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EPSRC Studentship available at CNM

An EPSRC studentship titled '2D Ferroelectricity and Bloch lines: The hunt begins' is available under the mentorship of Dr. A. Kumar and Prof. JM Gregg.

Link on FindAPhD :
To apply, click here :

For further information about the project, please contact  Dr. Kumar ( ) or Prof. Gregg (

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Accepting applications for 2016/2017 entry for up to 12 fully funded studentships


Link to Apply :

CNM has received a centre for doctoral training which has been created to address skills shortages in nanofabrication and photonic integration. Photonic integration is similar to electronic integration and involves the integration of many different types of optical components on a common platform. Lasers, modulators, detectors, multiplexers and optical amplifiers are examples of optical components that need to be integrated.

The Centre’s focus will be on developing highly-manufacturable photonic integration technologies related to the magnetic storage of digital information. However, it is anticipated that the development of these technologies will be relevant to a wide spectrum of end-users – from telecommunications to biophotonics, in which optical technologies are applied to living organisms and health care. The ability to store digital information has become a growing concern, as the memory capacity of even the smallest of devices, such as smartphones, has grown exponentially. To continue to increase the capacity of hard disk drives required to support ‘cloud’ computing a new technology will be required – and that is likely to be heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), which uses electromagnetic energy to locally heat the disk to ease the process of writing data on to it. It would allow recording densities to continue to increase at the same rate as happened over the past decade. HAMR requires the integration of photonic components such as lasers, waveguides and plasmonic antennas into the recording head. This exciting technology will be the focus of the new CDT where the key challenge for the researchers will be to make HAMR deployable as a low-cost manufacturable technology. The developments required by HAMR will drive low-cost photonic integration and plasmonic technology into other industries and applications. The Centre for Doctoral Training will therefore bring together a critical mass of partners from universities and industries that can meet this challenge, integrating expertise from material physics through to semiconductor device manufacture.

Partners: Seagate Technology; IQE plc; Oclaro Ltd; CST Global; JEOL; FEI Company; Cirdan Imaging; Kelvin Nanotechnology; AHS Ltd; Xytartex; Renishaw; and the Knowledge Transfer Network.

Training: We will offer new PhD students a unique training in photonics and advanced materials and world leading research environments and places are expected to be highly sought-after. Students will carry out research in both institutions, spend time with industry partners and carry out a three-week study period at The Innovation Academy in Dublin, which specialises in fostering interdisciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship skills among PhD researchers and lead to award of a Postgraduate Certificate in its own right.

Funding: This covers fees and a maintenance stipend at current EPSRC rate. In addition all studentships have significant funding for travel & mobility and research project expenses to allow you to fulfill your potential. The CDT Student cohorts also have a budget for their own self-directed training and development.

Eligibility: UK and EU nationals who meet residency requirements.

Entry Requirements: 2:1 (or equivalent) in a cognate physical sciences or engineering discipline

Applications: quoting EPSRC CDT

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Post-Graduate Taught courses offered by CNM

The School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s University Belfast presents a range of new web-based, taught modules in Materials Science for Innovative Engineering. The modules can be taken individually or can be combined to form the basis of a Master of Science (MSc), Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) and Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) in  Materials Science for Innovative Engineering. The course is part-time and specifically designed for those in full time employment. As such it does not require attendance at Queen’s University Belfast. However, for students interested in practical experimental experience a residential option is offered for the Materials Science Case Study module in the second semester.

For further information, please contact the programme coordinator Dr Solveig Felton on

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CNM Research makes cover of Advanced Materials
CNM Research makes cover of Advanced Materials
CNM Research makes cover of Advanced Materials

The prestigious journal of Advanced Materials has recognised the work carried out by Jonny Whyte, Raymond McQuaid and Marty Gregg et al on “Ferroelectric domain wall injection” by awarding it a position on the back cover of their latest issue (Vol. 26, Iss. 2). Results displayed in this work showed that ferroelectric domain wall nucleation and position could be controlled by introducing electric field heterogeneity in a ferroelectric capacitor structure. This heterogeneity was introduced by using a focused ion beam to mill shaped holes into the ferroelectric, where localised electric field enhancements would inject new domain wall pairs and give them enhanced mobility, whereas field denudations would pin domain walls in their position. Being able to engineer the electric field in this way opens up a new paradigm for controlling domain walls and brings novel nanoelectronic components such as domain wall transistors and memristors one step closer to reality.

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CNM work on PRL cover
Simulated domain structure of a  ferroelectric dot. Colours indicate the domain orientation
Simulated domain structure of a ferroelectric dot. Colours indicate the domain orientation

Research work by Alina Schilling, Ray Mcquaid, Donald Evans and Marty Gregg has appeared on the cover page of Physical review Letters, Volume 111, Issue 16-18, October 2013. The work is centred on observation of domain structures characterized by distinct quadrants of ferroelastic 90° domains in transmission electron microscopy (TEM) in freestanding BaTiO3 nanodots. Based upon a series of phase field simulations of BaTiO3 nanodots, its suggested that the TEM patterns result from a radial electric field arising from electron beam charging of the nanodot. For sufficiently large charging, this converts flux-closure domain patterns to quadrant patterns with radial net polarizations. Not only does this explain the puzzling patterns that have been observed in TEM studies of ferroelectric nanodots, but also suggests how to manipulate ferroelectric domain patterns via electron beams.

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Women in Physics – Ireland

The first “Women in Physics – Ireland” event on the 19th of March 2014. This event is coordinated by the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s University Belfast and the Institute of Physics Ireland. Dr. Miryam Arredondo and Dr. Solveig Felton from CNM are organising the event.

The event is focused on promoting Physics among young women in Ireland. We are inviting women at various career stages working in Physics areas (both from academia and industry) to participate in this event, offering a friendly atmosphere that will provide all participants with the opportunity of interacting.The event will include A-level, undergraduate, master and PhD students, invited speakers, as well as guests from other institutions and industry.

Those wishing to attend “Women in Physics – Ireland”, please email by Friday 13th of December indicating the number of required places. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. 

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Ferroelectric research boosted by £450K funding

Prof. Marty Gregg has secured three grants recently to support ferroelectrics research.

A Materials World NSF-EPSRC Grant “Critical Scaling of Domain Dynamics in Ferroelectric Nanoelements” will develop a collaboration in the USA with  Prof Alexei Gruverman (University of Nebraska-Lincoln). It is worth £325k for QUB and $315k for UNL.
A new EC-US collaborative network is supported by a grant from The Leverhulme Trust “International Network on Nanoscale Ferroelectrics”. This will link research groups in Geneva, Liege, Groningen, Nebraska-Lincoln, Cambridge, Halle and Belfast and is supported by £123k. The kick-off meeting was recently held at The Bushmills Inn.
Finally, a £17K Visiting Researcher Grant from EPSRC will see Prof. Nagarajan Valanoor (University of New South Wales) visit Queen's for three months in early 2011.

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£7.5M 'global engine' of future technology opens at Queen's
L to R: Professor Robert Boman, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Dr Ken Allen, Seagate Technology.
L to R: Professor Robert Boman, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Dr Ken Allen, Seagate Technology.
A new £7.5 million international research hub, which will bring major advances in computer hard drives, new and improved sensors and a host of advanced coatings, has opened today at Queen’s University Belfast.

In partnership with Seagate Technology, the global leader in data storage solutions, new levels of information and data storage will be just one of the groundbreaking potential applications that will be created in new research hub ANSIN. By attracting a wide variety of international companies to ANSIN, it is expected that advances in new medical sensors, security devices and many other areas will also be made possible.

Seagate has provided £7.5 million worth of equipment to ANSIN which is based in the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s. Unparalleled in third-level physics education in the United Kingdom, the ANSIN facility is one of the top ten industry-linked university research centres in the world.

In ANSIN, researchers will work on new advanced materials from the micron scale, about fifty times smaller than the width of a human hair, all the way down to layers of materials just a few atoms thick.

Explaining how work at ANSIN will impact positively on people’s daily lives, Professor Robert Bowman, Director of Queen’s Centre for Nanostructured Media said: “Twenty-five years ago my music collection filled many shelves, now I’ve maybe one hundred times more music and it fits in my pocket. The science, technology and manufacturing required to make that happen has been revolutionary.

“Before the end of the decade you will have the ability to carry a vast digital library of text, images, music and HD movies with you in the same way. To make that possible will again require revolutionary developments of advanced materials and their exploitation in as yet unimagined ways. This is all only possible by understanding and exploiting fundamental physics and materials science questions. This is what we are aiming to do at ANSIN.”
“We are incredibly fortunate to have Seagate as a founding partner in ANSIN, for not only are they supporting our first major project, but most significantly they want to see other partners who join ANSIN use the equipment they have provided. We hope that new partners will bring their ideas into ANSIN and that by co-operatively working with other partners in the hub, new inventions will arise and products can be improved.”

Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson added: “I am delighted and proud that a global leader such as Seagate has chosen Queen’s as the location for ANSIN, an industry-university collaborative research centre which will create real technological advances for many business sectors. Other companies will be encouraged to join ANSIN and interact to support their own particular needs.”
“ANSIN builds on Queen’s internationally recognised research strength in advanced materials, with special reference to nano-structured media, to promote an ecosystem for the creation, transfer and exploitation of knowledge. This new facility will encourage further investment by indigenous companies and multi-national corporates in Northern Ireland.”

 ANSIN was first raised as a concept following discussions between Queen’s, Invest NI and Seagate, following Invest NI’s £12.7 million offer of support for a £58 million research and development investment by Seagate in its Springtown campus. Seagate have also committed to a £1.7 million collaborative research project at Queen’s which is funding ten research posts at the University.

Dr. Kenneth Allen, Seagate's Vice-President of development, said the joint project with Queen's would not only contribute directly to Seagate's R&D learning but would also provide an ongoing flow of highly skilled engineers into local industry. He added: “ANSIN provides a unique opportunity to make a difference for Northern Ireland and for Seagate in the long term. By establishing this initiative, we hope to provide the spark which leads to a stronger base of magnetic and nanotechnology capability in these islands.”

Seagate is also providing £250,000 to fund business development activities that will encourage other companies to participate in ANSIN.

Dr Allen said: “The economic growth that's generated by these research fields will happen somewhere. From our way of thinking it might as well be in Northern Ireland. We look forward to broadening our strategic partnership with Queen's and Invest NI. We are also keen to encourage other corporate and academic entities to find out more about ANSIN - how it can help their business or university, and ways in which they can get involved in helping make it a global success.”

Further information on ANSIN is available online at

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£60M investment creates new science PhD posts at Queen’s
Queen's University Belfast

A new collaboration between Queen’s University Belfast and Seagate Technology has created eight new PhDs in the area of Nanostructured Media.

The studentships are currently being advertised following a £47.3m investment by Seagate in its Springtown plant, enhanced with £12.7m in grants from Invest Northern Ireland.

The new PhD positions will be based in Queen’s state-of-the-art Centre for Nanostructured Media within the School of Maths and Physics.  As part of the investment, researchers are establishing a new research facility at the University with a dedicated laboratory of large area depositions systems, magnetometers, focused ion beam and atom probe microscopes.

Professor Robert Bowman is Director of Research at Queen’s Centre for Nanostructured Media. He said: “Seagate’s Springtown operation is already recognised as one of the United Kingdom’s most advanced nanotechnology scale manufacturing facilities. PhD studentships offering the type of opportunities created by this partnership do not come along very often. Their creation as part of this large scale investment will create real leaps forward in the area of digital electronics and related fields and ensure Queen’s and Seagate remain at the forefront of developments in these areas.”

Steve Luczo, Chairman, CEO and President of Seagate Technology said: “We are looking forward to further developing our strong and mutually productive association with Queen’s University Belfast. Queen’s has a worldwide reputation for excellence and innovation in digital electronics and related fields and we hope that this collaboration and the establishment of a new research facility at the University’s School of Maths and Physics, will be a catalyst for many more positive developments for the future”

The eight PhD studentships are focusing on engineered magnetic alloy thin films, advanced magnetoresistive thin film systems, thin film magnetic shielding and plasmonics for magnetic recording. Two positions are available in each area and four studentships are available immediately. The remainder will begin in October 2010.

More details on how to apply for the PhDs can be found online at

Further information on the Centre and posts can be obtained by contacting Professor Robert Bowman on +44 (0)28 9097 3572 or email

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CNM in Chemistry World!
Domain configurations in ferroelectric nanoshapes imaged by electron microscopy.
Image : A Schiling, D Byrne & M. Gregg & Co-workers
Domain configurations in ferroelectric nanoshapes imaged by electron microscopy. Image : A Schiling, D Byrne & M. Gregg & Co-workers

Recent research on nanoscale ferroelectrics and published in the top journal Nano Letters has been highlighted to the Chemistry Community!

RSC | Advancing the Chemical Sciences:
"Window opened on nanodot domain state formation
17 July 2009

British and German scientists claim they have directly observed how domain states form in nanometre-scale ferroelectric crystals for the first time. The team's work barium titanate nanodots could now help ferroelectric random access memory (F-RAM) evolve to much higher data capacities."

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Alina Schilling wins an EPSRC Career Acceleration fellowship
Alina Schilling and a montage of her results
Alina Schilling and a montage of her results

Alina has secured a prestigious 5 year Fellowship from EPSRC to investigate Vortex Domains in Ferroelectric Nanostructures. Congratulations to her from all in the CNM!

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CNM takes the lead with Plasmonics
Plasmonics Y-splitter design
Plasmonics Y-splitter design

PI Anatoly Zayats along with Bob Pollard secure a £5.1M EPSRC grant for a six year program in Active Plasmonics: Electronic and All-optical Control of Photonic Signals on Sub-wavelength scales with partners at Imperial College and Myunsgshik Kim here at QUB and INTEL, Seagate, Ericsson, Oxonica, IMEC and the National Physics Laboratory.

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Seagate Centre unpacks
From container to lab - the other side of physics research
From container to lab - the other side of physics research

In late summer three large containers plus other shipments of equipment from Seagate Technology arrived. They contained £7.5M of state of the art equipment to fit out a new facility joint research facility in CNM.

Almost half the equipment is now operational and will be contributing to our Seagate project and other research in CNM and beyond.

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Contact Information

Centre for Nanostructured Media (CNM)
International Research Centre for Experimental Physics (IRCEP)
School of Mathematics and Physics
Queen's University Belfast
Belfast BT7 1NN

Tel: 028 9097 3572
Fax: 028 9097 3110

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