Skip to main content
Research project

Time Resolved Imaging of Multifunctional Materials in Three Dimensions

Project overview

The aim of this fellowship is to study time-varying correlated phenomena in a range of multifunctional ferroic materials. This is enabled by time-resolved coherent diffraction imaging, a technique that I have pioneered, and my expertise in nanoscale quantum materials fabrication. In such materials, ferroic properties such as ferromagentism and ferroelectricity are coupled and can feature in novel devices where one ferroic property is controlled by the other. For example, magnetic spin transport that is controlled electrically. What makes this fellowship so interesting is that what we learn about the very small can help us to understand the very large. Symmetry-breaking phase transitions in models of the early universe give rise to topological defects known as cosmic strings. The symmetry and behaviour of these defects in the fabric of space-time are well described by defects found in a specific class of multiferroic quantum materials. This allows our lab experiments on quantum materials to tell us something about the formation and structure of the universe.

By revealing time-resolved electronic and magnetic structure in three-dimensions in a range of prototypical multifunctional quantum materials, this fellowship will deliver new knowledge that will enable the design and fabrication of prototype technologies based on these materials. There is also potential for new technologies to be developed and commercialised that utilise novel behaviour as revealed in materials during the fellowship. The realisation of a legacy of new industries based on as yet undiscovered phenomena is a real possibility. This fellowship also includes a significant public engagement programme in order to ensure that the public are made aware of the importance of our research and how it might impact their lives in decades to come.


Lead researcher

Dr Marcus Newton PhD, FInstP, FHEA

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • The development and use of lens-less imaging techniques such as Bragg coherent X-ray diffraction imaging (BCXDI) to study nanoscale quantum materials at X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL) facilities such as Euro-XFEL and x-ray synchrotron facilities such as the Diamond Light Source.
  • Ab-initio molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of emergent phenomena in multi-functional quantum materials using high-performance computing facilities.
  • Materials development for the capture of light and ambient vibrational energy such as photovoltaic devices and piezoelectric mechanical recouperation devices that can potentially enable low-cost and innovative renewable sources of energy.

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs

S.H. Connell,
Edward Mitchell,
Sekazi Mtingwa,
Prosper Ngabonziza,
Lawrence Norris,
Tshepo Ntsoane,
& Daouda Traore
, 2022 , Nature Reviews Physics
Type: letterEditorial
Marcus Newton,
Ulrich Wagner,
& Christoph Rau
, 2022 , Applied Physics Express , 15 (7)
Type: article
Ahmed, Hussein Mokhtar Hussein Mohamed,
David, Alexandru Serban,
, 2022 , Journal of Physics Communications , 6 (5)
Type: article
to top