Small items of research equipment at the University of Exeter

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Engineering Computer Science and Maths


The strategic goal of the University of Exeter is to become a top UK research university by 2015, known throughout the world for its research excellence and impact. To achieve this, one of its strategic goals is a new way forward for science. Through its Science Strategy, the University of Exeter is adopting an interdisciplinary approach by breaking down barriers between academic schools and bringing staff together to tackle some of the big issues of our time. The present proposal will contribute to the achievement of this strategic science goal by boosting the small equipment research base used by early carrier researchers working across the following areas:
Graphene Science and Engineering
Research in Functional Materials
Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials
Critical and Green Technology of Metals
The Centre for Systems, Dynamics and Control
The Centre for Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics
Detecting, Preventing and Mitigating Emerging Diseases
Nano-Bio Science

Planned Impact

This proposal allows great scope for boosting the interdisciplinary research carried out by early carrier researchers at the University of Exeter in the fields of life sciences, physics, engineering and applied mathematics and in areas of strategic importance to the EPSRC portfolio. Here we highlight the impact in specific areas of primary interest to this proposal.
Graphene and carbon nanotechnology - The outputs of the research carried using the requested small equipment will be fundamental to the commercial and the economic development of state of the art bio-sensors, smart coatings and novel opto-electro-mechanical devices based on graphene and other nano-scale systems. The topic areas that can be explored will allow great scope for establishing academic and industrial collaborations in the life sciences, physics and engineering and, as a result, open up new funding avenues. Even though only 8 years have passed since graphene has been experimentally accessed, the discovery in 2012 of GraphExeter -i.e. the best known transparent conductor which is also stable in ambient condition [Adv. Mater. 24, 2844 (2012)]- by early career researchers at the University of Exeter clearly shows that the next few years can be regarded as a realistic timescale for many of the aims described above. Furthermore, the large number of PDRAs (6) and PhD students (20) actively involved in projects which require a boost in small equipment will develop skills in electrical and optical measurement techniques, bioscience, low-temperature physics and chemistry, which will provide them with an excellent, broad platform from which to develop their own careers. The research will aim to inspire school children and the general public as it affords scope to demonstrate advanced science at an accessible level.
Critical and Green Technology of Metals - This proposal will significantly aid the deliverables of the Critical Metals Alliance with a fundamental academic and societal impact. Collaborations within the Criticals Metals Alliance are planned to support 2 research grant proposals per year, 2 MSc dissertations per year and 5 conference presentations per annum. It is planned that there will be more than 6 per-reviewed papers in press by 2014 and 6 PhD students, also in place by 2014. Dr K. Moore will be involved with most of the deliverables. The British Geological Survey is supporting the Knowledge Transfer activities of the Critical Metals Alliance for the first three years. The University of Exeter is supporting the Grand Challenges Programme and conference attendance is supported by the usual mechanisms. We will also be able to implement an effective outreach programme for schools and general public. This proposal will allow to develop a spatially resolved geochemical model either for the critical metals used in low-carbon energy technologies for mineral ore deposits in the Caledonides of the UK or the critical metals in an area of SW England. This model aims at overcoming the current limitations in mining critical metals and it will naturally have a fundamental impact on the economy of the UK.
Living with Environmental Change - The resources requested by this proposal will have a fundamental societal impact since it will improve significantly our current ability to model the weather. Indeed, society benefits significantly from the numerical weather forecasts provided by the Met Office. Recently, PA consulting valued the Met Office's public weather service in excess of £600 million. The high-resolution numerical weather forecasts of the Met Office provide information on, for example: surface temperature, low-level cloud and fog, and the onset of thunderstorms. This benefits the public and a wide range of industries including: agriculture, aviation, construction, wind energy, retail and transport. Improving high-resolution numerical weather prediction models will also benefit climate models with a major impact on the socio-economical aspects of UK.


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Description 6. Gate tunable non-linear currents in bilayer graphene diodes, Shioya H, Yamamoto M, Russo S, Craciun MF and Tarucha S, Applied Physics Letters 100, 033113 (2012).
7. Novel highly conductive and transparent graphene based conductors, Khrapach I, Withers F, Bointon TH, Polyushkin DK, Barnes WL, Russo S and Craciun MF, Advanced Materials DOI: 10.1002/adma.201200489 (2012).
8. Tuning the transport gap of functionalised graphene via electron beam irradiation, Martins S, Withers F, Dubois M, Russo S and Craciun MF, New Journal of Physics 15, 033024 (2013).
9. Graphene as a substrate for plasmonic nanoparticles Polyushkin DK, Milton J, Santandrea S, Russo S, Craciun MF, Green SJ, Mahe L, Winlove CP, Barnes WL, Journal of Optics 15, 114001 (2013)
10. Properties and applications of chemically functionalized graphene Craciun MF, Khrapach I, Barnes MD, Russo S Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter 25, 423201 (2013)
11. All-Graphene Photodetectors. Withers F, Bointon TH, Craciun MF, Russo S. ACS Nano 7, 5052 (2013)
12. Superconductivity in two-dimensional NbSe2 field effect transistors. El-Bana MS, Wolverson D, Russo S, Balakrishnan G, Paul DM, Bending SJ. Superconductor Science & Technology 26, 125020 (2013)
13. Approaching Magnetic Ordering in Graphene Materials by FeCl3 Intercalation Bointon TH, Khrapach I,Yakimova R, Shytov AV, Craciun MF, Russo s. Nano Letters 14, 1751 (2014).
14. Straining graphene using thin film shrinkage methods. Hioya H, Craciun MF, Russo S, Yamamoto M, Seigo T. Nano Letters 14, 1158 (2014)
15. Electron transport of WS2 transistors in a hexagonal boron nitride dielectric environment. Withers F, Bointon TH, Hudson DC, Craciun MF, Russo S. to appear on Scientific Reports

1- Pending patent on "Transparent graphene electrodes: graphexeter" covering USA and South Korea.
2- 2- Pending patent on "Transparent and flexible graphene-based radiation detectors" covering USA, Europe, South Korea and Japan.

Popular media that reported the research of this EPSRC-JST project
1- The impact of the research output produced by my group has been reported by the major media worldwide including BBC TV (Sep 2012, May 2012), BBC radio 1 Devon (Oct 2010),National Romanian newspaper "Ziarul Hunedoreanului" (August 2009), National Dutch newspaper "de Volkskraant" (July 2009 and July 2005). Here are some of the most recent internet links to some major media reporting my work:
3- Forbes microconductor/
4- Reuters
5- Plastic Electronics

Conferences and public lectures
Invited talks
1- Engineering the electrical and optical properties of graphene materials, Sixth International Conference on Optical, Optoelectronic and Photonic Materials and Applications, 27th July - 1st August 2014 in Leeds, UK
2- Tailoring the electrical and optical properties of graphene for energy harvesting, CIMTEC 2014 - 13th International Conference on Modern Materials and Technologies, Montecatini Terme, Tuscany, Italy, June 8 to 19, 2014
3- Graphene and its potential for organic/printed electronics, Advanced Engineering UK 2013, Birmingham, 12-13 November, 2013.
4- From Graphene to GraphExeter, JEMI workshop, Manchester, October 23, 2013
5- Chemically functionalized graphene materials: from cutting edge manufacturing to nanoscale engineering of electronic and optical properties, NanoteC13 Carbon Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, August 28-30, 2013, University of Surrey Guildford
6- Novel highly conductive graphene-based materials, LOPE-C 2013, June 12-13, 2013, Munich, Germany.
7- Novel highly conductive graphene-based materials, Smart Fabrics 2013 Conference, April 17-19, 2013, San Francisco, CA
8- Chemically functionalized graphene: a platform for plasmonics and photodetectors, Graphene Nanophotonics, March 4-8, 2013, Benasque (Spain).
9- Novel highly conductive graphene-based materials, NanoteC12 Carbon Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, August 29th - September 1st 2012, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
10- Dec 2012 Printed electronics USA2012. Santa Clara, USA
11- Jun 2012 Carbonhagen. Copenhagen, Denmark
12- Jun 2012 CarbonHagen workshop, Copenhagen, Denmark
Exploitation Route DSTL has funded two PhD positions, AWE is partner of a submitted proposal, Thales is leading a consortium for an ICT03 EU project, IBM is partner of a currently running carbon memory project and Spinnaker LtD is partner of a 3-years Knowledge Transfer Partnership. Two individual Marie Curie fellowships have been secured building on the discoveries enabled by this grant and one Leverhulme Trust Research grant. Overall this small equipment grant of EPSRC has been pivotal for me in generating more than £3M follow up grant income
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Electronics

Description 1- Commercialization. The discoveries enabled by this funding lead to mutiple patents (KR20140095614 (A); US2014174513 (A1); WO2015049490 (A1); WO2014111702 (A2)) and an intense commercialization activity of graphene materials which builds on these patents 2- Societal. Our team of researchers working on graphene has a large number of outstanding women scientists. We are using these figures as role models to inspire women at an early stage to engage with a science career. Examples of the initiatives include the Soapbox activity (, regular talks to the schools in the territory of Exeter and interactive sessions in the University open days which attract families from all over the UK. 3- Economical. We are currently exploring graphene-enhanced defence and security systems in collaboration with DSTL, Spinnaker LtD, Thales, IBM and AWE. Our portfolio of currently running grants in this field exceeds £2M and the outcome of our research is enabling new generations of products and applications with a game changing impact on our daily lives.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Education,Electronics,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Description Contract research AWE
Amount £9,000 (GBP)
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2014 
End 08/2014
Description Contract research Qioptic
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Organisation Qioptic 
Sector Private
Country Germany
Start 12/2015 
End 05/2016
Description Contract research with Qinetiq
Amount £12,000 (GBP)
Organisation Qinetiq 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2015 
End 02/2015
Description DSTL Quantum 2.0
Amount £140,000 (GBP)
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2014 
End 09/2018
Description DSTL Uk-France
Amount £140,000 (GBP)
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2016 
End 09/2020
Description GW4
Amount £25,000 (GBP)
Organisation GW4 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2014 
End 01/2015
Description Knowledge Transfer Partnership
Amount £200,000 (GBP)
Organisation TSB Bank plc 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2013 
End 09/2017
Description Marie Curie Individual Fellowship
Amount € 200,000 (EUR)
Organisation Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Global
Start 03/2016 
End 03/2018
Description Marie Curie Individual Fellowship
Amount € 200,000 (EUR)
Organisation Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Global
Start 06/2016 
End 07/2018
Description Research Grant
Amount £250,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2015 
End 09/2018
Description Royal Society travel exchange
Amount £12,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2013 
End 06/2015
Description Royal Society International Exchanges Scheme 2013/R2 (inc CNRS) - Make application with ICFO Barcelona 
Organisation ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The UK partner is providing materials, and Raman characterization
Collaborator Contribution ICFO is characterizing the plasmonic response of the materials provided by the UK partner
Impact We have a number of joint publications currently under review.
Start Year 2013