Functional materials

chalcogenide glass for a photonic integrated optical circuit

The Functional Materials Group covers all aspects of the fabrication, characterisation and applications of materials primarily of interest for their electronic, optical and thermal properties. The applications are wide-ranging, including healthcare, communications, automotive, aerospace and the process and energy generation industries. We specialize in sensor materials for both healthcare and non-destructive testing, in high energy capacitors, carbon-based materials for thermal management and active optical materials for communications and biocompatibility. 

We have comprehensive facilities for the manufacture of particulates, solids and thin films of materials, particularly for oxides and glasses. Specialist material fabrication capabilities include optical fibre drawing, femtosecond and picosecond pulsed laser deposition, growth of large oxide single crystals and both bulk and thick film ceramics. As a world-leader in piezoelectric materials, we have unique capabilities for the measurement of ferroelectric and piezoelectric properties of materials as a function of temperature and electric field from 10 K to 1000 K up to 5 kV, supported by impedance spectroscopy over 11 decades of measurement frequency. Photonic materials research is supported by a wide range of optical characterization techniques.

The group has a close partnership with Thales UK Ltd on research for next generation sonar materials. We also benefit from continued collaboration with Ionix Advanced Technologies Ltd, a spin-out company based on previous research within the group. Collaborations with the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester focus on the development and manufacture of new materials for capacitor applications and with Liverpool University, on the elucidation of the role of crystalline disorder on the electronic and magnetic properties of oxides. The Group is also a major stakeholder in both the Bragg Centre for Advanced Materials and Royce at Leeds, in collaboration with the Condensed Matter Group in the School of Physics and Astronomy.

Further information

View all members of our research group and publications.

PhD projects

We have opportunities for prospective postgraduate researchers. Find out more.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss an area of research in more detail please contact the Research Group Lead, Dr Andrew Bell.