Three EPSRC Doctoral Prizes awarded to Advanced Technology Institute PhD graduates
Friday 18 May 2012
The Advanced Technology Institute (ATI), Faculty of Electronics and Physical Sciences (FEPS), University of Surrey announces the award of three EPSRC Doctoral Prizes, to former PhD students: Dr Juerong “Nicole” Li, Dr Michail J. Beliatis, Dr Imalka Jayawardena.
The Doctoral Prize is awarded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for postdoctoral projects lasting up to two years for outstanding PhD graduates who seek to further develop their research careers. Prize holders are expected to undertake high quality collaborative research along with outreach activities to maximise societal impact of their work during the period.
Dr Nicole Li submitted her PhD thesis entitled “Spin Dependent Electron Transport in Nanoscale InSb Quantum Well Devices”. Her research has demonstrated detection of optically oriented spins in non-magnetic semiconductor devices. With the aid of the EPSRC Doctoral Prize she aims to broaden her expertise to include organic materials suitable for inexpensive large area electronics. Her work will concentrate on molecular spintronics (components which use the electron’s spin to carry information) and in particular on developing optically-written information storage in nanocale memory devices.
Dr Michail Beliatis stated “the award of the EPSRC Doctoral Prize will allow me to bridge my research in academia with industry. Synthesis of cost-effective functional nanostructures will be used to enable improvements in the efficiency of large-area nano-optoelectronics and devices for harvesting renewable energy”. Dr Beliatis has expertise in laser nanostructuring, metal nanoparticle gas sensors, renewable hydrogen production, plastic and amorphous silicon solar cells and light concentration using plasmonics.
Another EPSRC Doctoral Prize winner, Dr Imalka Jayawardena will develop processes and applications for graphene, the “hottest” material in condensed-matter physics today. He said, “Plastic solar cells have captured the attention of the scientific community for cost-effective and environmentally friendly energy generation. These devices currently have contacts made of indium-tin-oxide (ITO), a material which relies on the rare metal Indium, which has increased in price tenfold over the last seven years. Graphene will be examined for transparent contacts on organic solar cells for lower cost and improved efficiency”. Dr Jayawardena’s work will focus on methods of reliably producing and interfacing high-quality graphene in organic solar cell structures.
A former prize winner Dr. Radu Sporea commented “this EPSRC prize went a long way towards me being awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowship. I used the time to build my research career and focus the activities toward real world applications”.
Prof SRP Silva FREng, Director of the Advanced Technology Institute, remarked “it is gratifying to note that all three EPSRC Doctoral training prizes were awarded to ATI students under immense competition. I look forward to the careers of these young scientists and engineers blossoming and reaching their full potential in the next few years”.
EPSRC Doctoral Prize details can be found here