Keep up to date with the latest from the NAME team

Bluedot Festival 2023

On a damp weekend in July, the NAME team went to help out at the Marvellous Materials Royce stall at Bluedot festival. Bluedot is a music, science and culture event held annually in July since 2016 at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, England, combining music, live science experiments, expert talks and immersive artworks.
The NAME team spent the weekend delivering outreach activities, taking festivalgoers on a journey through how we use atoms as devices and create new materials. Initially investigating how we implant single atoms into a new material, demonstrating this with a ball pit using different weighted balls. Next, visitors used light microscopes to observe materials on the microscale, while Lego atomic force microscopy demonstrated how we observe surfaces at the atomic level. Finally, we demonstrated how this technology is used in real life with light and microwaves. Our outreach optic board light-to-sound demonstration used different optical components to show how we use light and how we can change it by listening to its responses. Our new miniature maser demonstrated how the Lovell Telescope keeps Jodrell Atomic Time.    
Although a little wet by the end, the team engaged with over 900 visitors, with some people coming back and asking more questions! The team got to enjoy many of the various acts through the weekend and through the mud including a Sunday headline from Grace Jones as well as the thumping beats of Leftfield.

Bradford Science Festival 2023

NAME researchers Philippa Shepley and Ahmet Yagmur joined in with the University of Leeds contribution to Bradford Science Festival. Over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of June the team talked to 500 visitors about how the structure of materials affects how we can use them in everyday life. They gave out 300 Crystal Creation maker kits for children to have a go at making their own crystal structures.

Not immaterial: Why the UK must play to its strengths in quantum technology

Richard Curry outlines how the UK can take a leading role in materials for quantum technology.

Richard Curry Interview on Quantum Computing

Richard Curry, Professor of Advanced Electronic Materials and Vice Dean for Research and Innovation and NAME Principal Investigator talks to Dave Espley on quantum computing and its implications for the future –

Be Curious

Philippa Shepley and Joel Burton went along the Be Curious 2023 festival at the University of Leeds to share our Crystal Creation maker kits.

The NAME researchers were joined by other members of the Condensed Matter group to show demonstrations of how we can use X-rays and Bragg’s law to look inside materials. Understanding the crystal structure of a material helps us to figure out what we can use it for.

Families visiting Be Curious learned about the exciting history of X-ray diffraction and crystal structures at Leeds. They had a go at making their own crystal structures using the maker kits.

You can find more details about the maker kits here:

Imperial Lates

NAME researchers attended Imperial College London’s “Tiny Science” event on 17th November 2022. The volunteers demonstrated the principles of ion implantation with the “ion smash” game and discussed its applications to next generation quantum technologies, including masers. 

Dr Daan Arroo, Dr Shelly Conroy, Dr Wern Ng, Geri Topori and Yongqiang Wen from the Imperial NAME team were joined by researchers from the maser lab at Imperial to demonstrate this exciting research and highlight the ongoing collaboration between Imperial, Manchester and Leeds. 

Photo from Brendan Foster Photography

Superheroes Unlimited

NAME senior technical specialist, Maddison Coke (University of Manchester) was recently involved in IOP family Summer Exhibition, Superheroes unlimited. The 2 month long exhibition in Islington London and associated events, engaged with both schools and the local community to highlight how physics will make a difference in our lives but also emphasising the diversity amongst the scientists, creating an exhibition with a diverse set of role models. Physicists were made into superheroes and showed how they use their “science super powers” to help solve problems in our world. Exhibits included demonstrations of ion implantation and microscopes, aiding in discussions from quantum computing to catalysis.

Many thanks to the NAME members at the University of Leeds for helping with curating the activities that were put on show and the University of Manchester Better World Funding for funds to be able to travel to the events.

More information on the event can be found here –

Image credit goes to Dom Martin/Institute of Physics

SPIE Conference – Advanced Electronic and Photonic Materials

From the 7th – 8th September 2022, the University of Manchester will be hosting the SPIE Conference on Advanced Electronic and Photonic Materials. The call for posters is NOW OPEN
Submit a poster and help address topics ranging from plasmonic materials and devices through to materials and systems for low-loss electronics, including advanced characterisation and the modelling and simulation of these systems. This two-day meeting seeks to connect experts, industry members, and students focused on the enabling role of advanced functional materials in future technologies. Proudly brought to you by partnering organisations the Henry Royce Institute, the University of Manchester, and SPIE.

THz Microscopy and Quantum Materials Workshop a great success
5th April 2022

The annual network meeting on Terahertz Microscopy and Quantum Materials came back with a bang. This year’s event was held in the Henry Royce Institute at the University of Manchester. The morning session consisted of talks from invited speakers on challenges and opportunities of terahertz microscopy in the quantum materials area. The discussion-led afternoon session was aimed at creating a database of capabilities and mapping opportunities. Neaspec–a partner/sponsor of the network–also provided alive demonstration of their cryoSNOM and room-temperature SNOM systems, which are a major part of the CUSTOM facility hosted within the Photon Science Institute at the University of Manchester. The techniques are significant to the research carried out in NAME programme grant.

NAME Network gathers for Q3
30th March 2022

The second in-person meeting of the NAME group was held at the University of Leeds. The event was kicked off with tours of their state-of-the-art 800m2 cleanroom, Terahertz suite and inter-connected multichambered Royce Deposition system, followed by a workshop on modelling ion implantation. The most important part of any in-person event is of course the networking, which was done in style at Sous le Nez, with wide ranging topics covered over a glass of wine.

The next day was filled with catch ups from the project leads, showing the promising work that has been done on the P-NAME tool, lab developments at Imperial, and sample preparation at Leeds. This was followed by a deep dive into the various characterisation capabilities within the group from Terahertz spectroscopy (Joshua Freeman, UoL), Laser & confocal microscopy (Daan Arroo & Daniel Jones, IC) and CUSTOM (Jessica Boland, UoM).The afternoon included sessions on creating tangible sample goals for the next quarter and the impact activities happening across the network.

Lastly, the network welcomed Elizabeth McKenzie–the new Programme Grant Manager–who outlined the next steps for NAME and provided extra thrust in the right direction.

NAME Network brings the power of Advanced Materials to New Scientist Live

NAME researchers from across the network attended the New Scientist Live festival in Manchester, bringing core concepts in Advanced Materials and interaction with light to the public. The major scientific outreach festival was attended by over 40,000 visitors who were able to engage with scientists, games and demonstrators that showed the wonders of science and its importance in society.

NAME researchers went along with a laser maze game, atomic ball pool, and several other activities. NAME PhD student Xinyun Liu who was volunteering at the event said: “It was great to see people of all ages really engaging with the demonstrations we had and getting excited about science”. For more information about the event can be found here.

Scientific outreach brings a breath of fresh air
18th March 2022

NAME PhD student Dan Blight (University of Manchester) was recently involved in The Great Science Share Clean Air Challenge. This is a brilliant opportunity for engagement between scientists and over3,000 primary school children across Greater Manchester. The project aims to highlight the importance of planning for a cleaner future, and to inspire the pupils to engage in scientific enquiry. Supported by the link scientists, the pupils have carried out an investigation into air pollution levels within their schools. They’re now analysing their findings and will present them at the Great Science Share for Schools in June. The project was organised by the Science and Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub (SEERIH) and the Royal Society.