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Nanomaterials and Spectroscopy Group

Nanomaterials and Spectroscopy Group

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Welcome to the Nanomaterials and Spectroscopy Group (NMS). The NMS group is part of the Electrical Engineering Division and the Nanoscience Centre of the University of Cambridge. Prof. Andrea C. Ferrari is the group head.

The main NMS research areas combine growth, characterisation and device assembly. In particular, we work on growth and characterization of diamond-like carbon, graphene, carbon nanotubes, and semiconductor nanowires for coating, optoelectronics and sensing applications. We have a strong focus on the non-linear optical properties of nanotubes for applications in photonic devices. We also pursue the non-destructive characterization of carbon films, devising innovative ways to probe their structure and tailor it to get better mechanical, optical and electronic properties. We have a leading activity on the application of Raman spectroscopy to carbon films and nanomaterials. All our experimental work is paralleled by first principles calculations and modeling. Thus we have a comprehensive approach to nanotechnology: we can design and grow new materials, characterize them, implement them into devices and investigate their fundamental properties. We have several projects funded by the EPSRC, the Royal Society, Europe, The Newton and Leverhulme trusts, and we enjoy close collaborations with several companies.

Our facilities and expertise are also available, by arrangement, for other researchers and for industries to analyse any materials of interest. Consulting on nanomaterials and spectroscopy applications is also offered.


The successful application of nanomaterials for nanotechnology faces four main challenges: materials preparation, characterization, device fabrication and integration. The physical properties of nanomaterials strongly depend on their atomic-scale structure, size and chemistry but also on their organisation and aggregation. To fully exploit the technological advantages offered by these self-assembled molecular structures it is essential to acquire the ability to select, control and manipulate individual or aggregated nanomaterials. There has been much progress in the synthesis and characterization of nanostructures such as nanotubes, nano-crystals, atomic wires, organic and biological nanostructures, molecular junctions and graphene layers. However, immense challenges remain in understanding their properties and interactions with external probes to realize their tremendous potential for applications. Some of the frontiers in nanoscience include molecular electronics, nano-scale opto-electronic devices, nanomechanics, light harvesting and emitting nanostructures. Nanotubes, nanowires and graphene dominate the pursuit for materials for future nanotechnology applications. The NMS group aims to give a significant contribution in each of these exciting research areas.