skip to content

Past events hosted within or of interest to the Department are listed here (upto 1 year ago). Visit our main Events page to see upcoming events.

  • 09Mar

    Professor C. James Kirkpatrick, Armourers & Brasiers' Distinguished Visiting Fellow

    Charles James Kirkpatrick has a triple doctorate in science and medicine (MD, PhD, DSc) from the Queen's University of Belfast (N. Ireland) and is emeritus Professor of Pathology at the University Medical Center in Mainz, Germany. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath), London and has both honorary and visiting professorships in China, Singapore and Sweden. His principal research interests are in the fields of biomaterials in regenerative medicine, with special focus on human co-culture systems. During the past years his work has focussed on bone vascularization, as well as co-culture models for respiratory tract regeneration.

  • 05Mar

    Prof. Jonathan Yates, Department of Materials, University of Oxford

    The electron charge density is of fundamental importance to the physics of materials. It is the redistribution of electrons that occurs when atoms bond which distinguishes materials from collections of independent atoms. It is also the case that the ground state properties of any material system can be determined from the electron charge density. This is the basis of Density Functional Theory (DFT), the most widely used and successful technique for modelling materials at the atomic scale. While DFT has been hugely successful as a tool for modeling materials systems quantum mechanically, the approximations used to make such calculations practical mean that there remains an important role for experiments to verify and inform DFT results. I will first share some recent advances which improve the predictive power of DFT calculations. I will then show how phase imaging in the electron microscopy is sensitive to the effect of charge redistribution from bonding. In particular how electron ptychography, performed in the STEM microscope, provides the necessary sensitivity to detect this subtle effect by directly imaging the charge redistribution. This provides direct comparison to the charge density predicted by DFT simulations.

    This seminar will be followed by tea, coffee, and biscuits at 4pm in the tearoom.

    View the seminar series on -

  • 04Mar

    Rob Jagt

    25 minute talk + 5 minutes of questions. All welcome.

  • 27Feb

    The Cambridge heat of the 2020 IOM3 Young Persons Lecture Competition (YPLC) will take place on the evening of Thursday 27th February. This is an event which aims to judge the presentation skills of young Materials Scientists and their ability to communicate with a generalist audience a Materials-related topic of their choice. 

    It would be really wonderful to have some support for our competitors - not just from their research supervisors and groups, but from anyone interested to hear an excellent set of talks.

  • 21Feb

    Professor Jean-Francois Masson (U. de Montreal)

    This presentation will provide an overview of our research activities in plasmonic nanobiosensing. Our research lies in the areas of plasmonic materials, low-fouling surface chemistry and instrumental design for biosensing. This presentation will focus on applying these concepts for several classes of sensors for monitoring biomolecules, therapeutic drugs, pheromones and for environmental contaminants. We have developed a SPR and LSPR sensing platform based on a small and portable instrument that can be field-deployed. In the first example, this SPR chip was integrated with a RDX-selective molecularly imprinted polymer to detect RDX at ppb levels directly in natural waters. The system was deployed to a Canadian army base for monitoring the level of RDX in proximity of training grounds. This system was tested on several trips in different environmental conditions and results were in good agreement with HPLC performed in a laboratory. Clinical sensing in crude biofluids is a common challenge to different biosensing platforms. To prevent nonspecific adsorption of serum, a series of peptide monolayers were synthesized and tested in crude serum. Based on this, competition assays were validated for therapeutic drug quantitation, such as methotrexate with the SPR sensors. The methotrexate assay was tested at a local hospital and was cross-validated with the current state-of-the-art FPIA analyzer commercially available. Lastly, we are currently exploring the concept of optophysiology using plasmonic nanopipettes for monitoring living cell secretion events. Due to the lack of analytical techniques for detecting metabolites near living cells, developing tools to monitor cell secretion events remains a challenge to overcome in chemical analysis. Plasmonic nanopipettes were developed based on the decoration of patch clamp nanocapillaries with Au nanoparticles. The plasmonic nanopipette is thus competent for dynamic SERS measurements in the liquid environment near cells. This nanobiosensor was tested with the detection of small metabolites near living cells and of neurotransmitters released by neurons.

  • 21Feb

    Sindee L. Simon, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA.

    The behavior of materials confined at the nanoscale has been of considerable interest over the past several decades, especially changes in the glass-transition temperature (Tg) and/or melting point (Tm). Less well studied are the effects of nanoconfinement on polymerization kinetics and thermodynamics. Our recent focus has been on understanding how nanoconfinement influences various classes of polymerizations, including the step-growth reactions of thermosetting resins, the free-radical reaction of various methacrylates, and the ring-opening polymerization of dicyclopentadiene. We find that changes in reaction rates under confinement can generally be explained by a competition between changes in local packing, diffusivity, and surface effects. The result is generally, but not always, an acceleration of the rate of the nanoconfined polymerization. In addition, nanoconfinement influences the chain length, PDI, and tacticity of the synthesized polymer, making confinement a potential tool for controlling synthetic outcomes. Finally, in the case of equilibrium polymerizations, nanoconfinement influences the monomer/polymer equilibrium shifting it back towards monomer, and this effect can be exploited to determine the entropy loss on confining a chain and to test scaling theories in the literature concerning confinement entropy.

    Further information at

  • 20Feb

    Dr Ahu Gumrah Parry, Department of Materials, University of Manchester

    This seminar will be followed by tea, coffee, and biscuits at 4pm in the tearoom.

    View the seminar series on -

  • 20Feb

    Gregory B. McKenna, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA.

    There are two important “signatures” related to glass formation. The first is the apparent entropy catastrophe that occurs at the Kauzmann temperature TK where the extrapolated entropy seems to go below that of the crystal. A related phenomenon is that the dynamics (relaxation times) of glass-forming systems seem to extrapolate to a finite temperature divergence at the so-called VFT temperature TVFT, which is often found to be close to TK. Testing the equilibrium response near to these temperatures has become a major challenge in glass physics. To tackle this problem, we are using materials with extremely low fictive temperature TF relative to Tg, entering an unexplored region of the glassy state. First, we used of a 20 million year old amber with TF ∼ 43.6 K below Tg. We found that the relaxation times deviated strongly from the expected VFT or WLF-behaviors turning towards an Arrhenius-response, albeit with a high activation energy. Also, we built on the ultra-stable glasses ideas exploited by Ediger and co-workers and developed a vapor deposition procedure to make an amorphous Teflon material with TF ∼55 K below Tg and close to the putative TK. Our results challenge the view that there is an "ideal" glass transition as posited by multiple theories and commonly considered an important aspect of glass-formation and glassy behavior. In addition, we have examined the thermodynamics of the problem by using an athermal mixture of a poly(α-methyl styrene) with its own pentamer and show that in this system the equilibrium entropies continue smoothly without evidence of a second order transition to at least 180 K below the Kauzmann temperature. Such results are consistent with there not being an “ideal” glass transition and demand reconsideration of theories that use or predict such a thermodynamic point in glass-forming systems.

    Further Information at

  • 19Feb

    Dr Sachio Komori

    25 minute talk + 5 minutes of questions. All welcome.

  • 06Feb

    To mark Time to Talk day, Stuart Jessup, Chair of Trustees from the charity CPSL Mind, will discuss the benefits of talking about mental health at work. He will share examples of how this has been successful, and tips about how to talk about mental health with colleagues. 

    please book your place here: