications in electronics, photonics, smart fabrics, and future generations of engines and lightweight components.
We study the physical properties of various classes of materials and their surfaces, and how they could be used in technological and biological applications.
Our techniques include experimental work on surface and material characterisation, and material synthesis, as well as modelling, simulation and validation. We focus on functional materials and surfaces, made from semiconductors, plastics, metals, composites, and alloys.
Our theoretical background is drawn mostly from physics and chemistry, including solid state physics, quantum physics, thermodynamics, and metrology. Practical techniques include sintering methods, self-organised material growth, and functionalization of surface layers. Organic chemistry is also fundamental for our development of new biomaterials.
We conduct research and technical development in applied physics and advanced metrology for industrial use. Our research is mainly focussed on determining the electromagnetic and structural properties of surfaces and materials, and on fluid dynamics, especially airflow and sound generation around wind turbines.
Our goal is through in-house expertise and strategic collaboration, to develop an understanding of the interplay between the makeup of surface layers and their functional properties.
Our work in this field includes research into materials and process development for the casting industry, with an emphasis on lightweight materials.
The early phase of product development (Design)
We are developing networks and collaborations to initiate research into the interplay between traditional product development and design in small and medium sized businesses.
Applied construction (Digital tools)
A further theme of our research is the development of specifications for material properties for product development and design, and to ensure reliable documentation of products and materials.
We investigate how the properties of materials change on the nanometer scale, where new phenomena can emerge and the rules governing the properties of bulk materials may be bent or broken. We concentrate on the behaviour and potential applications of quantum dots and
nanowires, with an emphasis on optoelectronics, particularly in the infrared. Examples include the use of quantum dots in dot-in-well and dot-to-bulk configurations to improve the performance of infrared photodetectors for thermal imaging, and III-V semiconductor nanowire p- i-n photodetectors integrated on silicon substrates. We also investigate spintronics and the properties of magnetic nanowires.
The image is from recent research on tuning the properties of arrays of nanowire photodetectors. This work was published as a featured article in the journal Nanotechnology (Vishal Jain et al 2017 Nanotechnology 28 114006).