Electronic and Photonic Materials

Fibre optic network

Research into electronic and photonic materials – the building blocks of devices that exploit light and/or electric charge – promises to deliver cheaper, faster devices for information and communication technologies, inexpensive sensors to revolutionise healthcare and new methods of harvesting renewable energy.

This fast-moving and exciting research field focuses on new materials such as wide band-gap semiconductors and unconventional superconductors, with structure and composition controlled on the micron- and submicron-length scale.

This fast-moving and exciting research field focuses on new materials such as wide band-gap semiconductors and unconventional superconductors, with structure and composition controlled on the micron- and submicron-length scale.

Bristol's Electronic and Photonic Materials research theme is highly interdisciplinary and cuts across traditional subject boundaries. Much work focuses on materials and devices suitable for industrial application that are close to commercialisation. Research is centred on the Departments of Physics and Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and the School of Chemistry.

Novel materials under investigation include:

  • wide band-gap semiconductors for UV/white light emitters, high-speed electronics and power switches;
  • spintronics and materials for magnetic data storage;
  • diamond materials and devices for extra-bright, field-emission display screens and energy conversion;
  • new micro-materials for next-generation passive displays;
  • emerging materials with novel and potentially valuable electronic properties, like unconventional superconductivity and multiferroicity.

Materials characterisation is a crucial part of our research, and Bristol’s world-leading expertise in transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, magnetic measurements and optical spectroscopy are complemented by micro-fabrication and surface analytical facilities in the Interface Analysis Centre.

High-priority areas for research include:

  • solar energy conversion and storage devices;
  • opto-electronic devices and sensors;
  • correlated electron devices and spintronics.

The Managing Committee for the theme includes:

  • Prof W Schwarzacher (Chair)
  • Prof M Kuball (Physics)
  • Prof D Cherns (Physics)
  • Dr N Fox (Chemistry/Physics)
  • Dr P May (Chemistry)
  • Dr JM Rorison (Electrical and Electronic Engineering)
  • Dr TB Scott (Director, Interface Analysis Centre)