Magnetism and Nanomaterials
General research topics investigated include the electronic, magnetic and magneto-optic properties of magnetic and semiconductor thin film structures, including the fabrication and characterisation of nanostructured materials – with an emphasis on self-organised electrochemical and focused ion-beam direct-write fabrication techniques and linear and non-linear optical characteristics in the context of photonics and metamaterials. Investigations have involved both experimental and numerical work, in addition to the development of appropriate techniques and instrumentation.
A particular focus has been in the potential applications of nanostructured materials in the energy sector and the development of a novel quantitative time-resolved polarisation microscopy for applications in life science and materials research. This work, in collaboration with biologists at Salford and Manchester Universities, has led to the recent establishment of the spin out company Optimum Imaging Ltd.
Techniques such as magneto-optical Stokes polarimetry, soft X-ray microscopy and spin-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy accompany research involving the fabrication of magnetic nanowires and focused ion-beam patterning of thin films. Both mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline nanowire arrays have been fabricated, by pulsed dc electro-deposition, and studies of the phase relations and textures of particular nanowire arrays have been undertaken.
Other research has investigated: ion-beam irradiated gold nano-rods (including molecular dynamical modelling); the effects of solvents on electro-spinning of nanotubes (investigating and characterising the nanotube formation process); characterisation of magnetic multilayer nanowires (with a view to their applications in nano-devices and nano-electronics); Mossbauer spectroscopy and neutron diffraction studies of magnetostrictive alloy ribbons; and fabrication and nano-scale characterisation of multi-particle-chain nano-fibres (considering implications for biomagnetic nano-devices).