The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
This is a research programme within the Physical Sciences subject area.
Two-year programme, 120 ECTS credit equivalent.
The School offers a two-year Master's degree in Physics in partnership with the South East Physics Network (SEPnet) which comprises the universities of Kent, Queen Mary London, Royal Holloway London, Southampton, Surrey and Sussex.
The programme involves both a taught and research component. In the first year, you will follow a taught Master's course, which includes specialised research, and in the second year you will undertake an advanced research project with the option to change locations to a SEPnet partner university or research institution. This may include Cern, Switzerland, the UK's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, ISIS, Diamond or NPL. The School of Physical Sciences at Kent offers EuroMasters research strands in Atomic and Condensed Matter and Astrophysics.
The MSc in Physics (EuroMasters) is fully compatible with the European Credit Transfer Accumulation System across the European Union and other collaborating European countries, and qualifies students to pursue a PhD or a career in physics upon completion. It is also open to UK entrants.
SEPnet scholarships are available for this programme, which cover tuition fees and may provide up to €13,000 towards living expenses; please state your interest when making enquiries or when applying.
Please contact us for further information.
Applied Optics Group
This activity largely covers research into the fundamental properties of guided wave interferometers, and their application in fields ranging from monitoring bridge structures to diagnostic procedures in medicine.
Biomedical imaging/Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
OCT is a relatively new technique which can provide very high-resolution images of tissue, and which has a major application in imaging the human eye. We are investigating different in-fibre configurations to increase the rate at which images are acquired without compromising the depth penetration. The group is developing systems in collaboration with a variety of different national and international institutions to extend the OCT capabilities from systems dedicated to eye imaging to systems for imaging skin and tooth caries. Distinctively, the OCT systems developed at Kent can provide both transverse and longitudinal images from the tissue, along with a confocal image. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary is now evaluating a copy of our instrument, which blends fluorescence, confocal and OCT technologies. Another project is evaluating the capability of OCT in the conservation of fine art, in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University, the National Gallery and the British Museum. Spectroscopic analysis using OCT is another area of active research with wide implications in medicine, industry and art, which aims to add spectral information to the depth-resolved information. The group also conducts more fundamental research on polarisation-sensitive OCT, eye tracking and oximetry, which all address different aspects of the basic OCT technique.
The research of the forensic imaging team is primarily applied, focusing on mathematical and computational techniques and employing a wide variety of image processing and analysis methods for applications in modern forensic science. The group has attracted approximately £850,000 of research funding in the last five years, from several academic, industrial and commercial organisations in the UK and the US. The group also collaborates closely with the Forensic Psychology Group of the Open University.Current active research projects include:
- the development of high-quality, fast facial composite systems based on evolutionary algorithms and statistical models of human facial appearance
- interactive, evolutionary search methods and evolutionary design
- statistically rigorous ageing of photo-quality images of the human face (for tracing and identifying missing persons)
- real and pseudo 3D models for modelling and analysis of the human face
- generating ‘mathematically fair' virtual line-ups for suspect identification.
Functional Materials Group
The research in FMG is concerned with synthesis and characterisation of functional materials, as exemplified by materials with useful optical, catalytic, or electronic properties, and with an emerging theme in biomaterials. The group also uses computer modelling studies to augment experimental work. The research covers the following main areas.
Amorphous and nanostructured solids
Our interest is in inorganic solids (primarily ceramics and glasses) which possess useful functional properties (eg electrical, optical, catalytic) stemming from their composition and/or nanostructures. Our research includes the synthesis of novel materials, the experimental characterisation of their atomic and nano-scale structure and the computer modelling of these structures and associated properties. Understanding these complex materials demands the use of a range of advanced modern characterisation methods. The truly atomic scale probes available to us are X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and X-ray and neutron diffraction. Porosimetry and analogous techniques, such as small angle scattering, allow us to probe length scales approaching microns. Our work relies on access to world-class international facilities such as the ISIS pulsed neutron source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and the ILL neutron and ESRF synchrotron X-ray sources in Grenoble (France). Advanced computer modelling and simulation methods are increasingly being integrated with the experimental work.
Soft functional materials
One of the most exciting areas of contemporary materials research is the design of ‘soft' functional materials organised at the nanoscale, using organic, organometallic, polymer and inorganic chemistry to investigate the synthesis of such materials. The functionality in these materials comes from one or two properties: (i) the selfassembly of varying constituent molecular or macromolecular sub units; (ii) the incorporation of biologically derived motifs. The materials are being developed as smart adhesive materials for biomaterial applications, self-assembling bioactive, electroactive and drug delivery vehicles and conducting/photoconducting liquid crystalline materials.
The Group's research incorporates a range of synthetic skills (peptide, ligand, polymer, heterocyclic, organometallic and inorganic synthesis), using fully equipped synthetic laboratories with the associated characterisation techniques (FT-IR, UV-Vis, 1H, 13C and 29Si NMR spectroscopy, polarimetry). The group uses a number of means to examine the organisation of self-assembling materials including DSC, DMTA, polarising optical microscopy, X-ray diffraction, dynamic NMR spectroscopy and electron microscopy.
Theory and modelling of materials
The Group's interest focuses on first principles modelling of rare earth materials, carbon nanotubes and oxides, and classical modelling of ionic solids and glasses. We primarily use first principles simulations to solve problems in condensed matter physics and materials chemistry. In the case of ionic solids, we also use classical modelling to study properties that require computer calculations.
First principles simulations are predictive and powerful tools, giving access to accurate energies and electronic structures. One strand of our research covers nanostructured materials, surfaces, oxides, carbon and water/ice in situations ranging from vacuum surface science to complex nanostructured battery electrodes.
The related applications include filled and functionalised nanotubes, electrochromic oxides, and battery materials. Another strand of research covers first principles simulations involving relativistic quantum mechanics. These are needed to accurately model the properties of rare earth materials and relativistic effects in materials, including superconductivity. We also undertake classical modelling to study time-consuming properties, such as diffusion in ionic crystals and medium-range structure of glasses.
Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science
The group's research focuses on observational and modelling programmes in star formation, planetary science and early solar system bodies, galactic astronomy and astrobiology. We gain data from the largest telescopes in the world and in space, such as ESO's Very Large Telescope, the New Technology Telescope, the Spitzer Telescope and the Herschel Space Observatory. We also use our in-house facilities which include a two-stage light gas gun for impact studies.
Staff are involved in a wide range of international collaborative research projects. Areas of particular interest include: star formation, extragalactic astronomy, solar system science and instrumentation development.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on our website.
Dr Maria Alfredsson: Senior Lecturer in Theoretical Materials
Quantum-mechanical modelling of clusters, surfaces and solids; inter-atomic potential calculations of defects and grain-boundaries; high pressure and temperature simulations; H-bonding.
Dr Donna Arnold: Lecturer in Forensic Science
Synthesis and characterisation of bulk and nano structured novel multiferroics (materials which exhibit electric and magnetic ordering); enhancement of the ferroelectric and magnetic properties of bismuth ferrite through chemical doping.
Dr Tomaso Aste: Reader in Materials
Complex systems and complex materials by using geometrical and topological investigation tools within the framework of statistical mechanics. Recent research activities include: Granular Materials; Amorphous Materials; Porous Media; Packings; Biological Systems; Financial Systems; Econophysics; Data Mining; Risk Management. Recent publications include: Granular and Complex Materials (co-ed, 2007); The Pursuit of Perfect Packing (co-author, 2008).
Dr Robert Benfield: Senior Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry
The structure and bonding of metal clusters and nanowires; ordered arrays of metal nanowires contained within mesoporous alumina membranes, and nanoparticles of cobalt.
Dr Stefano Biagini: Senior Lecturer in Organic Chemistry
Ring-opening metathesis polymerisations; complex monomer syntheses; block copolymers, self-assembly, properties and applications; nuclear medicine; unnatural amino acid and peptide syntheses; radiolabelling; nanoparticles; surface modifications on silica magnetite.
Professor Mark Burchell: Professor of Space Science
Hypervelocity impacts, the very violent events typical of solar system impacts, including: impact cratering in ices, intact capture in aerogel, impact disruption of target bodies, oblique incidence impacts, astrobiology (survival of microbial life in impact events); solar system dust using impact ionisation techniques. Recent publications include: Cratering in Marine Environments and on Ice (co-ed, 2010).
Dr Serena Corr: Lecturer in Materials Research
The design, synthesis and structure determination of functional materials, in particular metal oxide nanostructures. The ever-growing area of nanosized materials combines chemistry, materials science, engineering and physics to provide new materials which have potential applications in medicine, information technology and environmental science. Research themes include metal oxide nanoparticles for biomedical applications, transport properties in nanoparticles and energy applications of nanoparticles.
Dr George Dobre: Lecturer in Applied Optics
Optical coherence tomography; optical design; interferometric sensors; fibre optic sensors.
Dr Dirk Froebrich: Senior Lecturer in Astrophysics
Earliest stages of star and star cluster formation; structure and properties of molecular clouds; structure analysis of star clusters.
Dr Stuart Gibson: Lecturer in Forensic Science
Digital image processing with forensic applications; computer vision; interactive evolutionary computation (IEC) and cognitive psychology relating to human facial appearance.
Dr Simon J Holder: Senior Lecturer in Organic Chemistry
Synthesis and application of novel olymeric materials; polymerisation of dichlorodiorganosilanes to improve the yields, allowing for the first time the high yield synthesis of a variety of polysilanes at ambient temperatures; synthesis by controlled polymerisations and application of novel copolymers; design and development of novel non-invasive polymer-based optical sensor systems.
Dr Angeline Kanagasooriam: Lecturer in Medicinal and Physical Organic Chemistry; Chair GSK-UKC Collaboration
The analysis of physiochemical model systems for gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GBH), gamma butyrolactone (GBL) and related neurotransmitters, with applications for forensic detection in complex aqueous milieu.
Dr Stephen Lowry: Senior Lecturer in Astrophysics
Comets, asteroids, solar system, spacecraft and remote observation.
Dr Jing-Qi Miao: Senior Lecturer in Numerical Astrophysics
SPH numerical simulation of collapsing molecular clouds; effect of the UV radiation on the Bright Rim clouds; DSMC modelling of the space particles impacts on spacecraft; structures and formation of proplyds.
Dr Gavin Mountjoy: Senior Lecturer in Condensed Matter Physics
Multi-technique characterisation of oxide glasses (including ‘sol gels'); vibrational spectroscopy of silicate glasses; use of X-ray absorption spectroscopy to characterise nanocrystalline transition metal alloys and oxides, including nanocomposite materials.
Professor Robert Newport: Professor of Materials Physics
Atomic-scale structure of novel amorphous (non-crystalline) materials of contemporary interest such as nonlinear optical glasses and ‘sol gel' glasses, which may be catalytically or biologically active.
Professor Adrian Podoleanu: Head of Applied Optics Group
Non-invasive imaging of tissue, especially optical coherence tomography and confocal microscopy; optical sensing; fast optoelectronics.
Dr Mark Price: Lecturer in Space Science
Experimentally based and computer modelling of hypervelocity impacts relevant to the evolution of solar system bodies.
Dr Jorge Quintanilla: Lecturer/SEPnet Fellow in Condensed Matter Theory
Quantum condensed matter and materials physics; spontaneous Fermi surface deformations in strongly correlated quantum matter; unconventional pairing in superconductors; complementarity between cold atom and condensed matter experiments; proximity effect in magnetic nano-structures; design of new quantum information-based neutron scattering and cold atoms probes of strongly correlated quantum matter, and novel topological excitations in frustrated magnets.
Dr Christopher Shepherd: Lecturer in Forensic Science
Ballistics with a particular emphasis on the application of modern techniques to interrogate the wounding potential of different projectiles on the human body for forensic applications.
Professor Michael Smith: Professor of Astronomy
Star formation; molecular clouds; evolution of galaxies; astrophysical simulation; simulation; shock waves; planetary nebulae. Recent publications include: Astrophysical Jets and Beams (2012).
Dr Chris Solomon: Reader in Physics
Image processing and reconstruction; facial modelling, encoding and synthesis; facial composites, forensic image analysis. Recent publications include: Fundamentals of Digital Image Processing: A Practical Approach with Examples in Matlab (co-author, 2010).
Professor Paul Strange: Professor of Physical Sciences
First principles calculation of the properties of condensed matter; the electronic and magnetic properties of rare earth materials, superconductors, carbon and other nanotubes; superatom materials. Recent publications include: Relativistic Quantum Mechanics: With Applications in Condensed Matter and Atomic Physics (2008).
Professor Michael Went: Professor of Chemistry and Forensic Science
Chemistry of co-ordinated alkynes; new chelating and macrocyclic ligands with phosphine, thioether and ether donor groups; synthesis of new radiopharmaceuticals; forensic analysis.
T: +44 (0)1227 827272
Director of Graduate Studies
School of Physical Sciences,
University of Kent, Canterbury,
Kent CT2 7NH,UK
T: +44 (0)1227 823759
F: +44 (0)1227 827558
How to apply
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