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Professor Stephen Elliott

Our research is mainly concerned with different aspects of (bio)chemical sensing (e.g. using MEMS or optical devices), and with non-crystalline materials (e.g. glasses), understanding their physical properties in terms of their atomic structure and defects. The approach is multidisciplinary, covering solid-state chemistry, physics and materials science. Areas of interest include:

  • Microcantilever sensors for ultra-sensitive detection of chemical and biological analytes.
  • Optical sensors, including evanescent-waveguide sensors, SERS using holographic substrates.
  • Computer simulation of the atomic structure and vibrational dynamics of disordered materials.
  • Ab-initio computer simulation of phase transformations and optically-induced metastabilities in glasses, e.g. used in phase-change memories (Flash replacement).
  • Experimental study of optically-induced changes in glasses, with applications in the fields of optical- waveguides and chemical sensors, data storage and all-optical actuation.

Figure: Ab initio molecular-dynamics model of the amorphous state of the phase-change non- volatile memory material Ge2Sb2Te5

Selected Publications


  • Computer-simulation design of new phase-change memory materials. Phys. Status Solidi A 207, 510 (2010)
  • Spatial distribution of rare-earth ions and GaS4 tetrahedra in chalcogenide glasses studied via laser spectroscopy and ab initio molecular dynamics simulation. Phys. Rev. B 81, 104204 (2010)
  • Simultaneous readout of multiple microcantilever arrays with phase-shifting interferometric microscopy (PSIM) Rev. Sci. Instr. (2009), 80, 093101-8
  • Evidence of formation of tightly bound rare-earth clusters in chalcogenide glasses and their evolution with glass compositions. Phys Rev B, (2009), 79, 180202(1-4)
  • Evanescent-Wave Excitation of Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Substrates by an Optical-Fiber Taper. Optics Letters (2009) 34, 2685-2687
  • Microscopic origin of the fast crystallization ability of Ge-Sb-Te phase-change memory materials, Nat. Mat., (2008), 7, 399
  • All-optical actuation of amorphous chalcogenide-coated cantilevers, J. Non-Cryst. Sol., (2007), 353, 250.
  • Universal features of terahertz absorption in disordered materials, Phys. Rev. Lett., (2006), 97, 055504
  • Universal features of localized eigenstates in disordered systems, J. Phys. Cond. Matt, (2005), 17, L321


First-principles simulations of vibrational decay and lifetimes in a -Si:H and a-Si:D
R Atta-Fynn, DA Drabold, SR Elliott, P Biswas
– Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Morphology and Number Density of Voids in Hydrogenated Amorphous Silicon: An Ab Initio Study
P Biswas, D Paudel, R Atta-Fynn, DA Drabold, SR Elliott
– Physical Review Applied
ARTN 024013
Design of a Nanoscale, CMOS-Integrable, Thermal-Guiding Structure for Boolean-Logic and Neuromorphic Computation.
D Loke, JM Skelton, T-C Chong, SR Elliott
– ACS Appl Mater Interfaces
Addendum and Erratum: Nature of vibrational excitations in vitreous silica [Phys. Rev. B 56, 8605 (1997)]
NS Shcheblanov, ME Povarnitsyn, SN Taraskin, SR Elliott
– Physical Review B
ARTN 099903
Estimation of semiconductor-like pigment concentrations in paint mixtures and their differentiation from paint layers using first-derivative reflectance spectra
AR Pallipurath, JM Skelton, P Ricciardi, SR Elliott
– Talanta
Metadynamical approach to the generation of amorphous structures: The case of a-Si:H
P Biswas, R Atta-Fynn, SR Elliott
– Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
ARTN 184202
Analytical Capability of Defocused µ-SORS in the Chemical Interrogation of Thin Turbid Painted Layers.
C Conti, M Realini, A Botteon, C Colombo, S Noll, SR Elliott, P Matousek
– Applied Spectroscopy
Nanoscale structure of microvoids in a-Si:H: A first-principles study
P Biswas, SR Elliott
– Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Ab Initio Molecular-Dynamics Simulation of Neuromorphic Computing in Phase-Change Memory Materials.
JM Skelton, D Loke, T Lee, SR Elliott
– ACS Appl Mater Interfaces
Chalcogenide Phase-Change Materials: Past and Future
SR Elliott
– International Journal of Applied Glass Science
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 336525

Email address