Explore our Research Areas
We use cold atoms and molecules to test fundamental physics, measure tiny forces, control quantum systems and develop quantum technologies. Our research within cold matter includes low energy tests of fundamental physics, ultracold molecules and quantum technologies based on atom interferometry.
Read more about our research on The Centre for Cold Matter page.
Complexity and Networks
Through data-driven research and modelling, we investigate the properties of systems whose complex behaviour emerges from large numbers of interacting components. For example, why are ant societies, whose elaborate highly-organised macroscopic (colony-level) properties emerge from microscopic interactions between ants, so successful?
Correlated Quantum Systems
Using theoretical techniques from quantum field theory and computer simulations, we study the cooperative collective behaviour of nanoscale quantum systems. Specific systems of interest include dissipationless phases of matter, which may be useful for quantum information processing, and the dynamics of nanoscale mechanical systems driven far from equilibrium. Our work continually throws up fundamental questions relating to quantum mechanics and how thermodynamics may be adapted to nanometre length scales.
We use ions traps to develop new quantum control techniques, test fundamental physics and investigate dark matter.
Read more about our research on the Ion Trapping page.
Materials have played a central role in the development of civilisation from the Bronze Age to the Semiconductor Age. We aim to understand and predict the properties of materials and the processes by which they grow or transform. We also provide guidance for experimental research, help to interpret observations, and seek ways to enhance materials’ properties. Our theoretical work is often helped by simulations, which include accurate quantum mechanical calculations, atomistic and more coarsely-grained approaches, and continuum models.
Metamaterials are artificial solids designed to guide electromagnetic fields or acoustic waves. The properties of conventional materials are determined by chemical composition and how the atoms are arranged. Metamaterials, on the other hand, consist of arrays of specially-engineered units organised on much larger length scales. They can be designed to manipulate photons and electrons in ways that cannot be achieved with conventional materials. This has inspired scientists to conceive perfect lenses, new lasers, 'invisibility cloaks’ and opened the door to slow and stopped broadband light.
We explore the collective and emergent properties of spin textures at the nanoscale. The coupling phenomena manifest in both the static magnetic state and the GHz spin-wave excitations. We have interest is aspects of topology and chirality. We are investigating applications including reconfigurable magnonic crystals, neuromorphic computing, and as sources of nanoscale magnetic field textures.
Neuromorphic computing is a fundamental rethinking of computer architectures where artificial, physical neurons and synapses are used to compute, mimicking the structure and functionality of the human brain. It has the potential to provide the energy-efficiency urgently needed to address the unsustainable power consumption of conventional computers. We are exploring the links between the physics of a system and the computing performance, and the potential of magnetic, random lasing, processible electronic memristor and phase change materials for this new technology.
Organic molecules may offer advantage in a type of neuromorphic hardware (memristors) in terms of speed, high on/off ratio, energy efficiency and multiple controllable (redox) states. We are embarking on a new study to examine the potential of different molecular arrangements for application.
Plasmonics and Nanophotonics
Plasmonics and nanophotonics investigates ways to confine electromagnetic radiation to nanoscale volumes below the diffraction limit. This is achieved via the excitation of hybrid light/matter modes in metallic nanostructures, and is developing into a disruptive technology for all areas of science where the manipulation of light is a prominent ingredient: biochemical sensing, solar light harvesting, photomedical therapies, and optoelectronics, for example.
Plastic and Optoelectronics for ICT
Work in this area encompasses plastic electronics, polymer gain media for lasers and optical amplifiers, semiconductor nanophotonics and photonic crystals, highly integrated optics, organic and oxide microelectronics, and quantum optics in the solid state.
Renewable Energy and Materials for Energy Efficient Use
The ability to capture and store solar energy is a key requirement for a sustainable economy. Research concerns the application of nanostructured materials to achieve efficient gains in photovoltaic devices. This includes quantum photovoltaics, ultra-high-efficiency solar cells, organic solar cells, as well as energy efficient materials, solid oxide fuel cells, and materials for energy refrigeration and power transmission.
Research at the Interface with Biomedical Sciences
Focus areas are mid-infrared imaging for cancer detection, nanoplasmonics for biological sensing, and organic photoconductors for x-ray imaging.
Security and Sensors
Research in this area concerns the application of nanostructured optoelectronic materials from plasmonics and metamaterials, nanomagnetism, and narrow-gap semiconductors. We have interest in magnetoresistance and Hall effect materials and devices for sensing applications.
Our interests in superconductivity encompasses a wide range of topics - from understanding fundamental aspects of unconventional superconductivity in low-dimensional hybrids to superconducting devices for quantum technologies. Our facilities range from advanced thin film deposition systems to state-of-the-art characterisation techniques and device development capabilities. We also co-host the Quantum Science and Device Facility for performing scanning probe microscopy and studying quantum transport at milli-Kelvin temperatures.
Topological phases of matter represent a new paradigm for making sense of the qualitative behavior of matter -- be it natural materials, engineered quantum systems, or artificial meta-materials -- with a focus on universal and robust properties such as lossless conductance. Our research in this direction includes both hands-on experiments as well as theoretical investigations into new mechanisms for topological protection. We are particularly excited about the prospects of topological insulators for energy efficient quantum devices and spintronics, as well as the enticing possibility of quantum computation in topological superconductors.