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Welcome to my webpage.

I am a theoretical physicist interested in the physical properties of new class of materials, two-dimensional crystals. Most of my work concerns graphene, the best known two-dimensional crystal, first obtained by mechanical exfoliation of graphite and made of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in regular hexagons.




Information for potential PhD students

Below, you can find links to short descriptions of examples of PhD projects available in my group. If you are interested in my research and would like to join me as a PhD student, please get in touch with me to discuss available funding. Bear in mind that the possibility of a scholarship is much higher if you are a British/EU citizen. Also, early contact is crucial as some funding sources require applications submitted as early as December (for start in October the following year).

Again, feel free to email me if you want to discuss these or other research ideas or the availability of funding.


News


30/06/2017 - I won the Maxwell Medal!

In recognition of my work on the electronic properties of graphene, I have been awarded the James Clerk Maxwell Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics. It feels very rewarding but is also a big motivation for me to continue my research. It also is a little intimidating, as the list of past recipients of this medal contains some very recognizable names in theoretical physics, including some Nobel Prize winners.

You can read more about the award here.


01/05/2017 - Welcome to Surani Gunasekera

Surani, funded partly by the University of Bath, started her PhD in my group after finishing her first year of lectures and projects within the Bristol/Bath CDT in Condensed Matter Physics. Her research will focus on the electronic properties of rhenium dichalcogenides.


01/05/2016 - Welcome to Aitor Garcia Ruiz-Fuentes

Aitor started his PhD in my group after finishing his first year of lectures and projects within the Bristol/Bath CDT in Condensed Matter Physics. He will study the electronic properties of graphene with proximity-induced superconductivity.


01/04/2016 - Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

A new research centre focused on nanoscience and nanotechnology has been established at the University of Bath. I have joined it as one of the founding Principal Investigators.


01/10/2015 - Welcome to Joshua Thompson

With the beginning of the 2015/16 academic year, Joshua Thompson starts his EPSRC-funded PhD with me. Joshua will investigate the electronic properties of the graphene/hexagonal boron nitride heterostructures.


20/12/2014 - New chapter in Bath

It's official! After finishing my two years as the University of Bath Prize Fellow in February 2015, I will continue my work at the University of Bath as a Lecturer (Assistant Professor).


01/12/2014 - Excellence Award

I have been awarded the University of Bath Excellence Award for 2013/14!


01/10/2014 - Welcome to Damien Leech

With the beginning of a new academic year, Damien Leech joins me as my first PhD student. His research into the electronic properties of two-dimensional crystals is funded by EPSRC.


12/09/2014 - Fermi surface of bilayer graphene breaks into pieces

Our work in collaboration with researchers from ETH Zurich, NIMS Tsukuba and Lancaster University has been published as a cover article in Physical Review Letters!

Changing the topology of an object can significantly improve its functionality. A well-known example is changing a mug without a handle (topology of a sphere) into one with an arched handle (topology of a doughnut). In electronic materials, it is the more abstract topology of constant-energy surfaces for electrons that determines their potential for functional uses. The shape of the Fermi surface (an abstract boundary in the momentum space separating filled electron states from the empty ones) determines for example electron transport (current) or propagation of sound in a metal. Unfortunately, for bulk materials, the Fermi energy (energy of the most energetic electron in the material) cannot be easily altered to reach points in the band structure where the connectivity of the Fermi surface changes causing singular behaviour of the dependent properties.

Bilayer graphene turns out to be a very special case because its electronic spectrum can be tuned by applying an external electric field. By studying bilayer graphene in strong electric fields, we identified signatures of its Fermi surface changing from a singly-connected one into one composed of three separate pieces. Interestingly, our team observed that in external magnetic field the electron topological transition leads to other, interaction-driven transitions between electron states as the change in topology affects the repulsion between electrons.

Full version of the article can be accessed here (subscription required).