Alexis Belessiotis
Research Project: State of the art characterisation of tissue engineering contstructs
Supervisors: Giuseppe Battaglia (UCL), Molly Stevens, David Payne (Imperial)
Alexis graduated from Imperial College London with an MEng in Materials Science & Engineering in 2016. His final year project was performed within the Stevens Group at Imperial where he was working on cartilage tissue engineering scaffolds. Alexis is remaining with the same group for his PhD research which involves exploiting novel characterisation techniques to understand how cells interact with nanotextured devices and how successful they are in delivering cargo into the cytoplasm.
Ryan Bower
Research Project: Growth, characterisation and nanolithography of alternative plasmonic materials
Supervisors: Ed Romans (UCL), Peter Petrov (Imperial)
Ryan graduated from Oxford University with a Masters in Chemistry in 2014. For his final year research project Ryan worked in the Hayward group investigating the synthesis and characterisation of novel transition metal oxides. After living in Australia for 18 months Ryan returned to the UK to begin his PhD at Imperial under the supervision of Peter Petrov in the Thin Film Technology Laboratory. Ryan’s research will focus on the growth and characterisation of plasmonic materials.
Jay Bullen
Research Project: The removal of arsenic from groundwater
Supervisors: Dominik Weiss (Imperial), Ramon Vilar (Imperial)
Jay received a First-Class Honours degree (MSci) in Chemistry from University College London, with a master’s project using DFT calculations to model carbon nitride polymers as a material in lithium-ion energy device anodes. After working as a Chemistry teacher in South Korea Jay is now studying for a PhD, where his research  investigates the use of novel photocatalyst-sorbent composite materials for the removal of arsenic from contaminated drinking water in countries such as Bangladesh and India. Currently researching mesoporous titania-hematite composites, Jay is modelling surface adsorption through determination of surface charge (potentiometric titration), surface complexation constants (batch experiments, ICP-MS, ICP-AES) and physical characterisation with LEIS and BET analysis. The next part of this work will involve determining rate constants for the UV catalysed oxidation of As(III) to As(V) in different aqueous media. In these experiments arsenic speciation is determined by Anodic Stripping Voltammetry. Characterisation techniques used so far include XRD, SEM-EDS, TEM, LEIS, and BET analysis.
Procopios Constantinou
Research Project: Studying and manipulating the quantum properties of atomic-scale defects in silicon for future device applications
Supervisors: Steven Schofield (UCL), Gabriel Aeppli (PSI)
Procopios recently graduated from Cardiff University with an MPhys in Physics. His research interests have always been broadly associated with condensed matter physics, with his most recent work focussing on modelling convergent beam low-energy electron diffraction (CBLEED) to simulate the different surface phase transitions of Si(001). This work was performed at Cardiff University under the supervision of Professor Jesson. Further to this work, Procopios has become intrigued in the methods used to fabricate and study novel structures based on Si for their potential use in future devices. His work in the CDT-ACM involves the exploitation of defects in Si to fabricate and study quantum systems with novel electronic, optical and magnetic properties. Using the scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) hydrogen resist technique, small quantum defect structures from dopant atoms will be buried below a Si surface by exploiting arrays of 1D and 2D dangling bonds on the depassivated regions of silicon. The atomic scale interactions taking place within these structures will then be investigated by using scanning tunnelling spectroscopy (STS) and Angle-Resolved Photoemission Spectroscopy (ARPES) measurements in the hope of developing new routes for nanoscale device fabrication on Si.
Eleanor Crane
Research Project: Single atom devices with controllable electrical and optical properties
Supervisors: Neil Curson (UCL), Steven Schofield (UCL)
Eleanor is using cryogenic scanning tunneling microscopy to isolate electrons for making qubits (quantum bits) for a quantum computer. This is why the ACM CDT should give Eleanor a head start, because she will learn about many other important techniques used in research labs worldwide. Having first completed an Electrical Engineering Master’s in Paris, Eleanor came to UCL to do a MSc in Nanotechnology last year. She was then motivated to look for the right PhD in experimental quantum physics to continue her research. A phosphorous atom has one more electron than a silicon one, so if a phosphorous atom is put inside a silicon lattice, there is an extra electron in the structure. This extra electron can have either an up or a down spin and can therefore be used to make a qubit (quantum bit). Eleanor’s PhD looks at ways of putting this single atom inside the silicon and keeping track of where it is.
Felicity Dear
Research Project: Fundamental mechanisms in titanium
Supervisors: David Dye (Imperial), Vassili Vorontsov (Imperial)
Felicity received her MSci from the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge in 2016. Her Masters research project looked at the oxidation behaviours of new nickel-base superalloys. During her summer breaks, Felicity also undertook research projects in graphite intercalation compounds for hydrogen storage (based at UCL and ISIS Neutron Source), and in cobalt-base superalloy development with the Engineering Alloys group at Imperial College. She started her PhD with the same group at Imperial in 2016, after a research trip to look at titanium alloy samples in Berkeley, California. This work will feed into her PhD investigating fundamental mechanisms in titanium alloys to improve their performance as aerospace materials.
Troy Dion
Research Project: GHz spin excitation and detection of artificial nano-magnets
Supervisors: Hidekazu Kurebayashi (UCL), Will Branford (Imperial)

Troy graduated from the University of Leeds with an MSc in Physics. Troy specialised in condensed matter, and his final year project investigated Skyrmions. After graduation Troy lived in Hamburg for nine months working in a cafe and improving his German. He then worked at Nature Scientific Reports for a year as a publishing assistant before beginning his PhD research at UCL.
Jennifer Hack
Research Project: Multi-scale characterisation of polymer electrolyte fuel cells
Supervisors: Dan Brett and Paul Shearing (UCL), Nigel Brandon (Imperial)
Jen graduated from Durham University with an MChem in Chemistry (International Route). Jen carried out her final year research project at the University of Würzburg, Germany, where she explored the synthesis and characterisation of luminescent coordination compounds. During her studies, Jen spent a summer at the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France, where she used computational chemistry to elucidate oxygen ion migration in solid oxide fuel cells.
Jen’s PhD research project aims to elucidate the degradation processes occurring in polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs), by correlating their electrochemical performance to structural changes that arise. Using a multiscale approach, information about PEFCs from the stack‑ to the nanoparticle‑level can be obtained. X‑ray computed tomography (X‑ray CT) is a technique that is particularly well suited to imaging across the length scales and has the further advantage that imaging is carried out in 3‑dimensions without any damage to the sample. Jen will also be using techniques such as scanning electron microscopy, electrochemical characterisation including cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy to assist with her research.
Philip Haynes
Research Project: Advanced atomic force microscopy of DNA minicircles
Supervisors: Bart Hoogenboom (UCL), Ramon Vilar Compte (Imperial)
Philip completed a Master’s degree in Physics at the University of Exeter. Whilst there he built a microelectrophoresis system and investigated the feasibility of a novel Millikan style set-up to measure the surface charge of human erythrocytes (RBCs). As part of his PhD Philip will be studying the formation and dynamics of non-canonical DNA structures using AFM and FRET. In particular, G-quadruplex DNA has been shown to regulate oncogene expression and is a promising target for anti-cancer therapies. With the construction of a native model system, assays of G-quadruplex binders will be carried out with implications for drug development. Further to this, AFM and other fluorescence based techniques will be used elucidate mechanisms behnind genome organisation. Philip aims to futher improve AFM resolution (spatial and temporal) as past of a close collaboration with Bruker in Santa Barbara, California.
Emily Hofmann
Research Project: Electronic and structural properties of germanium-tin nanostructures for future optoelectronics
Supervisors: Neil Curson (UCL) and Thomas Schroeder (IHP)
Emily graduated from RWTH Aachen University in Aachen, Germany with a MSc in Physics for which she won the “Nachwuchspreis der Freunde des IHP” award. Her PhD research at UCL and IHP is focused on the fundamental study of germanium-tin alloys, a new material for novel applications of modern electronics. By scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy she studies the electronic and structural properties of germanium-tin alloys starting with only one atomic layer of tin on germanium. Coupled with further characterization methods the insight gained should aid in optimizing germanium-tin alloys for application in current technology.
Epameinondas Skountzos
Research Project: Understanding the electrochemical behaviour of stainless steels in bromide containing solutions
Supervisors: Kyra Sedransk Campbell (Imperial) and Mary Ryan (Imperial)
Minos graduated with an MSc in Advanced Materials Science and Engineering from Imperial College London after completing his MEng in Chemical Engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece). Currently, as a member of the Centre for Doctoral Training in the Advanced Characterisation of Materials, he studying for a PhD under the supervision of Dr Kyra Sedransk Campbell and Prof Mary Ryan. His PhD project, funded by BP-ICAM, aims to improve the understanding of stainless steel behaviour in corrosive environments and specifically bromide containing solutions.
Jamie Thompson
Research Project: Development and characterisation of photoelectrocatalytic devices for artificial photosynthesis and solar fuel production
Supervisors: James Durrant (Imperial), Bin Chen (NASA)
After graduating with a Chemistry degree from the University of Southampton, Jamie spent almost two years working at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, in close collaboration with Xerox PARC. His work now focuses on characterization and development of materials for performing artificial photosynthesis (conversion of carbon dioxide into oxygen and solar fuels), as part of an ongoing collaboration with NASA and PARC. He is working under the supervision of Professor James Durrant and hopes to develop aspects of printable life support systems for both terrestrial and off-planet applications. Jamie has specialist training in Transient Absorption Spectroscopy, Gas Chromatography, Raman Spectroscopy, Various Microscopy Techniques as well as vast experience in, 3D Printing, Inkjet Printing, and Rapid Prototyping.
Chen-yu Tsai
Research Project: Evaluation of layered oxide composites as co-electrolysis anodes
Supervisors: Stephen Skinner (Imperial), Ainara Aguadero (Imperial)
Chen-Yu graduated with a Masters in Engineering (Chemical) from the University of Melbourne. As part of his Masters degree, Chen-Yu worked with HRL Limited to undertake a literature review and engineering assessment with the topic of “Generating synthesis gas using Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells”. In addition, Chen-Yu undertook a one year study exchange at Imperial in 2014/2015 which inspired him to apply for the PhD programme at the university. His PhD research will focus on synthesising and characterising new layered oxide materials for the application of solid oxide electrolysis cell anodes.
ew Elena Watts
Research Project: Flexible nanomaterials for pressure sensing at the screen/human interface
Supervisors: Jason Riley (Imperial)
Elena is working on the project ‘Flexible and transparent piezoresistors for pressure sensing at the machine/human interface’. The movement towards flexible and transparent electronics demands functional components with appropriate material properties. Elena is working on novel ways to create pressure sensors that have both transparency and flexibility using a range of conductive nanomaterials. A multi-step fabrication procedure for an optically transparent piezoresistive material has been developed using a collection of techniques such as metal sputtering, lithography and electrochemical deposition. With her remaining time at Imperial, Elena hopes to study the associated piezoresistive mechanism by conducting in-situ characterisation experiments.