Opening of new Center for Designer Quantum Materials

On Thursday, 8th of December, the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, and the Principal of the University of St Andrews, Professor Sally Mapstone, opened a new center for Designer Quantum Materials. At the core of this facility is a reactive-oxide molecular beam epitaxy system, funded by the Engineering and Physics Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, EP/M023958/1).

Dr Peter Wahl with Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Shirley-Anne Somerville Principal Prof Sally Mapstone Dr Philip King and head of School Prof Graham Turnbull
The Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Shirley-Anne Somerville today (8 December 2016) officially opened a state-of-the-art centre for Designer Quantum Materials at the University of St Andrews. The centre, the first of its kind in the UK, is aimed at the creation of new materials which do not exist in nature. Almost like building LEGO structures with single atom building blocks, the Designer Quantum Materials lab allows the composition of a material to be changed between each layer, effectively making entirely new “supermaterials” – combinations and structures which would be impossible to create by any other means. At the heart of the facility is a molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) system which can custom engineer materials which can be used in a host of applications from super-efficient energy distribution to high performance computing and sensing.

Press coverage:

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Condensed Matter Retreat at the Burn

Just coming back from our condensed matter retreat at the Burn, where we spend three days filled with talks and discussions. group-photo

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DAAD RISE programme

We are participating in the DAAD RISE programme which offers undergraduate students from Germany an opportunity to go abroad to work on a small research project. Have a look at the web pages of DAAD for more information (in german).

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Installation of new MBE system

DCA have installed a dual-chamber MBE system for the growth of designer oxide heterostructures at the School of Physics and Astronomy of the University of St Andrews. See below for a video of the assembly.

The MBE system will be coupled to existing state-of-the-art spectroscopic probes including low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy and angle-resolved photoemission. This EPSRC-funded strategic equipment (EP/M023958/1) will operate as a shared facility, which we aim to establish as a leading centre for the supply of custom oxide thin films within the UK.

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Ana Maldonado at Lindau Meeting

Ana Maldonado, former TOPNES PDRA at the University of St Andrews, attended the Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates. The Nobel Laureate Meeting is an opportunity for early career researchers to meet excellent scientists from Nobel Laureates to undergraduate students. To learn more about Ana and her visit of the Lindau Meeting, see the links below.

Women in research blog

Interview with Physics World

Panel discussion on how immigration shapes the scientific world

TV interview (in spanish):

¿Es necesario emigrar si quieres ser científico?

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How can we see individual atoms – 100 Second Science series

If you ever wondered how one can image individual atoms – see this video from the 100 Second Science series at

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EQM2016 Conference

From 8th to 10th of June 2016, we are organizing a conference on Engineering Quantum Matter in St Andrews. The aim of this workshop is to bring together theorists and experimentalists to discuss how engineered quantum states can be exploited and designed for future technologies. The workshop connects strongly to local research activities at the University of St Andrews and links into a major collaborative research programme on topological protection and non-equilibrium states in strongly correlated electron systems (TOPNES). We have been able to attract a number of outstanding speakers. As there is only a limited number of places available, secure yours early.

We are grateful for funding provided by the IMPP, ICAM-I2CAM and TOPNES/EPSRC.

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Now Recruiting: PhD Projects available

Are you a highly motivated student in your final year? Take a look at the PhD projects in the group offered at the School of Physics and Astronomy in St. Andrews. You will be working in brand new ultra-low vibration laboratories, which are unique in the UK, on custom-built cutting-edge scanning probe microscopes.
There is a range of possibilities for joining us as a PhD student, via the doctoral training center in condensed matter physics, the doctoral training grant at the University of St Andrews and the Chinese Scholarship program.
For further information don’t hesitate to contact Peter Wahl (wahl[at]

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Highly motivated researcher wanted !

TOPNESlogoWe are recruiting and look for highly motivated postdoctoral researchers who are keen to do cutting edge research and work with multiple techniques. This position is within the collaborative programme grant TOPNES, for details please have a look at the Job advert AR1676ML (Research Fellow in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics).

In this position, as the successful applicant you will work with Peter Wahl and Phil King to study oxide surfaces and interfaces, specifically the electronic structure and low-density superconductivity in bulk and reduced-dimensional SrTiO3-based systems.  The work will involve employing state-of-the-art equipment for scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy in St Andrews, as well as working at international synchrotron light sources. In addition to using existing state-of-the-art spectroscopic probes, you will also work on integrating these with a new system for reactive-oxide molecular beam epitaxy for the study of atomic-scale SrTiO3-based designer heterostructures.

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Ultra-low Vibration Labs Now Open!

Education Secretary Angela Constance officially opened our new ultra-low vibration (ULV) labs on 21 May. The event was attended by over 100 colleagues and guests. See full details and images here.

The St Andrews ULV labs are the most advanced in the UK and one of just a handful worldwide. The labs are designed to provide an ultra-low vibration environment for the custom-built microscopes developed in the group. We can now continue imaging and study of individual atoms in advanced materials, including superconductors which conduct electricity without losses, and quantum materials for next generation technologies.


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