Advanced Technology Institute

Advanced Technology Institute research areas

ATI Research is multidisciplinary and covers a wide range of areas. Members work on cross-cutting themes, addressing the “grand challenges” in energy, healthcare, information technology, sustainable technology and more generally, technologies associated with “quality of life”.

Our research is conducted in close collaboration with colleagues in other divisions within the University and in industry, and is formally organised into the research areas below.


Theory and Computation Group

Designer disordered materials with large complete photonic band gaps

Until recently, the only materials known to have sizeable complete photonic band gaps were photonic crystals, periodic structures, and it was generally assumed that long-range periodic order was instrumental in the photonic band gap (PBG) formation.

Modelling and simulation

Multiphysics modelling of semiconductor devices

TCAD modelling of advanced semiconductor devices is a core research area.

Device-circuit interaction

We use mixed-mode (TCAD and SPICE) numerical simulations to study the behaviour of electronic circuits which include advanced devices for which compact models have not yet been developed.

RF and power devices

RF modelling, from materials to systems is presented on the n3m labs microsite.

Theory and Computation Group

Persistent currents in normal metal rings

Usually for an electrical current to flow in non-superconducting metal you have to supply enough energy to overcome the metal’s resistance. However, in a metal ring that is very small (about 1 μm diameter or less) we have to treat the dynamics of the electrons quantum mechanically, where electrons are represented mathematically as waves.

Physics of cement materials

The Theory and Computation group research in the field of physics of cement materials has the aim of developing a fundamental understanding of water transport thereby producing improved cement binders and concrete materials with improved longevity, thereby reducing global CO2 emissions.

Thermal radiation from finite photonic crystals

The ability of micro and nanostructured photonic materials to facilitate significant alteration of thermal radiation processes is receiving considerable attention due to both the scientific relevance and potential for technological applications.

Generating and detecting multi-qubit GHz states in circuit QED

This is one of several projects which have as a common theme the measurement of qubits and resonators states for the purpose of developing new building blocks and protocols for quantum information processing.


Photonics and Quantum Sciences

Ultrafast dynamics and spintronics

This project studies the dynamics of electrons and light waves on a femtosecond time-scale. This time scale is one that covers the time it takes for electons and photons to interact; for electrons and phonon (quantum packets of sound or heat) to interact; and for chemical reactions to occur and so on.


Photonics and Quantum Sciences

III-V semiconductor emitter and detector physics

We have a strong reputation for research on the physics of semiconductor materials for application in optoelectronic devices. Much progress continues to be made in understanding the loss mechanisms in semiconductor laser diodes, and optimising devices for applications in optical communications at near-infrared wavelengths.

Characterisation and metrology

RF metrology


Coming Soon… a new multi-physics enabled laboratory dedicated to nonlinear microwave measurements and modelling from the University of Surrey and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

Nanoelectronics Centre

Nanofabrication and characterisation

We have a growing track record in this area and produce devices for nanoelectronics research at the University and nano and quantum metrology for the National Physical Laboratory.

Ion Beams

Ion Beam Centre

Interactions of energetic particles

We have a long experience of modelling and simulation of energetic particle solid interactions. Ranging from the ion scattering to ion ranges in solids through sputtering and surface damage. We use both simple analytical models as well as more complex molecular dynamics techniques.

Electronic materials

Ion Beams can be used to modify the electronic and optical properties of electronic materials such as semiconductors and superconductors.

Biomedical applications

The IBC houses the world's first scanning focussed vertical nanobeam, developed in collaboration with the Gray Cancer Institute and underpinned by the prestigious grant of £800,000 from the Wolfson Foundation in 2006/07 with matching funds from the University.

Ion Beam analysis

Ion Beam Analysis is an enabling technology for thin film scientists and engineers. It is a powerful group of analytical techniques (known as "Total-IBA") for determining the elemental composition of thin films.


Nanoelectronics Centre

Energy conversion

From its inception, the NEC has been actively involved in research on energy conversion techniques. The research has focused on two fundamental aspects; Photovoltaic devices for converting solar radiation to electricity and light emitting diodes (LEDs) converting electrical energy to optical radiation with high efficiency.

Triboelectric generation

Triboelectricity is a commonly observed phenomenon in day-to-day life, it occurs when two surfaces contact or rub against each other to generate static charge, a classic example being rubbing a balloon and sticking it to the wall.

Thermoelectric generation

Thermoelectric (TE) materials or devices are those that convert energy from heat into an electrical potential when a temperature gradient is induced between the two ends of a material.

Flexible organic solar cells

Hybrid SCs offer numerous application possibilities. They can be rolled and used as a lightweight solar charger or integrated in the facades and windows of buildings improving the aesthetic appearance while generating green electricity at low cost.

Nanomaterials and nanocomposites

Nanoelectronics Centre

Functional Nanomaterials

Much of the interest in nanotechnology stems from these unique quantum and surface phenomena that matter exhibits at the nanoscale.

Carbon nanotubes interconnects

The unique high current carrying capability of 109A/cm2, high aspect ratio, high thermal conductivity, high tensile strength of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) make them promising candidates to replace copper as interconnects for various applications.


An example of nanocomposites is the aerospace industry where composite usage has risen from 1 – 2% in the 1970s to 50% in 2010.


Popularity for the utilisation of electrospinning in nanofibre production has consistently grown ever since its introduction in 1887.

Water purification using magnetic nanocarbons

Nanocomposite materials combine the beneficial properties of two or more separate constituents to create unique and innovative new materials for a plethora of applications, from energy storage to targeted cancer treatment, aerospace coatings to catalysts.

Printed and flexible electronics

Nanoelectronics Centre

Printed electronics

We utilise a variety of printing techniques for materials deposition including ink-jet printing, screen printing, slot-die coating, wire bar coater to produce the most important electronics ‘building blocks'.

Large-area microwave and RF devices and circuits

To fully realize the promise of flexible, ink-jet-printed electronics for RF and microwave applications, there is a need for robust metrology to characterize the inks and the circuits that are fabricated.

Power-efficient transistors for large area electronic circuits

Future large area electronic systems such as wearable, fully printed, and flexible applications require innovations in materials, device design and fabrication processes.

New device concepts for uniformity and energy efficiency

The Source-Gated Transistor (SGT) is a type of electronic device invented at the University of Surrey.

Solution processable nanowire field-effect transistors

Assembly of field-effect transistors (FETs) using semiconducting inks at low temperatures on large areas, and on optically transparent substrates, are finding potential applications in many areas including: sensors, RFID tags, memory elements, and flexible display applications.

Conjugated polymers field-effect transistors

Polymer field-effect transistors (FETs) are promising candidates for the fabrication of low-cost electronic circuits and pixel drivers, due to the potential of depositing all device elements from solution into layered thin-film structures and onto flexible substrates.

RF devices and measurements

Nanoelectronics Centre

RF devices and measurements

A full list of capabilities and research areas can be found on the n3m-labs microsite.


Nanoelectronic Centre

Pressure and presence sensors

We are developing materials, devices and circuits for interaction detection in smart living environments.

Gesture sensors and user interaction

Optical detection of user interaction with physical objects fomrs the basis of the current EPSRC project "Next Generation Paper", a collaboration between Surrey, The Open University and VTT, Finland.