National Physical Laboratory

SET for BRITAIN 2016

Two National Physical Laboratory (NPL) scientists have been shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to present their research at the House of Commons, as part of SET for BRITAIN 2016, the only national competition of its kind.


Flaviu Cipcigan, a PhD student studying jointly with the Mathematics & Modelling Group and the University of Edinburgh, is presenting 'A model of the water molecule using electrons on a spring'.

Flaviu's work proposes a novel method to accurately and efficiently calculate intermolecular forces based on quantum Drude oscillators (electrons on a spring). This work is essential to the ability to design molecules with desired functions via computer simulations, and will accelerate important technologies such antibiotics and energy storage materials.

Flaviu and his team applied the method to create the first broad, yet predictive model for water, a substance important for life but challenging to understand. Using the model, he discovered new motifs in its molecular structure that are responsible for the unusually high surface tension of water.

Flaviu's PhD work is part of a collaboration between NPL (Vlad Sokhan and Jason Crain) and IBM (Glenn Martyna).

Grigorios Rigas, a joint PhD student between the Electrochemistry Group and the University of Surrey, has a poster on 'Ink-jet printed inorganic electronics for biosensing and energy harvesting applications'.

Grigorios's poster will demonstrate a procedure he developed to manufacture a single Si nanowire transistor, with the smallest possible footprint using ink-jet printing. This device is so small that it can fit on the cross section of a human hair, and can be re-engineered to act as a hazardous gas sensor, a nano-photovoltaic or even for cancer detection. Crucial to the development of reliable nanoelectronics is the development of advanced scanning probe methods at NPL, which can measure how nanoscale properties impact device performance.

Printed nanoelectronics offer an outstanding potential to revolutionise the landscape of the electronics industry. Future applications envisioned include medical implants, flexible displays, wearable electronics for remote medical monitoring and pollution sensors.

Grigorios's PhD work is part of a collaboration between NPL (Fernando Castro) and the University of Surrey (Maxim Shkunov).

Flaviu and Grigorios are PhD students with NPL co-supervisors and are therefore members of the Postgraduate Institute for Measurement Science. They will benefit from the support provided by the Institute to attend the SET for BRITAIN event. Making it to the finals of this event shows how PhD students are instrumental in the development of cutting-edge, high-quality science and technology at NPL.

The event will take place on Monday 7 March 2016 and will be judged by leading academics. The gold medallist receives £3,000, while silver and bronze medallists receive £2,000 and £1,000, respectively.

Find out more about NPL's work on Mathematics, Modelling & Simulation

Find out more about NPL's work on Electrochemistry

Find out more about the Postgraduate Institute

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Last Updated: 26 Apr 2017
Created: 17 Feb 2016


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