Group edit

Daniel Castillo
Research Project: Key processes governing luminescence temperature memory coating systems
Supervisors: Stephen Skinner (Imperial), Jörg Feist (SCS – Sensor Coating Systems Ltd.), Christopher Pilgrim (SCS)
After graduating from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, and enjoying some time working abroad, Daniel joined the Department of Materials at Imperial College to research the manufacturing of better luminescent coatings. Daniel aims to extend the life and temperature regime of existing material systems by understanding the microstructural evolution through multiple characterisation techniques.
Victor Chang
Research Project: Photocathodes for the next generation of free electron lasers
Supervisors: Nicholas Harrison (Imperial), David Payne (Imperial)
Victor graduated in Chemistry from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He then completed an MRes in Nanomaterials at Imperial College London. Victor’s research project focuses on the theoretical modelling of photocathode materials for the Free Electron Laser and the experimental study of metal oxide thin films on metal photocathodes. This project is in collaboration with ASTeC group of the STFC Daresbury Laboratory.
Tommaso Costantini
Research Project: Joule-heatable hybrid nancarbon network supports for CO2 capture
Supervisors: Milo Shaffer (Imperial), Chris Howard (UCL)
Tommaso graduated from the University of Padova with a Master’s degree in Materials Science; his Master’s thesis was focused on the functionalisation of carbon nanostructures for non-conventional composite materials.
Carbon nanostructures are known for their high electrical conductivity, mechanical strength and surface area, and Tommaso aims to develop a hybrid carbon nanotube/graphene aerogel with enhanced surface area and accessible hierarchical porosity. This nanocarbon network will be used as support for Layered Double Hydroxides (LDHs) to enhance the CO2 adsorption capacity of LDH platelets. The high surface area and porosity of the support can maximise the gas accessibility and minimise the coarsening of the LDHs, improving multi-cycle stability. Furthermore, the aerogel itself will be used to heat up the LDHs during the CO2 adsorption/desorption temperature swings, via direct Joule heating, allowing uniquely fast cycling relevant to applications.
A wide range of complementary characterisation techniques will be employed in the study of the hybrid nanocarbon-sorbent material. Being a member of the CDT-ACM will support Tommaso’s project in the development of new 3D methods to characterise the anisotropic hierarchical porosity of the hybrid network.
Cameron Dashwood
Research Project: Combining electron correlations and topology: novel electronic phases in the pyrochlore iridates
Supervisors: Des McMorrow (UCL), David Payne (Imperial)
Cameron joined the CDT-ACM having graduated from the University of Cambridge with a BA and MSci in Natural Sciences (specialising in physics). Cameron’s interest in correlated electron systems began during a research placement at Caltech, where he studied the ferromagnetic phase transition of lithium osmate using a novel femtosecond-resolved second harmonic rotational anisotropy spectrometer. For his PhD Cameron is working with Des McMorrow and David Payne to study the pyrochlore iridates – a group of materials in which the delicate interplay between electric correlations and spin-orbit coupling lead to exotic quantum phases. These phases will be probed with X-ray scattering and angle-resolved photoemission techniques at facilities in the UK and abroad.
Simran Dhaliwal
Research Project: Electronic structure of light harvesting semiconducting oxide photo-electro-catalysis under realistic conditions
Supervisors: Geoff Thornton (UCL), David Payne (Imperial)
Simran graduated from The University of Reading with an MChem in 2017. Simran’s research at Reading mainly focused on developing a software for analyzing powder X-ray diffraction data. Simran is currently undertaking a PhD with the CDT-ACM under the supervision of Professor Geoff Thornton (UCL), Professor Georg Held (Diamond Light Source) and Dr David Payne (Imperial). Her current research focuses on surface science studies of physical and chemical phenomena occurring at the interface of two phases. She will aim to further bridge the pressure gap between fundamental studies and studies performed under realistic conditions. The main aim will be to investigate the photo-stability of the titanium dioxide/water interface. Simran also aims to implement a liquid cell at Diamond Light Source on the B07 beamline (AP-XPS endstation) to probe the solid/liquid interface.e the silicon and keeping track of where it is.
Elwin Hunter Sellars
Research Project: Advanced characterisation of small molecule adsorption in complex solid materials
Supervisors: Daryl Williams (Imperial), Ivan Parkin (UCL)
Elwin graduated with an MEng in Chemical Engineering from UCL. His project is focused on air cleaning and environmental applications and has two key goals. First, the development of novel techniques for measuring the adsorption interactions of materials with complex headspaces consisting of multiple volatile species and an excess water vapour. Second, using these techniques to characterise the interactions of harmful species with a range of solid materials: industrial adsorbents, such as activated charcoals and zeolites; household materials, such as cotton, polyester, and polypropylene; and novel adsorbents such as porous polymers and zeolitic frameworks. By understanding how these materials adsorb VOCs in real-world conditions, important design and screening decisions can be made for the application of air cleaning.
Ioannis Ierides
Research Project: Characterisation of organic semiconductors for the development of high efficiency photovoltaics
Supervisors: Fracno Cacialli (UCL), Natalie Stingelin (Imperial), Hugo Bronstein (Cambridge)
The focus of Ioannis’s PhD project is to modify the binding energy of excitons in fullerene and non-fullerene acceptors by increasing their dielectric constants. Applying these materials to ternary blends Ioannis aims to enhance the efficiency of solution processed organic photovoltaics. He is also interested in using electroabsorption spectroscopy to engineer electrode-semiconductor interfaces in perovskite photovoltaics. Prior to his PhD studies, Ioannis completed a BSc in Physics and an MRes in Nanomaterials at Imperial College London where he researched solution processed photovoltaics based upon inorganic nanocrystals.
Caoimhe Joyce Caoimhe Joyce
Research Project: Nanoscale engineering of multifunctional probes for cancer diagnosis and theraputics
Supervisors: Fang Xie (Imperial), Thanh Nguyen (UCL)

Caomihe received her B.Sc. in Chemistry with Biophysical Chemistry from University College Dublin in 2016. She then moved to London to pursue an MRes degree in Nanomaterials at Imperial College London. Caoimhe is now undertaking a PhD project with the CDT-ACM under the supervision of Dr. Fang Xie and Professor Thanh Nguyen which aims to address the current difficulty with early stage cancer detection through the use of functionalized nano-agents, and provide simultaneous treatment.
Thomas McAuliffe
Research Project: Deformation mechanisms in Co/Ni-base superalloys
Supervisor: David Dye (Imperial)
Thomas graduated in 2017 from the University of Cambridge, with an MSci project in the physical metallurgy of high-entropy alloys. His PhD investigates deformation mechanisms in novel Co/Ni-base dual phase polycrystalline superalloys for use in jet engines, in collaboration with Rolls-Royce. This involves observing dislocations and stacking faults during creep via TEM, and measuring their energies. Grain boundary sliding and microstructural changes will be characterised using EBSD, SEM and DIC. Understanding the effect of stress, temperature and composition on these behaviours will be used to develop and optimise mechanical properties.
Seigo Masuda
Research Project: Multiscale characterisation of 2D nanomaterials in the environment for assessment of their potential hazards
Supervisors: Alex Porter and Milo Shaffer (Imperial)
Seigo attended Edinburgh University where he read Chemistry before coming to Imperial College to undertake a PhD in Materials. During his undergraduate studies Seigo completed a placement at P&G where he researched quantification of microbial growth with isothermal microcalorimetry and hyperspectral imaging. Seigo’s Masters project for his MChem at Edinburgh University was on the AFT characterisation of lubrication under high pressure with Professor Colin Pulhma. His PhD is supervised by Professor Alexandra Porter and Professor Milo Shaffer, and investigates 2D nanomaterial characterisaton in the environment for risk assessment.
Roisin O’Connell
Research Project: Designing nanostructural advanced polymer materials for gas sensing and adsorption
Supervisors: Joao Cabral, Alex Porter, Julia Higgins (Imperial)
Roisin graduated from the University of Leeds where she gained her masters in chemical engineering. During her time at Leeds Roisin’s research was primarily based on the study of crystallisation of organic materials, specifically active pharmaceutical ingredients. Roisin’s current research is focused on gaining an understanding of the thermodynamics, phase behaviour and route of formation of porous polymer gas adsorbers. If a full understanding of these properties can be obtained, the structure and size of the pores could be fine-tuned to broaden the applications of the material.
Paul Ryan
Research Project: Structural and ambient pressure XPS investigation of metal/metal-oxide interface
Supervisors: David Payne (Imperial), Tien-Lin Lee (Diamond Light Source Ltd)
Paul completed an MSci in Chemistry from the University of Bristol graduating in 2016. For his PhD studies, Paul is based at both Imperial College London in David Payne’s advanced photoelectron spectroscopy group and at Diamond Light Source Ltd as part of the research group on beamline I09. Paul’s project entails the investigation of metal/ metal-oxide interfaces with a particular focus on metals deposited on magnetite (Fe3O4). Remarkably, the Fe3O4(100) surface is able to stabilise a range of single metal centres, or adatoms, up to temperatures of 700 K. These adatoms have promising potential as single atom catalysts with much improved properties over more conventional heterogeneous catalysts.
Aasim Shaffi
Research Project: Layered double hydroxide nanomaterials
Supervisors: Neal Skipper (UCL), Milo Shaffer (Imperial)
Aasim graduated with a masters in Chemistry (MChem), from Loughborough University. Aasim then worked as a researcher, where he looked at 3D-printing systems, which created objects via the curing of photopolymer resins. In particular, he looked at hybridising these resins with inorganic nanoparticles, to enhance their properties. Aasim is now undertaking his PhD, which is based in the Physics Department at UCL and the Chemistry Department at Imperial College. His project looks at a class of materials, known as Layered Double Hydroxides (LDH); he will aim to understand these materials on a more fundamental level. Furthermore, Aasim will optimise the chemistry of LDHs, in order to render them more effective in their various applications.
Alex Vanstone
Research Project: Designer magnetic interfaces – spin ice thin films and magnetic nanostructures
Supervisors: Will Branford (Imperial), Steve Bramwell and Laura Bovo (UCL)
Alex graduated from Imperial College with an MSci in Physics. His PhD research project is on the integration of magnetic nanostructures with thin films of magnetic pyrochlore oxide (spin ice). These materials exhibit exotic low-temperature magnetism, most famously emergent magnetic monopoles. Alex aims to explore how confinement into thin films affects the properties of spin ice and to engineer coupling between the magnetic nanostructures and the spin ice phase.
Yunyang Wang Yunyang Wang
Research Project: Mulitmodal characteristics of engineered nanomaterials in the environment
Supervisors: Alex Porter and Fang Xie (Imperial)
Yunyang graduated from the Harbin Institute of Technology with a BSc in Composite Materials and Engineering.  He has been involved in several research projects during his undergraduate studies including a project which aimed to study the structure design and optimisation for sections of long composite materials wings by implementing finite element analysis to assemble the wing component. The final research outcomes were awarded several patents in China. Yungyang then went to the University of Manchester for my take an MSc researching Graphene. He is currently completing a PhD under the supervision of Professor Alexandra Porter and his current interests involve the different characterisation technology of nanomaterials.