Current research topics within the group include the following.
Materials and interfaces in power electronics
We work on both established and new generations of wide band gap materials for power electronics, including e.g. SiC and Ga2O3. Beyond investigating bulk properties of different crystal polymorphs and thin films orientations we are particularly interested in the study of interfaces in power electronics using X-ray spectroscopy.
Sol-gel methods for thin films
We focus on developing sol-gel deposition methods for thin films of transparent conducting oxides (TCOs), a class of materials widely applied in device and display applications, including photovoltaics and LEDs. We develop and optimise deposition methods for high quality, doped ultra thin films of post-transition metal oxides. This is important to enable applications of new TCOs in devices as well as to enable the use of advanced characterisation techniques, were the ability to create high quality, highly ordered samples is of great advantage.
We are particularly interested in the relationship between morphology, crystal structure, and electronic structure of these films to develop a complete understanding of the materials’ characteristics and ultimately their device behaviour.
Inorganic materials for biosensors
The group is involved in a Newton Fund project (CHIRP), which aims to develop a new Point of Care platform for glucose sensing based on oxide nanostructures rather than enzymes. Our main aim is to further develop existing synthesis routes for oxide nanostructures. A wide range of syntheses has been proposed in the literature but we greatly lack understanding of how synthesis parameters influence the morphology and surface chemistry of the resulting nanostructures.
Hard X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (HAXPES)
HAXPES is one of the most powerful techniques to study local chemical states and electronic structure of devices. The high X-ray energies used enable larger depth information, making it possible to study buried layers and interfaces in devices. We work closely with Scienta Omicron developing their new laboratory-based HAXPES system. In addition, we collaborate with beamline I09 at Diamond Light Source in trialling new measurement strategies and developing new in-situ and in-operando approaches to apply HAXPES to the often complex structures found in devices.
X-ray radiation damage
As we are heavy users of X-ray based techniques, including spectroscopy and diffraction, the question of how X-rays interact with matter is of great importance to us. Whilst X-ray radiation damage is well understood in biological systems, hardly anything is known about this effect in small molecular crystals and inorganic materials. We are part of a group of collaborators stretching from laboratory to synchrotron techniques, X-ray diffraction to X-ray spectroscopy, and experiment to theory, which is trying to establish a fundamental understanding of how the reaction of matter under X-ray radiation can be understood and what we can learn about the material itself.