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30-min podcast "Little lights with big ideas" with Professor Rachel Oliver.

Rachel Oliver, Professor of Materials Science at University of Cambridge, speaks to Real Scientists Nano about her research work on the small scale (nano) structure of gallium nitride in existing and new devices.

In this on podcast, "Little lights with big ideas", Rachel explains why nanostructure is important in light emitting diodes, what gallium nitride can do for us and, a topic she is passionate about, diversity in science.

When asked to explain her work in simple terms, Rachel said, “I work on a material called gallium nitride. If you have energy efficient light bulbs at home, based on light emitting diodes (LEDS) then gallium nitride is the material that the actual LEDs are made of. I look at the small scale (nano) structure of the material in devices like LEDs and try to understand it and engineer it, to get those devices to work better. I also engineer new nanostructures, for new devices.”

Rachel is a Professor of Materials Science at University of Cambridge and active supervisor for the CEPS and IPES CDT. Real Scientists Nano provide a platform for materials/nano scientists to communicate their research and engage with the public.

Read more about Rachel and listen to the podcast

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Benjamin Keenlyside presents at SPIE Photonics West 2021

Wavefront shaping through multimode fibres to enable endoscopic photoacoustic tomography

Benjamin Keenlyside, PhD student on the IPES CDT, presented a research paper at SPIE Photonics West on 6 March 2021 on the topic of Wavefront shaping through multimode fibres to enable endoscopic photoacoustic tomography.

The paper by Ben and a team of researchers at University College London (UCL) demonstrates how wavefront shaping through multimode fibres onto a Fabry-Perot optical ultrasound sensor can overcome this limitation, producing an endoscopic imaging system with a footprint an order of magnitude smaller than the state of the art.

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Watch the presentation here

To view the presentation: UCL staff and students can access the presentation by using a UCL computer on-site, logging in via UCL VPN or through OpenAthens. If you are off-site or not using UCL VPN, access is only available with SPIE subscription.


There has been considerable interest in extending photoacoustic imaging techniques to endoscopic devices, which would enable a diverse range of applications, e.g. assessment of coronary artery disease or surgical guidance. However, the difficulty of miniaturising traditional piezoelectric sensors has mostly prevented tomography-mode endoscopic imaging, where an array of sensors is used to reconstruct the full ultrasound field to centimeter-scale depths. In this work we demonstrate how wavefront shaping through multimode fibres onto a Fabry-Perot optical ultrasound sensor can overcome this limitation, producing an endoscopic imaging system with a footprint an order of magnitude smaller than the state of the art.


Benjamin Keenlyside, Dylan Marques, Maxim Cherkashin, Edward Zhang, Peter Munro, Paul Beard, James Guggenheim, "Wavefront shaping through multimode fibres to enable endoscopic photoacoustic tomography," Proc. SPIE 11652, Adaptive Optics and Wavefront Control for Biological Systems VII, 116520M (5 March 2021);

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Cambridge PhD student secures Fellowship worth up to £80,000

George Roberts, PhD student on the IPES CDT, has secured a Fellowship to aid development of his data transmitter technology and help unlock its commercial potential.

His project – joint with Toshiba Research Europe – is a data transmitter to standardise next-generation quantum communications. The three-year Fellowship will provide George with the means to develop this innovative technology, ideally leading to a patent, while completing his PhD.

“I’m working on a technology known as quantum key distribution (QKD), which enables perfectly secure telecommunications based on the fundamental laws of physics; hence QKD-encrypted data is future-proof,” said George.

George Roberts is a student with the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Integrated Photonic and Electronic Systems (IPES). He has been named as one of the UK’s most promising young doctoral engineers by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. His current supervisor is Seb Savory, Professor of Optical Fibre Communication at University of Cambridge.

Read the full article



CDT MRes student publication is Editors Choice

Jounal paper on "Switching of Radiation Force on Optically Trapped Microparticles through Photochromic Reactions of Pyranoquinazoline Derivatives" is recognised as ACS Editors Choice in the Journal of Physical Chemistry.

Congratulations to Ahsan Murtaza Memon, a Cambridge CDT MRes student, who has just co-authored a paper selected as Editors Choice and will feature for the cover of paper publication next month.

The paper's abstract is below.

Photocontrol of mechanical motions of small objects has attracted much attention to develop mesoscopic remote actuators. For this purpose, photoinduced morphological changes of molecules, molecular aggregates, and crystals have been extensively studied in the field of chemistry and materials science. Here, we propose direct use of momenta of light (i.e. radiation force) to control the motion of small objects, through photochromic reactions of pyranoquinazoline (PQ) derivatives. PQ is colorless in visible wavelength region while it is in closed form and undergoes photochemical ring-opening reactions to form colored isomers upon UV light irradiation; the open-ring isomers return to the colorless closed isomers mainly through the thermal back reaction. In the experiment, individual polymer microparticles with diameters of 7 μm incorporating PQ were trapped by optical tweezers. When the trapped microparticle was irradiated with UV light, the microparticle was pushed along the axis of light propagation about a few micrometers by absorption force arising from PQ in colored form. In addition, we found that dynamics of trapped microparticles was regulated by the thermal back reaction of PQ. The present results demonstrate that diversity of photochromic reactions can be transcribed into mesoscopic motions through the momentum exchange between light and molecules.

CDT supervisor awarded the coveted Pilkington Prize in recognition of teaching excellence

Dr Hannah Joyce is among 13 winners of the coveted Pilkington Prize for Teaching and Learning 2021 in recognition of her teaching excellence. As well as the prestige of winning the award Hannah will receive £1,000.

This year's Pilkington Prize Winners were celebrated in a virtual ceremony held on Tuesday 29 June 2021. The University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen J Toope, opened the ceremony with a message of congratulations and thanks to all Prize Winners.

Dr Joyce said:
"I feel really privileged to teach Engineering at Cambridge. Winning a Pilkington Prize during such a challenging time is particularly meaningful to me.”

Dr Hannah Joyce

Dr Hannah Joyce, one of 13 prize winners, lectures on electromagnetics and semiconductor engineering, for which she has received excellent feedback from the students - including some of the highest presentation marks in student surveys and nominations for ‘Best Lecturer’. Her engaging teaching style and clarity have been particularly appreciated, referencing both historical elements and popular culture. She has run the postgraduate Researcher Development Course in the Electrical Division at University of Cambridge for over 5 years, enhancing the professional skills of research students. As a female engineer, she is a role model to female students.

Dr Joyce said: "I feel really privileged to teach Engineering at Cambridge. The students are among the most brilliant in the world and their enthusiasm is contagious, so I draw a lot of inspiration from them. Their insightful questions frequently cause me to deepen my own understanding of the material I teach. So really, teaching is win-win!”

“The pandemic has created a lot of challenges for students and lecturers alike. I am really impressed with how well students have adapted, and the patience and understanding they have demonstrated as we lecturers scrambled to find Covid-safe teaching methods. Winning a Pilkington Prize during such a challenging time is particularly meaningful to me.”

The Pilkington Prize

The Pilkington Prize was set up in 1994 by Sir Alastair Pilkington, who believed that the quality of teaching was crucial to the University’s success. The prizes are awarded to individuals who make a substantial contribution to the teaching programme of a Department, Faculty or the University as a whole. Nominations are made by each of the six Schools.

Read more

Full article:

Published: 05 Jul 2021, University of Cambridge.

Dr Hannah Joyce:

Dr Hannah Joyce is a Fellow of St. John’s College, University of Cambridge, where she is Director of Studies for second-year engineering students and is a Reader in the Department of Engineering. Hannah is a supervisor on the Centre for Doctoral Training in Connected Electronic & Photonic Systems (CEPS CDT).

Photo credit: Media Communications, University of Cambridge.

PervasID wins a Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2021

PervasID develop battery-free Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) reader systems for automating inventory and asset tracking

PervasID, founded by University of Cambridge alumnus Dr Sabesan Sithamparanathan and CEPS CDT Directors Prof Richard Penty, Dr Michael Crisp and Prof Ian White, is a fast-growing technology company that designs and supplies world-leading, passive (battery-free) RFID fixed reader systems for automating inventory tracking, stock taking and asset management processes. Their patented products are enabling organisations across a wide range of markets to streamline processes by providing unparalleled visibility into goods, assets and people.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next five years. The award recognises PervasID’s pioneering work in battery-free tag tracking technology to allow enterprises to improve how they manage inventory and optimise their asset management. PervasID now joins just over 7,000 UK enterprises which have received this Royal recognition since the Awards were established in 1965.

PervasID’s technology for passive RAIN (RAdio frequency IdentificatioN) RFID fixed reader systems for automating inventory tracking, stock-taking and asset management processes was developed in Cambridge and is sold around the world. Clients include high-profile department stores, industrial companies, healthcare establishments, systems integrators and large-scale enterprises.

This unique technology solution delivers unparalleled accuracy, speed and cost effectiveness. A single PervasID RFID reader can cover up to 400 m2 with 99% plus accuracy in real time, capable of readily scaling to much larger areas, such as industrial warehouses, multi-storey buildings or sprawling healthcare campuses. The company’s RFID readers have significantly greater accuracy, range and speed than any other RFID readers on the market.

“It is fantastic to see this technology recognised through this Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. The original concept was developed as part of a PhD project and wider collaboration which included UCL and Cambridge investigators who are now part of the CEPS CDT.

The broad range of end-users of these products shows how PhD research and the UCL/Cambridge collaboration can have impact well beyond the academic community and high tech sectors," said Dr Michael Crisp, co-founder of PervasID and CEPS CDT Programme Manager.

About PervasID

PervasID is a technology company that designs and supplies passive RAIN RFID fixed reader systems for automating inventory tracking, stock taking and asset management processes.

It was founded by University of Cambridge, Department of Engineering, alumni Dr Sabesan Sithamparanathan and CEPS CDT Directors, Prof Richard Penty, Dr Michael Crisp and Prof Ian White.

PervasID is a valued industry partner of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Connected Electronic & Photonic Systems (CEPS CDT).

Read more

Full news article published by University of Cambridge, April 2021.

Headshot of Professor Richard Penty   Prof Richard Penty is the Director of Research Strategy for the CEPS CDT, Editor-in-Chief of IET Optoelectronics and Master of Sidney Sussex College at the University of Cambridge.

Headshot of Dr Michael Crisp   Dr Michael Crisp is Cambridge Programme and Centre Manager for the CEPS CDT and lectures in Photonic and RF Systems at the University of Cambridge.

Main image: © PervasID

CEPS CDT partnership: two of the best universities in the world

UCL and University of Cambridge climb even higher in the QS World University Rankings 2022 international league table.

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IMAGES: University of Cambridge and UCL

The United Kingdom is home to five of the world’s top twenty universities according to the QS World University Rankings® international league table. CEPS CDT partner institutions, UCL and University of Cambridge, consistently rank in the top 10.

UCL has climbed from tenth to eight place this year and University of Cambridge has climbed from seventh to third.

QS is the world’s most-consulted international rankings, now including 1,300 universities. The company uses six indicators to compile the rankings: academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per faculty, faculty-to-student ratio, international faculty ratio and international student ratio.

Ben Sowter, Director of Research at QS, said the results highlighted the ‘enduring value of international collaboration’, adding: “It is no accident that the most internationally collaborative universities are also those enjoying success in our rankings.”

QS World University Ranking (year: 2022)
  1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  2 University of Oxford
=3 University of Cambridge
=3 Stanford University
  5 Harvard University
  6 California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  7 Imperial College London
=8 UCL
=8 ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Read more:

Congratulations to PhD student Peter Griffin

Another successful Viva result for the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Integrated Photonic and Electronic Systems.

Peter Griffin, PhD student at University of Cambridge on the IPES CDT, successfully passed his PhD Viva examination this month with minor corrections.

Peter’s thesis title was "Porosity in Nitride Semiconductors" and he has published numerous papers derived from his research. Peter will now be awarded a PhD.

Congratulations Dr Griffin!

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