Graphene: World-leading Research and Development

People working on Graphene

Prof. Andre Geim, FRS

Professor of Condensed Matter Physics

Andre was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with Konstantin Novoselov for his work on graphene. He is the Langworthy Professor and Director of the Manchester Centre for Mesoscience and Nanotechnology. Andre and Konstantin discovered a simple method for isolating single atomic layers of graphite, now refered to as Graphene.

Prof. Kostya Novoselov, FRS

Professor and Research Associate

Kostya was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with Andre Geim for his work on graphene. Novoselov has published more than 60 peer-reviewed research papers on several topics including mesoscopic superconductivity (Hall magnetometry), subatomic movements of magnetic domain walls, the discovery of gecko tape and graphene.

In 2008, he was named to the MIT Technology Review TR35 as one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35.

Prof. Robert Dryfe

Professor of Chemistry

"One of the key challenges for the exploitation of graphene is to interface it with the molecular world, i.e. to exploit and modify its properties through chemical methods.

"This project explores the use of graphene as an electrode material, with our specific aims being to (i) establish the fundamental physical chemistry that occurs at carbonaceous electrodes and (ii) explore the electrochemical modification of graphene. Carbon-based materials are ubiquitous in the applications of electrochemistry (amperometric sensors, super-capacitors, batteries) hence fundamental studies of the charge transfer properties of such materials both topical and significant."

Dr. Sarah Haigh

Lecturer in Materials Characterisation

"The outstanding properties of graphene and other related two dimensional materials are known to be critically dependant on the local atomic structure. My research focuses around the use of advanced transmission electron microscopy techniques in order to improve our understanding of the relationship between the electrical or magnetic properties of the material and its atomic-scale structure and composition.

"The range techniques utilized to tackle this problem including the development of novel phase retrieval algorithms, aberration corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy, advanced energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy. I am also interested in the interaction of graphene with various nanoparticle systems."


Robert J Young, FREng

Professor of Polymer Science and Technology

Professor Young is interested in all aspects of the relationship between the structure and mechanical of polymers and composites. He has recently focussed his attention upon structure/property relations in graphene and chemically-modified graphene for use in high-performance polymer-based nanocomposites.

His group has demonstrated through the use of a Raman spectroscopy that it is possible to attain significant reinforcement of a polymer by a graphene monolayer consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms. Moreover they have shown that this reinforcement can be modelled using conventional continuum mechanics.

They have also compared the behaviour of monolayer graphene with two-, three- and many-layer graphene and developed a protocol to optimise the level of reinforcement by these different forms of graphene. These findings will have profound implications for our understanding of the design of graphene nanocomposites for high-performance applications such as in light-weight structures for transport and aerospace.

Dr. Uschi Bangert

Senior Lecturer

"We are employing world class state-of-the-art electron microscopes like the Daresbury SuperSTEM, which provides sub-Angstrom resolution in structural images as well as in elemental maps, with single atom analytical sensitivity, to reveal atomic scale structure and stoichiometry of pristine and modified graphene.

"We are currently especially interested in the nature of defects in graphene, may they be intrinsic, structural or impurity related. We want to witness how an individual defect forms and follow its fate, for example its interaction with other defects. Of particular interest for electrical contacting purposes is the interaction of metal atoms with graphene."

Dr. Ernie Hill

Assistant Director Of The Manchester Centre For Mesoscience & Nanotechnology

"My research spans the general areas of sensors and magnetics with main interests in the areas of thin film sensors and magnetic measurement instrumentation."


Dr. Cinzia Casiraghi

Lecturer - Chemistry of Graphene

"Separation membrane: graphene is a strong, elastic and very sensitive membrane, which is also impermeable to gases. In this project we aim to use graphene membranes for cell, virus and macromolecules separation.

"Adaptive focus lens: graphene bubbles could be used as an adaptive focus lenses by combining the approaches of the fluidic lens and liquid-crystal lens. Graphene is a perfect candidate as a membrane for making a fluid-filled lens because it is almost transparent in the visible spectrum, it is robust, impermeable to gases and cheap."

Dr. Ian Kinloch

Royal Academy of Engineering/EPSRC Research Fellow

"Graphene is one of the strongest and stiffest known materials and is also very light weight. These properties mean that graphene can be mixed with plastics such as epoxy to make composites which have good specific physical properties (i.e. strength per unit mass).

"Such graphene-plastic composites could be used to replace metals in the manufacture of aircraft and cars, making them lighter and more fuel efficient. Graphene is also electrically conductive which means it can be added to plastics to make them conductive as well. Conductive plastics are needed to protect carbon fibre aircraft wings against lightening strikes and prevent sparks from static electricity in the fuel lines and tanks of vehicles."

Dr. Sasha Grigorenko


Sasha works in the Condesnsed Matter Physics Group and Lectures in the School of Physics and Astronomy.



Dr. Irina Grigorieva

Director of The North West Nanoscience Doctoral Training Centre

"The possibility to induce magnetic response in graphene by controlled introduction of adatoms or defects or by controlling the size and shape of graphene crystallites is one of the more recent additions to the impressive list of graphene’s unique properties.

"The ability to make graphene magnetic adds to its potential for possible applications in spintronics. We have shown than submicron-size graphene crystallites exhibit notable paramagnetism, in contrast to its parent material, graphite, which is purely diamagnetic. More recently, our experiments demonstrated that paramagnetism in graphene can be strongly enhanced by fluorination or ion irradiation."

Dr. Aravind Vijayaraghavan

Lecturer in Nanomaterials

Graphene plasmonics – We combine graphene with coupled and arrayed plasmonic antennae to enhance light-matter interaction in graphene with an eye towards photodetectors and photovoltaic applications. We Also integrate carbon nanotubes into plasmonic systems using a bottom-up assembly approach called dielectrophoresis.

Graphene + Biotechnology – We are working on exploring graphene's biocompatibility and integrating/mimicking biological systems with graphene, towards applications in bio-sensing, bio-catalysis and bio-energy.

Molecular electronics – We integrate magnetic, electrochemical and optoelectronic molecular switches with graphene and carbon nanotubes to form hybrid molecular electronic systems.

Science communication – I am also the public engagement coordinator for graphene and nano-science at Manchester, and the winner of the 2013 Joshua Phillips Award for Innovation in Science Communication.

Zhipeng Wu

Professor of Antennas and Propagation

"We are researching passive components, active devices and sysystems for communication, radar and sensing applications over a frequency range from hundreds of megahertz to terahertz. Graphene as a two-dimensional material has very unusual electronic properties. It has many promising electronic applications. Most of the current application research has been focused on low frequencies.

"We have an interest in investigating the properties and behaviours of graphene at high frequencies including microwaves, millimetre-wave and terahertz waves, and in using the material for designing high performance passive and active devices in these frequency bands. We have been in discussion with Professor Kostya Novoselov for this research. "

Dr. Leonid Ponomarenko

Member of Staff in The School of Physics and Astronomy

By sandwiching two sheets of graphene with another two-dimensional material, boron nitride, the team created the graphene ‘Big Mac’ – a four-layered structure which could be the key to replacing the silicon chip in computers.

Bruce Grieve

Director of Syngenta Sensors University Innovation Centre

Under the e-Agri theme (i.e. device engineering & informatics for sustainable agriculture and food) the interests in graphene are as a novel material within sensors based on BIOFETs (biological field effect transistors).

In particular, the integration of graphene should enable such devices to be orders of magnitude more sensitive through the material�s ability to detect the single molecule events associated with gene receptors derived from insect, plant and mammalian cells.

Lin Li

Professor of Laser Engineering

Professor Li, obtained a BSc degree from Dalian University of Technology in 1982, and a PhD degree in Laser Engineering from Imperial College, London University in 1989. He then worked at Liverpool University as a Research Associate and Research Fellow on laser welding, in-process sensing and laser treatment of surfaces. In 1994 he was appointed as a Lecturer at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He set-up the first high power laser processing research laboratory and research group at UMIST. In 2000, he was promoted to a full Professor, Chair of Laser Engineering.

Professor Li is working on the use of Graphene in welding.

Aimin Song

Professor of Nanoelectronics

"Conventional electronic devices are made up of silicon semiconductors, metal contacts, doped junctions or barrier structures, etc. Each of these components must be added vertically on top of one another. In contrast, we have recently developed novel concepts of nano-diodes and transistors that are based on single-layered device architecture. By using nano-scale electronic channels and tailoring the geometrical symmetry, the new devices have been demonstrated to have unique properties such as a zero threshold voltage, and extremely high speed. Operations at 1.5THz (1,500GHz) were achieved at room temperature recently, making it by far the fastest nanodevice to date. The single-layered device structure is particularly ideal for graphene materials, and much greater performance can be envisaged due to the unique properties of graphene. Our effort is to improve the speed even further into infrared regime where the nano-devices may be exploited for energy harvesting and medical and security imaging."

Prof. Alan Brisdon

Senior Lecturer in Chemistry

Our research falls under the umbrella description of "Fluorine Chemistry", a specialist area of chemistry for which universities in Manchester have a long-standing, and ongoing, national and international reputation. We deliberately deal with aspects that straddle the traditional inorganic and organic boundaries. We also work in applied areas of fluorine-containing materials, such as ionic liquids and fluorographenes.

We have been studying the fluorination of graphenes for some time, and have prepared a fluorographenes across a wide range of C:F ratios. Our current work in this area involves extending our methodology and an investigation of their applications.

Prof. Thomas Thomson

Head of the Nanotechnology & Storage Technology Research Group

"Our research activities focus on understanding and developing nanomagnetic materials for data storage. Of particular interest are the rapidly emerging areas of bit patterned media (BPM) where data is stored in dense arrays of magnetic nanodots with dimensions on the order of 10 nm and an exciting new class of magnetic exchange spring materials. Magnetic exchange springs offer the prospect of creating artificial materials with highly engineering magnetic properties on the nanoscale, where the ability to control reversal mechanism, thermal stability and switching field is critical for many advanced applications. In practical terms these materials will result in storage devices with greater capacity and amongst other uses have the potential to create new high energy product permanent magnets. Within my group there is a broad range of activities from creating new materials such as magnetic multilayers and ordered alloys to advanced characterization."

Professor Kostas Kostarelos

Kostas obtained his Diploma in Chemical Engineering and PhD from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, studying the steric stabilization of liposomes using block copolymer molecules. He carried out his postdoctoral training in various medical institutions in the United States and has worked closely with Professors Th.F. Tadros (ICI plc, UK), P.F. Luckham (Imperial College London), D. Papahadjopoulos (UCSF, USA), G. Sgouros (Memorial Sloan-Kettering, NY, USA) and R.G. Crystal (Weill Medical College of Cornell University, NY, USA).

He was Assistant Professor of Genetic Medicine & Chemical Engineering in Medicine at Cornell University Weill Medical College when he relocated to the UK as the Deputy Director of Imperial College Genetic Therapies Centre in 2002. In 2003 Professor Kostarelos joined the Centre for Drug Delivery Research at the UCL School of Pharmacy as the Deputy Head of the Centre. He was promoted to the Personal Chair of Nanomedicine and Head of the Centre in 2007. The entire Nanomedicine Lab was embedded within the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences and the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester in 2013. Prof. Kostarelos is currently Professor of Nanomedicine at the University of Manchester and Honorary Professor at UCL.

He has been invited Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, Fellow of the Institute of Nanotechnology and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts all in the United Kingdom. In 2010 he was awarded the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Professorial Fellowship with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Tsukuba, Japan. He is the Founding and Senior Editor of the journal Nanomedicine and sits on the Editorial Board of The Journal of Liposome Research, The International Journal of Nanomedicine, Archives of Toxicology and Frontiers in Neuroengineering.

Professor Peter Budd

Peter Budd obtained his first degree (chemistry, 1978) and PhD (1981) from the University of Manchester. He spent 8 years as a research chemist at the BP Research Centre, Sunbury-on-Thames, working on polymers and structural materials, returning to Manchester in 1989 as a lecturer. He is now Professor of Polymer Chemistry and is the Director of Research within the School.

Peter Budd obtained his first degree (chemistry, 1978) and PhD (1981) from the University of Manchester. He spent 8 years as a research chemist at the BP Research Centre, Sunbury-on-Thames, working on polymers and structural materials, returning to Manchester in 1989 as a lecturer. He is now Professor of Polymer Chemistry and is the Director of Research within the School. "We have also invented a range of polymers – called Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs) – which form membranes that are very good for separating gases and organic liquids.

"These are of interest, for example, for removing carbon dioxide from power station flue gases, or for removing organic compounds from water. By combining PIMs with graphene, we expect to produce membranes with even better performance under long-term conditions of use.

"We will also be looking at practical ways of using the ability of graphene to act as a perfect barrier in, for example, food packaging, and we will be building graphene into sensors for detecting human diseases and agricultural pests."