TEAM-A: The tailored electromagnetic and acoustic materials accelerator

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

This five-year Prosperity Partnership programme will build upon and deepen the successful relationship that exists between the University of Exeter and QinetiQ. We will develop advanced materials that can be used to control and manipulate the propagation of electromagnetic and acoustic energy in a highly tailored, bespoke fashion, and develop innovative techniques for their cost-effective manufacture.
Materials that have the ability to fully control and manipulate the flow of electromagnetic (e.g. radiated heat, light, radiowaves) and acoustic (e.g. sound, vibration, shock) energy have the potential to transform, and enable, a large and diverse range of technologies. Exeter and QinetiQ have long been at the forefront of the science and engineering of such materials, with recent examples being: the modification of wind turbines to reduce their interference with meteorological and aviation radar systems, where half of the viable wind-farm sites in the UK are currently blocked for this reason, and the development of new optoelectronic materials for the realisation of beyond ultra-high definition displays.
However, there are still significant challenges prohibiting the widespread take up of these new materials in applications. In particular, concepts developed in the laboratory are often incompatible with commercial manufacture, due to their complexity and the nature of the constituent parts. Instead, the basic science that describes the behaviour of these new materials needs to be combined with a detailed understanding of how such materials could be manufactured, so that new materials can be designed and engineered to tackle specific technological challenges using commercially viable approaches. The objective of this Partnership is to bring together leading advanced materials and manufacturing research at Exeter and QinetiQ to address real technology and innovation challenges.
Through the exchange of staff, the shared used of facilities and an emphasis on the training of a new generation of entrepreneurial researchers, we will work across conventional discipline and institutional boundaries to accelerate the impact of academic research. The outcome of the programme will be a sustainable, long term partnership, underpinned by revenue created through the creation of products, or the licensing of intellectual property. The resulting research and technology pipeline will underpin future innovation, leading to the creation of additional high tech UK jobs and economic impact through spin-outs and joint ventures.

Planned Impact

The TEAM-A Prosperity Partnership will positively impact UK economic success. The research and technology pipeline created by the Partnership will not only support QinetiQ in its core defence and security business, but will allow further diversification into new non-defence markets, such as renewable energy, via dual-use technologies. QinetiQ is one of the largest UK science and technology based companies, and a top 50 UK employer of science, research, engineering & technology professionals. The potential within TEAM-A is exemplified by project 2.1 on Tailored Infra-red sources. There is a quantified opportunity to develop a versatile and secure market leading solution for an IR beacon, which will enable an aircraft to identify a vehicle as friendly with eight times the capability of its nearest rival. The first round of supply to the market for this technology is estimated to be worth £250m and commercialising a solution would deliver £200million of international sales into UK Plc. However, versions of the same sources could be used for infrared gas sensing, which accounts for 20% of the ~£1billion market for industrial gas sensors.

The Partnership will help support a wide range of high tech UK SMEs, who often play a critical part in the exploitation of UK science and technology. Companies such as; LabGenius, APL, Tiflex, Imerys, Innovia and The Quartz Corp have given commitment to TEAM-A and the SME network and broader industry engagement will accelerate as the projects progress. Specifically, SME's will have access to targeted academic research and development at an early stage in its evolution, often addressing specific questions raised by the SME's themselves. At a later stage new applications will be developed that will be licensed to SME's for exploitation and business growth

The UK economy will further benefit by a strengthening of the South and South West region's international position in advanced engineering, as highlighted in the recent governt science and innovation audit. Key unique capabilities in advanced engineering, including aerospace, composites, renewable energy and automotive all stand to benefit from focussed research into advanced materials. Within the South West & South Wales 98,000 people are currently employed in aerospace and advanced engineering and this rapidly expanding area has generated growth of 29% over the last five years, more than twice the average regional growth rate. These sectors provide significant Gross Value Added to the UK economy and TEAM-A will add to this by enabling an optimisation of manufacturing and take up of these new materials.

The focus on outreach and education at all levels within TEAM-A will address urgent capability gaps including the requirement for an additional 2,500 employees (within the South West) in advanced engineering over the next ten years. By delivering high value jobs, skills and innovation within these fields TEAM-A will also deliver productivity growth and the programme will link in with the Local Enterprise Partnership plans to address the productivity gap; productivity in the South West is 86% of the UK average. Increasing productivity to the national average would add £11,000 per head to local salaries, significantly improving quality of life and inward investment within the region. The Partnership will train a new generation of leading researchers equipped with the entrepreneurial skills to take science from the laboratory to the market.

Engagement with schools and community groups will have impact beyond those directly aiming to pursue careers in this sector. A wider public will benefit by gaining increased scientific understanding in tangible and meaningful ways, through exposure to accessible advanced engineering concepts and prototypes. Outreach and engagement work will increase public engagement and enthusiasm alongside knowledge in this area, a long term benefit in an increasingly advanced employment market.

Publications

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Baraclough M (2019) Metamaterial Analogues of Molecular Aggregates. in ACS photonics

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Beadle JG (2019) Broadband, slow sound on a glide-symmetric meander-channel surface. in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

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Hamilton J (2020) Three-dimensional profiling of collimated radio-frequency orbital angular momentum beams in IET Microwaves, Antennas & Propagation

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J. G. Beadle (2019) Broadband, slow sound on a glide-symmetric meander-channel surface in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

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Matsunaga D (2019) Controlling collective rotational patterns of magnetic rotors. in Nature communications

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Seetharaman S (2018) Realizing an ultra-wideband backward-wave metamaterial waveguide in Physical Review B

 
Description TEAM-A consists of a portfolio of projects focused on the manipulation of electromagnetic and acoustic radiation. Below is a summary of key findings to date:

Research Challenge 1: New materials and structures that control the propagation of microwave & RF radiation

Metamaterial Analogues of Molecular Aggregates:

Molecular aggregates (long chains of molecules that are bound together by intermolecular forces) are hugely important in nature since they are employed in photosynthetic light harvesting structures, whilst synthetic aggregates are being developed for next-generation molecular sensors and magnets. The details of any disorder or symmetry in the chains is vital in determining their optical properties, but these have been hard to investigate experimentally since it is extremely difficult to probe the spatial characteristics of the aggregates at the single molecule level.

To overcome these limitations, we have successfully developed microwave analogues of molecular aggregates with the aim of studying their properties in a more controlled environment. Our initial studies have already demonstrated that such systems can exhibit the same physical phenomena as molecular aggregates, and have confirmed the potential for using such artificial systems to mimic molecular behaviour. We expect our results to lead to further investigations that might help illuminate the underlying physical processes in these complex systems.

Research Challenge 2: To exploit the use of THz and IR radiation for identification, signalling and imaging

THz Technologies

The main aim of this project is to create imaging systems that collect images at terahertz (THz) frequencies. THz is the region of the electromagnetic spectrum between infra-red and microwave radiation, and has wavelengths in the region of 0.3 - 3.0 mm. Imaging at these frequencies is of great interest as many optically opaque materials become transparent, such as paper, cotton and fat. However there are challenges, as arrays of detectors tend to be bulky and expensive, so instead we use a single pixel and spatial modulator to capture the images. The project falls into three main experiments - designing efficient modulators, contact THz imaging and stand-off THz imaging.

High Efficiency Photomodulators for Millimeter Wave and THz Radiation

All devices that manipulate electromagnetic radiation modulate a signal in some way, whether spatially or temporally. At low frequencies (sub-GHz) electrical circuits can be used, but these become progressively more expensive and lossy as the frequency increases. All-optical modulators based on semiconductors, whereby incident radiation is modulated by a secondary optical light source that locally alters the conductivity of the semiconductor, are particularly attractive alternatives in the mm-wave and THz bands due to their relative simplicity. In addition, by patterning the optical light one could modulate both temporally and spatially.

However, the efficiency of such modulators is low, with large optical powers being required to achieve significant modulation. By collaborating with solar cell efficiency experts at the University of Warwick (Prof. John Murphy and Dr. Nicholas Grant), we have improved the efficiency of silicon-based photomodulators at mm-wave and THz frequencies by 3 orders of magnitude, with much lower optical powers then being reauired to achieve modulation. There are, of course, compromises regarding switching speed and spatial resolution, but within our work we describe the underlying physics behind these compromises in order to enable applied physicists and engineers to make informed choices regarding their potential use in applications. Such modulators are already being developed for use in novel THz imaging systems, and we hope that they may be of use in other devices going forward.

A collaboration with Prof. John Murphy and Dr. Nicholas Grant of the University of Warwick aimed at improving the efficiency of photomodulators for mm-wave and THz radiation was initially funded via a £15k award from the TEAM-A Innovation fund. This collaboration has been hugely successful, with the publication "High efficiency photomodulators for millimeter wave and THz radiation" being the first of many that are planned. Moreover, this work has directly led to a successful grant application from the EPSRC worth >£800k shared between University of Exeter and University of Warwick ("Computational spectral imaging in the THz band", EP/S036466/1 and EP/S036261/1, QinetiQ as project partner). This project is expected to result in a step-change in THz and stand-off security imaging technologies, and the development of real-world applications.

Contact THz imaging

We have designed and demonstrated a system that can collect an image of a slice of porcine tissue with sub-wavelength resolution in just a few seconds. This system uses a THz beam that is totally internally reflected from a coated silicon wafer, meaning that it is much more sensitive to small changes in conductivity. It also allows us to collect information on the thickness of the sample, and detect metallic objects hidden behind a thin layer of fat. This is the subject of a paper in progress.

Stand-off THz imaging

We are in the process of designing a higher frequency imaging system that will be able to image over a large area with high resolution in a few seconds, with high-throughput security imaging in mind. This will operate without an active THz source, collecting just the small amount of THz radiation emitted by a warm body. It will eventually be extended to collect radiation at different THz frequencies, so that information on chemical composition could be extracted from the images.


RC3: New materials and structures that control the propagation of acoustic radiation

Thermoacoustics

The aim of this work is to develop new devices that generate sound via heat, and to improve the efficiency of this sound production to levels that are suitable for application. (Poor efficiency has been the main limiting factor for such technology ever since its discovery in 1880.) A key finding so far is that is the structure of the device, rather than the materials it is made from, that could lead to significant efficiency improvements. As such, the student is now taking a metamaterials approach to the problem drawing on similar ideas used in optics. The student is now at the stage of simulating these using both analytical and finite element modelling approaches. The next stage will be to experimentally test these ideas. This work could ultimately lead to thermoacoustic sound sources that can be built from standard materials already used in the electronics industry, allowing easy integration with other emerging technologies.

Research Challenge 4: To model and manipulate material scatter effects to control the propagation of electromagnetic radiation

Models for Marine and Atmospheric Optics:

The purpose of TEAM-A Research Challenge 4 has been to develop predictive models of electromagnetic and acoustic scattering, through the creation of computational physics software toolboxes. There have been two strands to this work, with (i) mathematically focused algorithm development taking place in Exeter and (ii) customer-facing experimental and theoretical problem-solving taking place at QinetiQ in Farnborough. The first half of the programme has involved developing a deep intuitive understanding of the variety of scattering phenomena that are under consideration in the TEAM-A accelerator.

A key result has been result the creation of a tool to simulate the dynamics of an offshore sea surface, subject to varying wind speeds and direction, and associated wave-energy spectra. Understanding how the water body scatters sunlight when viewed from above by a remote sensing satellite is a significant technical problem within the optical hydrodynamics community. In this work, the optical scatter was determined by an additional ray-tracing toolbox that fired rays of sunlight at the water surface and then detected their final scattered location. Commercial software tools such as Hydrolite take these descriptions into account in their predictions but do not take into account the surface scatter that might occur when discrete bodies, such as shipping containers, are in the water body. These toolboxes are to be combined with an efficient radiative transfer model to better predict remote sensing from above.

Ultimately, this could lead to a standalone piece of software that can provide image simulations of overhead views of natural water bodies. As a complete package, this would provide a unique software product of interest to public and private sectors such as defence, coastline analysis, coast guarding, nautical searches and computer graphics.

Research Challenge 5: The use of new disruptive manufacturing techniques to enable realisation of the outputs from the other challenges

One key aim of this work is the development of an additive manufacturing method, using laser sintering of polymer powders and conductive fillers, in order to produce novel materials that will provide: (1) tailored EMI/RF shielding properties (2) shielding against acoustic vibrations and interference and (3) resilience to high impacts, vacuum, and radiation.

Current progress has led us to develop and test various prototypes to aid in the creation of axially aligning fillers during the printing process. This involved creating a hopper style attachment which is intended for insertion into a selective laser sintering (SLS) printer. The purpose of the prototype is twofold: to provide alignment of fillers and as a means of creating selective multimaterial printing for the SLS process, something which is lacking for this method of additive manufacturing. We have made good progress with the development of the prototype and have entered into the second phase of testing, where we will be producing a metal prototype which will be loaded into a desktop SLS printer to test its performance using printing conditions.
Exploitation Route Please see above.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description Capital Funding Contribution (TEAM-A)
Amount £452,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Exeter 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2022
 
Description Computational spectral imaging in the THz band
Amount £612,664 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S036466/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2019 
End 02/2023
 
Description Financial Contribution to Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (TEAM-A)
Amount £281,116 (GBP)
Organisation University of Exeter 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2022
 
Description Financial Contribution to Studentships (TEAM-A)
Amount £288,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Exeter 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2022
 
Description Financial Contribution to Training, Impact Activities, Programme Management and Administrative Support (TEAM-A)
Amount £338,335 (GBP)
Organisation University of Exeter 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2022
 
Description Partner (QinetiQ) cash contribution (Quarter 1) - T&S
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation Qinetiq 
Department QinetiQ (Farnborough)
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2022
 
Description Partner (QinetiQ) cash contribution (Quarter 2) - Innovation Fund
Amount £75,000 (GBP)
Organisation Qinetiq 
Department QinetiQ (Farnborough)
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2022
 
Description Partner in-kind (Quarter 1) - Travel, Materials, Labour & Staff Hours
Amount £36,366 (GBP)
Organisation Qinetiq 
Department QinetiQ (Farnborough)
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2022
 
Description Partner in-kind (Quarter 2) - Travel, Materials, Labour & Staff Hours
Amount £37,767 (GBP)
Organisation Qinetiq 
Department QinetiQ (Farnborough)
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2022
 
Description Partner in-kind (Quarter 3) - Travel, Materials, Labour & Staff Hours
Amount £72,356 (GBP)
Organisation Qinetiq 
Department QinetiQ (Farnborough)
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 10/2022
 
Description Partner in-kind (Quarter 4) - Travel, Materials, Labour & Staff Hours
Amount £25,000 (GBP)
Organisation Qinetiq 
Department QinetiQ (Farnborough)
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 10/2022
 
Description PepsiCo - TEAM-A - University of Exeter: R&D Project, Digitalization of Snacking 
Organisation PepsiCo
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution TEAM-A are funding -through its Innovation Fund- the staff time of Prof. Alastair Hibbins & Prof. Roy Sambles, they are committing 1 hour each per week for 12 months on this project. This project was brought about by the TEAM-A PI Prof. Geoff Nash. It is anticipated that this project is likely to result further funding and partnership opportunities with PepsiCo.
Collaborator Contribution PepsiCo are funding a 12 month University of Exeter based Postdoctoral Research Fellow to work on this project; PepsiCo are also funding QinetiQ for their time on the project.
Impact - Research outputs are pending and will be confidential until further notice. - The University of Exeter has been able to forge a link with this multinational company, potentially leading to future projects and funding for the university as a whole, as well as the TEAM-A programme. - QinetiQ has also been able to forge a link with PepsiCo.
Start Year 2019
 
Description PepsiCo - TEAM-A - University of Exeter: R&D Project, Digitalization of Snacking 
Organisation Qinetiq
Department QinetiQ (Farnborough)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution TEAM-A are funding -through its Innovation Fund- the staff time of Prof. Alastair Hibbins & Prof. Roy Sambles, they are committing 1 hour each per week for 12 months on this project. This project was brought about by the TEAM-A PI Prof. Geoff Nash. It is anticipated that this project is likely to result further funding and partnership opportunities with PepsiCo.
Collaborator Contribution PepsiCo are funding a 12 month University of Exeter based Postdoctoral Research Fellow to work on this project; PepsiCo are also funding QinetiQ for their time on the project.
Impact - Research outputs are pending and will be confidential until further notice. - The University of Exeter has been able to forge a link with this multinational company, potentially leading to future projects and funding for the university as a whole, as well as the TEAM-A programme. - QinetiQ has also been able to forge a link with PepsiCo.
Start Year 2019
 
Description QinetiQ (Farnborough): - Partner in-kind (Quarter 5) - Travel, Materials, Labour & Staff Hours 
Organisation Qinetiq
Department QinetiQ (Farnborough)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution - Expertise, intellectual property, equipment, time, access to contacts.
Collaborator Contribution 1st December 2018 to 22nd February 2019: Travel, Materials & Labour - total in kind contribution from 1st December 2018 to 22nd February 2019 - £11,251.57 1. Staff Hours (the monetary value only) - total in kind contribution from 1st December 2018 to 22nd February 2019. £10,551.92.
Impact All outcomes listed else ware throughout this ResearchFish and TEAM-A's EPSRC reports.
Start Year 2017
 
Description QinetiQ Total Contribution (Cash & In-Kind, 2019/20, Q1-4) 
Organisation Qinetiq
Department QinetiQ (Farnborough)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution University of Exeter match QinetiQ's contribution through the funding of two PDRFs, 4 PhDs and a cash contribution towards impact activities.
Collaborator Contribution On-going partner contribution to TEAM-A.
Impact Programme widely supported. People's time, T&S resource, the Innovation Fund.
Start Year 2017
 
Description TEAM - A - Collaborator Award, The University of Warwick & TEAM-A - Feasibility study: Spatial and temporal carrier lifetime engineering in Si 
Organisation Qinetiq
Department QinetiQ (Farnborough)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This project we are focusing on exploring strategies to overcome, or at least mitigate, the trade-offs currently inherent in modulator designs based on the photo-excitation of Si wafers. If successful both RPs 1.1 and 2.2 within TEAM-A will be significantly strengthened, and the range of applications that could result from RP 1.1 will increase from simple dynamically controlled shutters and windows, to complex metasurfaces that could be used as switchable absorbers, beam-steerers, tunable antennas and diffusers across the technologically important frequency bands from the THz down through the microwave and RF bands. We input our background IP, facilities and TEAM-A innovation funding.
Collaborator Contribution The collaboration started in June of this year when IRH approached Dr. John Murphy of the University of Warwick (UoW), who is a world-leading expert in the surface passivation of silicon for use in photovoltaics. Since then they have supplied us with specially treated Si wafers with very high effective carrier lifetimes (at no cost) as required for use as photomodulators in RP 1.1 and RP 2.2 of teh TEAM-A programme. The initial results have been exceptional with the required illumination power needed to achieve a given modulation depth reduced by more than 2 orders of magnitude. They have also helped develop ideas for engineering the carrier lifetime, both spatially and dynamically, which could be crucial if RPs 1.1 and 2.2 are to reach their full potential. Testing the feasibility of these ideas is the focus of this project.
Impact The facilities and knowledge of our colleagues at UoW are already essential for progress in RP 1.1 within the TEAM-A programme. This project is strengthening the nascent collaboration between UoE, UoW and QinetiQ. If the project goals are successful follow-on external funding (from the academic side) by means of grant proposals and / or fellowship applications will be sought.
Start Year 2018
 
Description TEAM - A - Collaborator Award, The University of Warwick & TEAM-A - Feasibility study: Spatial and temporal carrier lifetime engineering in Si 
Organisation University of Exeter
Department Physics and Astronomy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project we are focusing on exploring strategies to overcome, or at least mitigate, the trade-offs currently inherent in modulator designs based on the photo-excitation of Si wafers. If successful both RPs 1.1 and 2.2 within TEAM-A will be significantly strengthened, and the range of applications that could result from RP 1.1 will increase from simple dynamically controlled shutters and windows, to complex metasurfaces that could be used as switchable absorbers, beam-steerers, tunable antennas and diffusers across the technologically important frequency bands from the THz down through the microwave and RF bands. We input our background IP, facilities and TEAM-A innovation funding.
Collaborator Contribution The collaboration started in June of this year when IRH approached Dr. John Murphy of the University of Warwick (UoW), who is a world-leading expert in the surface passivation of silicon for use in photovoltaics. Since then they have supplied us with specially treated Si wafers with very high effective carrier lifetimes (at no cost) as required for use as photomodulators in RP 1.1 and RP 2.2 of teh TEAM-A programme. The initial results have been exceptional with the required illumination power needed to achieve a given modulation depth reduced by more than 2 orders of magnitude. They have also helped develop ideas for engineering the carrier lifetime, both spatially and dynamically, which could be crucial if RPs 1.1 and 2.2 are to reach their full potential. Testing the feasibility of these ideas is the focus of this project.
Impact The facilities and knowledge of our colleagues at UoW are already essential for progress in RP 1.1 within the TEAM-A programme. This project is strengthening the nascent collaboration between UoE, UoW and QinetiQ. If the project goals are successful follow-on external funding (from the academic side) by means of grant proposals and / or fellowship applications will be sought.
Start Year 2018
 
Description TEAM - A - Collaborator Award, The University of Warwick & TEAM-A - Feasibility study: Spatial and temporal carrier lifetime engineering in Si 
Organisation University of Warwick
Department School of Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project we are focusing on exploring strategies to overcome, or at least mitigate, the trade-offs currently inherent in modulator designs based on the photo-excitation of Si wafers. If successful both RPs 1.1 and 2.2 within TEAM-A will be significantly strengthened, and the range of applications that could result from RP 1.1 will increase from simple dynamically controlled shutters and windows, to complex metasurfaces that could be used as switchable absorbers, beam-steerers, tunable antennas and diffusers across the technologically important frequency bands from the THz down through the microwave and RF bands. We input our background IP, facilities and TEAM-A innovation funding.
Collaborator Contribution The collaboration started in June of this year when IRH approached Dr. John Murphy of the University of Warwick (UoW), who is a world-leading expert in the surface passivation of silicon for use in photovoltaics. Since then they have supplied us with specially treated Si wafers with very high effective carrier lifetimes (at no cost) as required for use as photomodulators in RP 1.1 and RP 2.2 of teh TEAM-A programme. The initial results have been exceptional with the required illumination power needed to achieve a given modulation depth reduced by more than 2 orders of magnitude. They have also helped develop ideas for engineering the carrier lifetime, both spatially and dynamically, which could be crucial if RPs 1.1 and 2.2 are to reach their full potential. Testing the feasibility of these ideas is the focus of this project.
Impact The facilities and knowledge of our colleagues at UoW are already essential for progress in RP 1.1 within the TEAM-A programme. This project is strengthening the nascent collaboration between UoE, UoW and QinetiQ. If the project goals are successful follow-on external funding (from the academic side) by means of grant proposals and / or fellowship applications will be sought.
Start Year 2018
 
Description TEAM - A - Collaborator Award, Theta Technologies Ltd (SME) & TEAM-A: Non-Destructive Evaluation - Collaborative working and technology exploration 
Organisation Theta Technologies Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution TEAM-A (The University of Exeter/ QinetiQ) has contributed the intellectual input of Dr David Horsell (TEAM-A CO-I) and Professor Chris Lawrence (TEAM-A QinetiQ PI). Dr David Horsell and Professor Chris Lawrence have worked together with Theta technologies to explore non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of composite materials and to work with them to explore the scope and market attractiveness of their technologies. TEAM-A has supported Theta throughout the testing process, to provide advice, guidance and input into initial results and to undertake evaluation of the results; this has been an in-kind contribution via QinetiQ and their membership with the National Composites Centre.
Collaborator Contribution Theta Technologies have developed a non-linear NDE technique which differs from some of the imaging techniques usually employed to provide a screening method for metals & composites that may contain flaws. It is this knowledge and the know how to do so, which Theta have contributed.
Impact The purpose of this idea and incubation funded innovation project is to explore the potential for a new collaboration with a local SME, Theta Technologies Limited, to test non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of composite materials and to work with them to assess the scope and market attractiveness of their technologies. A successful outcome will demonstrate the potential to collaborate with Theta Technologies to trial this project's outputs with some of QinetiQ's existing customer base. The scientific outputs of this collaboration are yet to be confirmed however we anticipate that at the very least this collaboration would have boosted a local SME.
Start Year 2018
 
Description TEAM - A - Knowledge Transfer Award: Complex Poisson's ratio and bulk modulus estimation 
Organisation University of Exeter
Department Physics and Astronomy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Access to QinetiQ Farnborough facilities.
Collaborator Contribution Expertise to support the consideration and the solving of key theoretical and application problems faced by QinetiQ and TEAM-A.
Impact Outputs and outcomes are still to be seen.
Start Year 2018
 
Description TEAM-A & Technical Composite Systems Ltd 
Organisation Technical Composite Systems Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Time, facilities & expertise.
Collaborator Contribution Time, facilities & expertise.
Impact We have engaged with TCS Ltd, a South-West-based SME that specializes in the design and manufacture bespoke composite components. We are now supporting TCS in the development of two new concepts, one that will lead to a new project in April 2020, and the other, the exploration of a TEAM-A concept for a metamaterial-based radome.
Start Year 2019
 
Description TEAM-A & University of Exeter & Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital 
Organisation Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution Expertise, time, facilities.
Collaborator Contribution Expertise, time, facilities.
Impact Too soon to speak of outputs and outcomes. Professor of biomedical imaging at the University of Exeter, Prof. Stone is involved in a biomedical THz imaging project which has spun out of TEAM-A. Prof. Stone is lending his expertise on imaging cancer margins and his contacts at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. With his guidance and a joint spin-out PhD studentship we are building a THz imaging system to determine the thickness of a layer of healthy fat tissue around a surgically removed breast tumour - a parameter of great importance in reducing the local recurrence of cancer.
Start Year 2019
 
Description TEAM-A & University of Exeter & Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital 
Organisation University of Exeter
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise, time, facilities.
Collaborator Contribution Expertise, time, facilities.
Impact Too soon to speak of outputs and outcomes. Professor of biomedical imaging at the University of Exeter, Prof. Stone is involved in a biomedical THz imaging project which has spun out of TEAM-A. Prof. Stone is lending his expertise on imaging cancer margins and his contacts at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. With his guidance and a joint spin-out PhD studentship we are building a THz imaging system to determine the thickness of a layer of healthy fat tissue around a surgically removed breast tumour - a parameter of great importance in reducing the local recurrence of cancer.
Start Year 2019
 
Description TEAM-A & University of Warwick - THz 
Organisation University of Warwick
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Joint partnership on spin out grant: EP/S036466/1. Expertise, facilities and funding.
Collaborator Contribution Joint partnership on spin out grant: EP/S036466/1. Expertise, facilities and funding.
Impact Too early in the grant's life-cycle to pin-point outputs & outcomes. Prof. Murphy and Dr. Grant have undertaken specialized surface treatments for us, leading to further publications and supporting the successful EPSRC grant proposal mentioned above. This collaboration will continue to develop the next generation of photomodulators, using their knowledge of semiconductor charge carrier dynamics (as per solar cells) in all our THz imaging systems. More efficient modulators are allowing us to overcome the need for high intensity laser sources so that we can create smaller, cheaper, faster THz imaging systems that can be easily implemented outside the lab.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Applied Science Tech Talk: Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals in the world; but not all quartz is created equal (QinetiQ Farnborough) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact About the talk

Dr Benny Hallam, from The Quartz Corp, gave an introduction to ultra-high purity quartz.

Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals in the world; but not all quartz is created equal.

Indeed, the industry for ultra-high purity quartz is a rather unique one, but without it there would be no semiconductor chips, smart phones or tablets. Due to its inherent inertness to chemicals, temperature and radiation, ultra-high purity quartz has become an essential part of the semiconductor, photo-voltaic and optical fibre manufacturing process.

In this talk 'the lid was lifted' a little on this secretive and conservative industry and consider how to mass manufacture while maintaining contamination to parts-per-billion levels.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Applied Science Tech Talk: High Performance Polymers and Composites for Additive Manufacturing (QinetiQ Farnborough) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact High Performance Polymers and Composites for Additive Manufacturing

Due to the small range of polymeric materials available and their low intrinsic properties, polymer additive manufacturing (AM) received less attention and industrial investment in comparison with the current metallic AM technologies. The AM industry is currently using a handful of polyamide (PA) grades for powder bed processes and polyetherimide (PEI) and polyphenylsulphone (PPSU) for extrusion deposition. However the landscape is rapidly changing, with an increased interest from petrochemical industry (raw material providers) and end users (in the aerospace, automotive and defence sectors) in taking advantage of the unique characteristics offered by the high performance polymers in combination with AM technologies.

This presentation will discuss the achievements and challenges in expanding the range of polymers used in powder bed laser sintering and extrusion deposition focusing on the high performance, high temperature polyaryletherketone (PAEK) polymer family. Part of the PAEK family, PEEK, PEKK and PEK polymers are known to compete in performance with metals, being known for their exceptional properties: stress-fatigue, toughness, resistant to corrosion, flame resistance, abrasion, ionising radiation and low toxicity. The talk will consider ways of incorporating nanomaterials into AM processes and discuss results obtained so far.

About the presenter

Oana Ghita holds a chair in Materials Science and Manufacturing within the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the University of Exeter. She is also the Deputy Director of Exeter Technology Group - the industry focused research group of the College.

She started her career as a PhD and Research Fellow at Cranfield University, Defence Academy (formerly known as Royal Military College of Science RMCS) in the area of thermoset composites, cure monitoring of epoxy resins and sensors. At Exeter, her work expanded towards a wider range of manufacturing technologies and materials (thermoplastics and nano-composites).

Her research is focused on the development of new and alternative high performance polymers using cost effective manufacturing with emphasis on understanding the relationship between molecular structure, morphology, manufacturing and re-manufacturing processes and desired final properties.

In recent years, she concentrated on Additive Manufacturing of high performance, high temperature polymers (such as PEK, PEEK, PEI) as well as composites with reinforcements of different morphologies and sizes (Cf, glass, graphite, graphene, CNTs, inorganic fullerenes and boron nitride) suitable for aerospace, defence and automotive applications where lightweight materials resistant to harsh environments (highly corrosive, increased friction, excessive operating temperatures) are often required.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Applied Science Tech Talk: Mid-infrared Graphene Optoelectronics (QinetiQ Farnborough) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Principle Investigator spoke at an event hosted by QinetiQ to exchange ideas and share experience. 15 professional practitioners and industry focused researchers that work within QinetiQ, from varying disciplines attended a presentation which sparked questions and discussion afterwards. The host reported expressed interest in the work of TEAM-A' as a result of this engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Applied Science Tech Talk: Single-pixel THz imaging using near-field photomodulation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Activity description: Prof. Euan Hendry is an Associate Professor and EPSRC Research Fellow at the University of Exeter. He is a particular expert in Terahertz electromagnetic radiation. Lying between the infrared and radio frequency regimes (0.1 to 3.0 mm wavelength), this is one of the last remaining unexplored regions of the electromagnetic spectrum due to a lack of efficient laboratory emitters, detectors and control components compared to neighboring microwave and optical bands. Euan's work explores the potential for developing new THz components and sensors to fill this "gap", utilizing novel materials and effects (e.g. graphene, plasmonics etc. Euan's tech talk was the second TEAM-A talk of its kind designed to share knowledge, provoke conversation and enhance the partnership.

Impact & Outcome: Most attendees were not experts in THz imaging apart from a few who were skyping in from Malvern who were experts in THz security imaging. There were plenty of questions and people interested in talking to Euan afterwards. Post presentation Euan sat down with QinetiQ TEAM-A colleagues to discuss some specifics of possible applications and implementations for his work. In summary the outcome was increased visibility and idea exchange between the University of Exeter and QinetiQ Farnborough. Increased intrest in Euan's/ TEAM-A's work was reported by QinetiQ colleagues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Engagement focused website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The TEAM-A website has been constructed with a view to dispersing information, supporting outreach and attracting interaction from a wide variety of groups.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://emps.exeter.ac.uk/team-a/
 
Description General Public - Popular Science Articles 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Regular popular science articles are released for the general public's interest. This is to support the accessibility of science and to also support interest in our research programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019,2020
URL http://emps.exeter.ac.uk/team-a/
 
Description Material Research Exchange 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Combining resources with Exeter's Metamaterials Centre for Doctoral Training, TEAM-A attended the Material Research Exchange 2020 for two days of sharing our research with fellow industry/ educational practitioners. Attending said event provided the programme with an opportunity to network, learn, pitch and develop our PDRF's engagement skills.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://ktn-uk.co.uk/events/live-materials-research-exchange-2020
 
Description TEAM-A Post-docs attend & enjoy QinetiQ's International Women in Engineering Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact To inspire and celebrate all that women in engineering continue to and will achieve, our Post-docs attended QinetiQ's much loved activity day for young girls. Shring in the activities participated in, meeting the young scientists and networking with QinetiQ's wider collective.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.qinetiq.com/Blogs/2019/06/International-Women-in-Engineering-Day-2019
 
Description TEAM-A Sponsor's Student Event in Aid of International Women's Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact In aid of international women's day TEAM-A sponsored a local student led initiative to support and engage women in the sciences.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description TEAM-A Sponsors IONS Exeter Conference (International OSA Network of Students) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact On 9th of July 2019, 81 researchers from 10 different countries arrived at the University of Exeter for the very first Exeter IONS conference. Over the next 4 days, the group of researchers would hear talks from physicists and engineers from as far away as Japan - the excitement was palpable!

IONS Exeter (International OSA Network of Students) was led by the Exeter University Optics and Photonics Society (EUOPS), and supported by the Optical Society of America (OSA), the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (XM2), the Tailored Electromagnetic and Acoustic Materials Accelerator (TEAM-A), the Alumni Annual Funds of the University of Exeter, and with prizes sponsored by the Nanoscale Physics and Technology Group of the Institute of Physics.

Over the first three days, technical sessions on a range of topics were held, including nanophotonics, optoelectronics, biological imaging, metamaterials, ultrafast and quantum technologies. Keynote speakers Prof. Sile Nic Chormaic, Prof. Francesca Palombo and OSA Ambassador Dr Gabrielle Thomas started off each day with a talk on their area of expertise. These were followed by talks from invited speakers from across the UK, with students and postdoctoral researchers sharing some of their cutting-edge work throughout the rest of each day. A poster session on the second day was followed by a top-notch dinner in a local restaurant.

Prizes were awarded on the third day of the conference, after/just before a session where the committee gave advice on applying and running the next IONS conference - we hope to have inspired many of you! First prize for presentation went to Ekaterina Zossimova (University of Exeter), and the runner up was Gavrielle Untracht (University of Surrey). The first poster prize was awarded to Emmanuele Gemo (University of Exeter), and runner up went to Dominic Sulway (University of Bristol). A special recognition prize went to V. Kaarthic Raja (Anna University, Chennai) for presenting work from his undergraduate degree.

The final day was set aside for a combined social trip and outreach activity, which went down a treat with the locals and attendees alike. The challenge was to collect items from the beach that could be used to explain some light-based physics ideas, then work in teams to explain these concepts to members of the public. The videos were shared on Instagram, and points awarded along the way. The event was rounded off with a steam-train ride through the beautiful Devon countryside.

To learn more about how Exeter's PGRs made such a successful event: http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/xm2news/254-2/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019