My PhD is an EPSRC industrial CASE studentship partially funded by Proctor & Gamble, so the majority of the work cannot be discussed. In general I specialise in finding spectroscopy based solutions for novel problems. This involves building unique instrumentation, applying rigorous data analysis techniques and ultimately writing machine learning models to provide quantitative results. I also carrying out routine photo-luminescence measurements as well as specialised time resolved and quantum yield experiments.
Building specialised instrumentation is a major part of my research and I particularly enjoy applying my electronics engineering and programming skills. The example shown above is an ultra-low optical power UV-SWIR diffuse reflectance spectrometer I have worked on. The design is a speciality in our group as It also packs into a suitcase and is currently traveling the country in order to examine priceless historical artifacts.
Colour science is usually overlooked by the general public, however, it is a cornerstone to many industries. Human colour vision is not as consistent as most people imagine, for example the four compounds shown above are identical but appear wildly different colours under different light sources (top and bottom). Using a combination of techniques we can describe why this occurs, as well as accurately predict the colour of such objects under any lighting conditions.
Silicon electronics are reaching their physical size limits and a new basis is required. One contender is the possibility to fabricate electronic components out of individual molecules. This requires an understanding of charge transport through single molecules. Therefore during my masters project I synthesised and characterised a series of compounds designed to test the idea of having multiple conductance pathways through a single molecule. The results of the project are available here.
Analysis of heritage objects
Spectroscopy is a fantastic tool for studying objects which cannot be sampled and there is a lot to learn from the materials used in ancient times. As such we have built up an array of portable spectroscopy techniques to study invaluable historical artifacts. In the example above, Paul Davis (summer student in the Beeby group) and I are using hyper spectral imaging to see underneath the black coating on the outer coffin lid of Ankhesenaset, which can be seen on display at the Liverpool museum.
Outside of the lab I like to get involved in inspiring the next generation with some amazing spectroscopy demonstrations. Above you can see the Pal group and myself showing "invisible light" at the 2018 celebrate science festival in Durham.