Our research

Graphene has been dubbed a miracle material due to the unique combination of superior electronic, mechanical, optical, chemical and biocompatible properties suitable for a large number of realistic applications. The potential of other 2D materials, such as boron nitride, transition metal and gallium dichalcogenides, has become clear more recently and already led to developing so-called ‘materials on demand’. There has been an explosion of research and development activity in these two areas all over the world in the last few years and the Universities of Manchester and Lancaster have played a central role in the current expansion from fundamental physics of graphene and related (2D) materials into chemistry, engineering, characterization and bioapplications. These activities provide the research base for Graphene NOWNANO students.

As a student on Graphene NOWNANO programme you can expect to work with world-leading academics who are responsible for many breakthroughs in the field of graphene and other nanomaterials, including:

  • discovery of graphene – the first strictly two-dimensional material (Nobel Prize for Physics 2010)
  • pioneering experimental and theoretical studies of a range of graphene properties:
    • novel electronic phenomena governed by the unique electronic spectrum of mono-, bi- and trilayer graphene [Nature 438, 197 (2005); Nature Physics 2, 177 (2006); Science 333, 6044  (2011); Nature Physics 7, 948 (2011)]
    • demonstration of strong plasmonic enhancement of photovoltage [Nature Communications 2, 458 (2011)]
    • demonstration of tunable magnetic response [Nature Communications 4, 2010 (2013)]
    • the unique properties of graphene membranes: impermeable to gases yet superpermeable to water [Science, 335, 442 (2012)]
    • tuning graphene’s electronic properties by strain engineering [Nature Physics 6, 30 (2010)]
    • demonstration of the first stable chemical derivatives of graphene: graphane and fluorographene [Science 323, 610 (2009); Small 6, 2877-2884 (2010)]
    • demonstration of a novel type of graphene transistor based on field-effect tunnelling [Science 335, 947 (2012)]
    • demonstration of graphene chemical and stress sensors [Nature Materials 6, 652 (2007); Nature Communications 2, 225 (2011)]
    • innovative methods for using Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy to characterise graphene and other 2D materials [Nature Nanotechnology 3, 210 (2008); Nature 446, 60 (2007)]
  • development of graphene-based devices for quantum metrology (resistance and current standards) [Nature Nanotech. 5, 186 (2010); Nature Nanotech. 8, 417 (2013)]
  • licensed production and processing methods for carbon nanomaterials
  • highly-oriented graphene-hBN heterostructures and the Hofstadter butterfly spectrum [Nature 497, 594 (2013)]
  • successfully commercialized novel processing methods for quantum dots via NANOCO giving a wide range of materials in nanocrystalline assemblies and in some cases as mesocrystals (see NANOCO website)
  • design and fabrication of the first artificial metamaterial with negative index of refraction [Nature 438, 335 (2005)];
  • first superconductor-based devices for quantum nanotechnologies: single qubits and double qubits, observation of quantum phase slips in superconducting circuits [Nature 425, 941 (2003); Nature 484, 355 (2012)]
  • nano-diode and nano-transistor based on a single-layered 2D architecture, incl. free-space detection at 2.5 THz [Appl. Phys. Lett. 83, 1881 (2003); Nano Letters 5, 1423 (2005)];
  • developing molecular nanomagnets as possible Qubits for quantum information processing, including first direct measurements of spin dynamics in molecules [Nature Nanotech. 4, 173 (2009); Nature Physics 8, 906-911 (2012)];
  • development of nanomechanical and nanothermal scanning technologies (e.g. patent WO2004086002-A1; US2004250622-A1; patent WO2006107900-A2; US2007017291-A1; EP1877768-A2)
  • development of oxidation-sensitive nanocarriers for inflammation-responsive drug delivery [Nature Mater. 3, 183 (2004)]
  • development of enzyme based biosensors and biofuel cells [Bioconjugate Chemistry 23, 438 (2012)]
  • novel methods to study the interactions of graphene-related materials with cells and their components [Nature Biotechnology, 26, 774 (2008); Nature Nanotechnology 2, 108 (2007)]
  • proof-of-concept studies of using functionalised graphene and other carbon-based nanomaterials for drug delivery [Nature Nanotechnology 4, 627 (2009); Nature Materials 9, 793 (2010)]  
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