Applied X-ray spectroscopy


PhD students

Nathalie Fernando

Nathalie Fernando
Nathalie graduated with an Integrated Master’s degree in Physics from UCL in 2017. During her studies, she completed a range of projects for instance, using models to predict the physical conditions NASA’s Juno spacecraft would encounter and studying magnetic nanoparticle hyperthermia devices. She developed an interest in Condensed Matter Physics and for her Master’s project Nathalie investigated the Memory Effect observed in Layered Double Hydroxides using XRD, under the supervision of Prof. Neal Skipper. For her PhD she joined the Advanced Characterisation of Materials CDT based at UCL and Imperial. She is studying the radiation damage caused to catalyst materials by lab-based and synchrotron X-ray characterisation techniques with supervisors Dr. Anna Regoutz and Prof. Robert Palgrave at UCL and Dr Andrew Cairns at Imperial. You can find an up to date list of Nathalie’s publication on Google Scholar.


Curran Kalha
Curran graduated with an Integrated Master’s degree in Chemical and Process Engineering from the University of Leeds in 2019. During his third year of study, Curran worked on a project in association with Proctorand Gamble, to design a new processing route for the manufacture of high bulkdensity detergent powder. During this project, Curran gained experience in the field of powder research, both theoretically and experimentally. This experience led him to an industrial placement at the Ministry of Defence, wherehe switched working with detergent powder for energetic formulations. Here he developed the process route and characterisation protocol for a new PBX formulation. Curran’s work was selected for presentation at the 49th International Annual Conference of the Fraunhofer ICT on Energetic Materials. After completing the year placement, Curran developed an interest in developing and characterising new materials. Upon returning to university, Curran decided to focus his master’s research on investigating the synthesis of garnet oxide materials for all-solid-state Li-ion batteries using various sol-gel processing techniques. He is joining the group to study oxide heterostructures using lab-based andsynchrotron X-ray characterisation techniques with a focus on studying power electronic materials with HAXPES. He will be supervised by Dr. Anna Regoutz and Prof. Robert Palgrave.

Veronica Nacci
Veronica holds an MRes in Catalysis from Imperial College where she focused on the study of the photocatalytic insertion of oxygen into metal-alkyl bonds. Previously, she studied the production and properties of compostable plastic (PLA) as part of her BSc, also at Imperial. She has experience with a range of analytical techniques, such as HPLC, NMR, and SEM, as well as DFT and other computational techniques. Through her MRes, she developed a strong interest in the application of these techniques in materials chemistry. She joined the Applied X-Ray Spectroscopy group under the supervision of Dr. Anna Regoutz for her PhD focusing on metal oxide thin films for electronic devices.

Yujiang Zhu
Yujiang graduated from UCL with a MSc in Advanced Materials Science in 2020. He received a BEng in Materials Science and Engineering from Beijing University of Technology in 2019. During his undergraduate time, his research was mainly focused on energy storage, especially electrochromic films, and it resulted in two patents and one scientific publication. He has worked on a range of materials including tungsten oxide, nickel oxide, Prussian Blue, and polyaniline and assembled a flexible electrochromic device his final research project. After that, he developed more interest in electrodes and for his research project, supervised by Dr. Yohan Dall’agnese at UCL, transparent conductive electrodes based on silver nanowires were synthesized by polyol method and compared with ITO electrodes. Currently, he is a PhD member in the group of Applied X-Ray Spectroscopy with supervisor Dr. Anna Regoutz. His research concerns the synthesis and characterization of copper oxide nanostructures applied in biosensor assemblies.

Masters students


Ebru Kurtulus
Ebru is a final year MSci Chemistry student at University College London. She is joining the group to study the effects of radiation on organometallic catalysts. The project will involve the use of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) to gain insights into changes to local chemical environments, the electronic structure, and structure of organometallic catalysts. Theoretical results from density functional theory calculations will also be used in order to understand the experimental observations in more detail. This project will be undertaken in collaboration with Dr Laura Ratcliff at Imperial College London.


Carolina Vigil Hernández
Carolina is a final year MSci Chemistry student at University College London. She is joining the group to work on the synthesis and characterisation of Copper Oxide Nanostructures for Non-Enzymatic Glucose Sensing. Carolina has just arrived from her year abroad at the University of Texas, at Austin. In Austin, she worked on the synthesis and characterisation of Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) under the supervision of Dr Simon Humphrey. She is deeply interested in research, both medical and chemical. She has had the opportunity to work for a few months at a hospital lab in Spain and also has had the experience of interning at a multinational pharmaceutical company in Germany.

Jiebin Li

Jiebin Li
Jiebin Li is a MSc student currently studying Applied Analytical Chemistry at UCL. He spent the last two years of his undergraduate study at University of Liverpool, including a final year project under the supervision of Dr Haifei Zhang, which is about transition metal complex catalysis. During the summer before his postgraduate study, he had a short internship at Hubei Institute of Food and Drug Control, where he tested a batch of Compound Amino Acid Injection using HPLC. For his postgraduate research, he will be studying the interpretation of X-ray spectroscopy of titanium chalcogenides within this research group, under the supervision of Dr Anna Regoutz.

MWolinska photo

Marta Wolinska
Marta Wolinska is a final year Meng Materials Science and Engineering student in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London. Marta will be studying the local chemical environments as well as the electronic structure of aromatic amino acids. To do this she will combine experimental and theoretical approaches. The project will use density functional theory, primarily the MADNESS framework, to find the binding energy of functional groups and derive their electronic structure. This will be correlated with experimental results from X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), where the functional groups and valence states of the amino acids will be probed. Marta is based at Imperial College, where she is supervised by Dr Laura Ratcliff, who is covering the theoretical aspects of the project.

Yun Zhou

Yun Zhou
Yun Zhou is an MSc Materials for Energy and Environment student at University College London. She graduated from the University of Science and Technology Beijing, majoring in Inorganic Non-metallic Materials. During her undergraduate studies, she finished her undergraduate research project which focused on ferroelectricity properties and energy storage performance of BiFeO3-BaTiO3 lead-free ceramics. In the future, she will focus on CuO/Cu2O nanostructure synthesis. All along, she is developing several basic data analysis skills to improve her research ability.

Undergraduate students

Prajna Bhatt

Prajna Bhatt
Prajna is a third year MSci Natural Sciences student at University College London, specialising in inorganic and materials chemistry. Her interests include glass coatings, nanotubes and semiconductor materials. She has previously worked at FDC pharmaceuticals as a lab assistant to aid in purifying flurbiprofen. Prajna spent summer 2019 in the group working on a project on core state energies of molecular catalysts co-supervised with Dr Laura Ratcliff at Imperial College London. Prajna is currently undertaking her literature project within the group looking into how X-ray free electron lasers have been used for photoelectron spectroscopy.

Visiting Academicss

Susanna Ericsson_DSC_8351

Dr Susanna Eriksson
Susanna Eriksson has a PhD in Physical Chemistry (2014) from Uppsala University, Sweden, mainly doing photoemission on materials for dye sensitized solar cells and batteries using HAXPES and APPES. Currently Susanna’s main activities are as business unit director for electron spectroscopy at Scienta Omicron in Sweden.

Dr Laura Ratcliff
Laura is an EPSRC Early Career Research Fellow in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London. She obtained her PhD from Imperial College London in 2012 and held postdoc positions at the Laboratory of Atomistic Simulation at CEA in Grenoble, France, followed by the Leadership Computing Facility at Argonne National Laboratory in the US. She returned to Imperial College in 2017 to take up her fellowship. Her research centres around the development of new methods for first principles materials modelling, with a focus on simulating large systems containing 1000s of atoms. She develops three density functional theory codes – BigDFT, ONETEP and MADNESS. Her interests lie in both the development of software for the efficient use of supercomputers and in applications to a diverse range of materials and properties. Find out more about her work here.

Group November 2018
The group in November 2018. Dr Susanna Eriksson, Dr Anna Regoutz, Ruby Freeman, Mevin Wan, Helen Tan, Jo Pi, and Yuxuan Wang.
The group in May 2018. Qiaochu Luo, Zhuocheng Xu, Xiangqi Hu, Amy Tall, Dr Anna Regoutz, Shijia Liu, and Ayse Ay.

Former Group Members

Masters students
Ruby Freeman (MEng, 2018/19)
Mevin Wan (MEng, 2018/19)
Ayse Ay (MSc, 2017/18)
Shijia Liu (MSc, 2017/18)

UROP students
Aaron Lam (2018/19)
Jo Pi (2018/19)
Weishan (Helen) Tan (2018/19)
Xiangqi Hu (2017/18)
Qiaochu Luo (2017/18)
Amy Tall (2017/18)
Zhuocheng Xu (2017/18)