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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L015331/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Electromagnetic Metamaterials
Principal Investigator: Sambles, Professor JR
Other Investigators:
Hibbins, Professor AP Barnes, Professor WL Wright, Professor CD
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Agilent Technologies Ltd Data Storage Institute Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL
Flann Microwave Ltd Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd Gooch & Housego
National Physical Laboratory Oclaro Technology UK QinetiQ
Seagate Technology Technology Strategy Board (Innovate UK) Thales Ltd
United States Air Force (USAF)
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Exeter
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2014 Ends: 30 September 2022 Value (£): 4,976,857
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Oct 2013 EPSRC CDT 2013 Interviews Panel P Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The overall aim of this new CDT is to generate a body of highly-trained, doctoral scientists and engineers expert in the emerging and economically important area of metamaterials and possessing the skills, knowledge and professional attributes required to meet the challenges of employment in industry, academia and other commercial or governmental spheres. We will provide students with a detailed understanding of metamaterials from fundamental theory right through to prototype device design. At the same time they will be formally trained in the wider professional and personal skills such as innovation, engagement, commercial awareness and, importantly, leadership.

Metamaterials are widely recognized as one of the most significant recent technical discoveries, highlighted as a top-ten insight of the last decade by Science Magazine. They are also set to become a major economic factor. In 2011 the global market for metamaterials was worth $256M, and is predicted by BCC Research to grow to $760M million by 2016, and to reach almost $2 billion by 2021. While products based on metamaterials are appearing (e.g. metamaterial antennas in mobile handsets and spacecraft; heat-assisted magnetic recording; transparent conductors for displays; surface bound data transfer and noise barriers etc.), the UK must ensure that future developments in these areas are strongly underpinned at the fundamental research level and also supported by highly skilled practitioners.

The Government report on "Technology and Innovations Futures: UK Growth opportunities for the 2020s" (2010) lists 'metamaterials' and 'carbon nanotubes and graphene' as two key advanced materials areas. The UK's Ministry Of Defence (MOD) regards metamaterials as a key emerging technology, specifically listing advanced optical materials, advanced materials, bio-inspired technologies, and micro and nano technologies, as key areas, all topics that are of direct relevance to this CDT proposal. We note the comment from Professor Young's (Dstl) letter of support: "Dstl fully supports your proposal as a timely and unique vehicle for training future scientists, engineers and leaders for the benefit of the wider UK defence and security sector." Our cohort-based training will also help fulfil one of Minister David Willets' key aims "To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe."

To meet this last aim and to stimulate future UK work in this fast moving materials area we will establish a new CDT in a broad range of metamaterials research with PhD training that has an embedded engagement with industry. We will, together with our collaborators from industry, governmental laboratories and universities overseas, strengthen the synergy between physicists and material engineers, building on our pre-existing excellence in metamaterials and functional materials research.

The research focus will be on EPSRC's Physical Sciences theme, specifically the sub topics "Photonic Materials, Metamaterials" (one of only three "Growth" research areas for this theme), and "Plasmonics" (a "Maintain" area). In addition, our CDT is relevant to the EPSRC's grand challenges of "Nanoscale Design of Functional Materials", and "Quantum Physics for New Quantum Technologies". There is also significant overlap with the EPSRC ICT "Growth" research areas of "RF and microwave communications" and "RF and microwave devices", which also encompass THz devices.

Our team of 33 academics are addressing key and topical challenges across a range of internationally competitive metamaterials research: from microwave metasurfaces to carbon nanotubes, from graphene plasmonics to spintronics, magnonics and magnetic composites, from terahertz photonics to biomimetics. With the recent recruitment of two world leading theoreticians in transformation optics plus new work in acoustics, we shall combine depth and breadth of metamaterial research linked to industrial and Government laboratory researchers
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.ex.ac.uk