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Energy Transitions Research at the University of Cambridge



Our research is mainly concerned with different aspects of (bio)chemical sensing (e.g. using MEMS or optical devices), and with non-crystalline materials (e.g. glasses), understanding their physical properties in terms of their atomic structure and defects. The approach is multidisciplinary, covering solid-state chemistry, physics and materials science. Areas of interest include:

Microcantilever sensors for ultra-sensitive detection of chemical and biological analytes.

Optical sensors, including evanescent-waveguide sensors, SERS using holographic substrates.

Computer simulation of the atomic structure and vibrational dynamics of disordered materials.

Ab-initio computer simulation of phase transformations and optically-induced metastabilities in glasses, e.g. used in phase-change memories (Flash replacement).

Experimental study of optically-induced changes in glasses, with applications in the fields of optical- waveguides and chemical sensors, data storage and all-optical actuation.



Key publications: 

  • Computer-simulation design of new phase-change memory materials. Phys. Status Solidi A 207, 510 (2010)

  • Spatial distribution of rare-earth ions and GaS4 tetrahedra in chalcogenide glasses studied via laser spectroscopy and ab initio molecular dynamics simulation. Phys. Rev. B 81, 104204 (2010)

  • Simultaneous readout of multiple microcantilever arrays with phase-shifting interferometric microscopy (PSIM) Rev. Sci. Instr. (2009), 80, 093101-8

  • Evidence of formation of tightly bound rare-earth clusters in chalcogenide glasses and their evolution with glass compositions. Phys Rev B, (2009), 79, 180202(1-4)

  • Evanescent-Wave Excitation of Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Substrates by an Optical-Fiber Taper. Optics Letters (2009) 34, 2685-2687

  • Microscopic origin of the fast crystallization ability of Ge-Sb-Te phase-change memory materials, Nat. Mat., (2008), 7, 399

  • All-optical actuation of amorphous chalcogenide-coated cantilevers, J. Non-Cryst. Sol., (2007), 353, 250.

  • Universal features of terahertz absorption in disordered materials, Phys. Rev. Lett., (2006), 97, 055504

  • Universal features of localized eigenstates in disordered systems, J. Phys. Cond. Matt, (2005), 17, L321


Professor of Chemical Physics
Professor Stephen  Elliott
Not available for consultancy


Departments and institutes: