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Microsystems Technology Group


Next Generation Thin Film Pressure Sensors

March 2016

Congratulations to (left to right) Zoltan Racz (CI) Linzi Dodd (CI) and David Wood (PI), for their new KTP award (£247,248) for the project "‘Next Generation Thin Film Pressure Sensors" funded by Senstronics.

Senstronics Ltd is working with Durham University on a strategic project entitled 'Next Generation Thin Film Pressure Sensors'. Senstronics Ltd is a Joint Venture between two multibillion dollar companies. Manufacturing to TS16949 standard, Senstronics supplies thin-film pressure transducers to the agricultural, construction and industrial sectors. Based in the Newton Aycliffe, Senstronics market-leading quality has resulted in a factor of three increase in sales in the last four years. The company was incubated here in Durham in 1999, and this is the latest collaborative programme. We have been working with them quite intensively over the last two years in detailed aspects of the science of their pressure sensors, and the KTP programme will help us develop leading-edge thin-film technology to extend the operating range of pressure transducers in temperature, pressure and isolation to allow penetration of new markets.

Winners of Images of Technology @Durham 2015

November 2015

Pictured left to right: Professor David Wood presenting first prize of £150 to ECS postgraduates Stephen Bonner, John Brennan and Carl Nelson, for their joint still image submission of ‘Solar Spots in Medical Data’

Also pictured is ECS research associate Dr Linzi Dodd being presented with the runner up prize of £50 for her submission of ‘Ratchets. Linzi also won 3rd prize in Images of Technology @Durham 2014 for her submission of ‘Microgripper Wafer’. Not able to attend the presentation was ECS postgraduate runners up Tom Rowan for his still image submission of ‘Ram pump sensing ‘and Konstantinos Krestenitis for two video submissions entitled 'DEM with Triangles (Minion Character) and ‘Minion DEM with Edges’ Tom and Konstantinos will also receive a certificate and £50 each for their submissions. All of the prize winning images can be seen on the screens located in the foyer of ECS Christopherson building. You will also find instructions on how to enter Images of Technology @Durham 2016

Recovering energy can be exhausting work. “If the engine is on, it works.”

April 2015

Around 45 per cent of engine power is dissipated as heat via the exhaust, according to Professor David Wood from Durham University’s microsystems technology group in the School of Engineering and Computing sciences. Even though others had looked at ways to recover this heat, all had flaws, which prompted his team to see if there was a better way.“This is worth doing even if it look daunting,” he said. “It is worth doing and it is achievable. As a university, we can afford to do things that are a little more speculative.” He said the most significant advantage exhaust pipe energy recovery had over other methods was that it worked all the time. “The exhaust is always hot,” he said. “If the engine is on, it works. You are literally throwing a huge amount of energy away down the exhaust.” However, he said recovering this energy had to be done without interfering with the airflow as that could damage the way the car worked. “So we looked at the outer surface of the exhaust and looked at the radiant heat,” he said. “This accounts for around 10 to 20% of the energy.” He said witht a Jaguar four-litre V8, they estimated they could recover up to 17kW. If the system was 100% efficient it could lead to a 4 to 9% cut in CO2 emissions.The team used an antenna style device for picking up radiated heat. However, the circuit needed a very fast switching diode, so they designed their own. The result though was only producing microwatts of energy. So they designed a wrap that goes round the exhaust that could contain 1012 devices, and they reckon this could be made within a couple of years for about $100. “We have talked to one or two car makers about this,” said Professor Wood, “but we are still at an early stage.

Durham researchers explore evolutionary electronics

April 2015

The American Institute of Physics has issued a press release on a recent article in the Journal of Applied Physics by Durham's Centre for Molecular and Nanoscale Electronics.

The article was written by Dr Kieran Massey, a postdoctoral research associate (pictured), and involved Professor Mike Petty, Dr Dagou Zeze, Dr Apostolos Kotsialos, Dr Chris Pearson and Ms Fawada Qaiser. The work was also undertaken in collaboration with the University of São Paulo-USP in Brazil.

This subsequently attracted a significant amount of media attention. For example: watch the Youtube video on Carbon Nanotube for "unconventional" Computing.

A grant has since been awarded to Prof Petty and colleagues by Durham University and the Foundation for Research Support of the State of São Paulo (FAPESP) to develop research collaboration with the São Carlos Institute of Physics, Brazil.

The Centre for Molecular and Nanoscale Electronics was established at Durham University in 1987. The Centre consolidates and promotes relevant activities across a number of academic departments within the University, in particular Chemistry, Physics and the School of Engineering and computing Sciences. Much current activity is focused on the nanoscale where dimensions and tolerances in the range 0.1 nm to 100 nm play a critical role.

The group’s research is part of the Nanoscale Engineering for Novel Computation using Evolution project, which is funded by the European Union ( Article title: Computing with Carbon Nanotubes: Optimization of Threshold Logic Gates using Disordered Nanotube/Polymer Composites is also featured in the latest round of research news highlighted in the ENGINEER, KURZWEILai, Science Daily and R&D. More information on the groups research activities can be found at cmne/research activities/

Sir Gareth Roberts Memorial Lecture 2015

March 2015

The third Sir Gareth Roberts Memorial Lecture was held on Wednesday, 11th March. This is an event held jointly between the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences and the Department of Physics, and is held to honour the memory and celibrate the legacy of Sir Gareth, who was Professor of Applied Physics in Durham between 1976 and 1985, and then went on to produce many reports that influenced government thinking wider higher education and science communities.

ECS Professor David Wood introduced the speaker, who this year wasProfessor Stuart Parkin. After a long and distinguished career at the IBM Almaden Research Centre in San Jose, California, Stuart Parkin is now the Director of the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle and also the Alexander von Humboldt Professor at Martin Luther University. The talk was entitled ‘The Spin on Electronics!’, and gave a history of the development of the science and technology behind magnetic disc drives, which has led to a huge expansion of data acquisition and storage capacities, which in turn have underpinned the evolution of large data centres and cloud services. For this work Stuart Parkin was awarded the Millenium Technology Prize in 2014.

There was plenty of time for questions after this excellent talk, and the audience readily engaged with Professor Parkin on the subject matter. We look forward to an equally good event next year.

50th Anniversary Event 15th September 2015

Our 50th Anniversary is an important milestone in the School's history. The 50th anniversary took place in Durham, with an afternoon of free activities held in the School, and followed by a enjoyable get together dinner for the attending alumni. This was held in the evening at Durham Castle.

Images of Technology @Durham 2016

The School of Engineering and Computing Sciences for a third time is hosting a competition for images or videos relating to technology. The competition is open to all students, researchers, and academic and non-academic staff members in ECS at the University of Durham.

Participants are invited to submit photographs, videos or generated images of work relating to their studies or research in Engineering and Computing Sciences. For example the image to the right was produced by the Innovative Computing Research Group using graphics, visualisation and image processing techniques. It is acceptable to make something abstract, artistic, humorous or something that shows real people doing real things. Participants are invited to be imaginative with their submission as we the judges are looking for the most inspiring, illuminating and beautiful images.

This year there are four prizes, First prize of £150 and Three runnerup prizes of £50 each and deadline for submission is 10th June 2016.

The winners will be contacted by email and names will be announced shortly afterward on our ECS news pages. The winning entries will be displayed in the school alongside last years winning images.

For more information and guidelines on submission of work, download the guide.

Prestigious Annual Lecture

March 2015

We are delighted to announce that Professor Stuart Parkin, Director Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics in Germany, will be giving a talk in Durham as part of the annual Sir Gareth Roberts lecture. This is an event organised jointly between the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences and the Department of Physics.

The title of the talk is ‘The Spin on Electronics’ and is scheduled for Wednesday 11th March, 4.30 pm in the Sir Arnold Wolfendale lecture theatre, Calman Learning Centre .

The ability to store a complete digital life in a portable hard drive is thanks to the pioneering work in spintronics by Professor Stuart Parkin. His innovations have helped to underpin the evolution of large data centres and cloud services, social networks, music and film distribution online. In 2014 he was awarded the Millenium Technology Prize, where the foundation behind the award said his technology had made Facebook, Twitter, Google and other online services possible. I would encourage you all to put the date in your diaries for what promises to be an excellent talk.

Further details are available at

Winners of the ECS Images of Technology Competition 2014

October 2014

Pictured here with their prizes are Richard Stone and Linzi Dodd, both Richard and Linzi submitted still images from their research projects. Linzis' image, winning third prize, is that of a silicon wafer with ten microgripper devices on it, taken in ECS Micro-ElectroMechanical Systems - Nanotechnology Cleanroom. Richards' image Winning 3rd Prize also taken in the cleanroom, is of a finished tungsten probe, the tip can be sharper than 20 nanometres (approximately 120 atoms). These probes can be used for many applications in nanotechnology, in the case of this project: manipulating carbon nanotubes to form fibres. Pictured alongside is Tobias Weinzierl in the ECS Visualisation Suite, where he produced his Video of a shallow water wave, normally used to describe tsunamis, Tobias has used the wave to explain algorithms and his video has won 2nd prize in the competition.

Research Day Success

September 2014

Research day success for the microsystems technology group, with Abhishek Chandramohan being awarded first place in the poster competition, and Linzi Dodd being awarded second place. Overall, the day was a great success, with very interesting talks from each of the research groups within the department. The summaries of each of the research groups were a big success, with the new format of research day being well received. Congratulations to all of the speakers and the poster presenters.

Research Day 2014

September 2014

The School of Engineering and Computing Science's annual research day provides the opportunity for top quality research from across to school to be presented to staff, students and visitors. During this one day event, a selection of PhD students, Research Associates and Post-Doctoral Researchers will present concise presentations summarising their key findings and other relevant aspects of their work. This will provide an opportunity both for the different research activities to be shared across all five research groups and to inform the wider research community within the university and industry.

Dates of "Research day 2017" will be posted here in the near future.

The 2016 School of Engineering Research Day took place on Thursday 6th of October. Accompanying the presentations, also featured a poster competition which was open to all PhD students within the school and cash prizes for the three best posters.

The winners of the poster competition were: Andrew Messenger (1st Prize), Oliver Hamilton (2nd Prize) and Eléonore Vissol-Gaudin (3rd Prize). Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all those who submitted a poster.

The winners of the presentation competition were: Andre Nichterlin (1st Prize) and Michael Cortis (2nd Prize). Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all those who spoke, research day couldn't happen without the proactivity of researchers within the school.

For any queries regarding research day please contact the team organising research day on the following email address:

. Further details will be posted on this page when available.

Poster Template (powerpoint)

Poster Template (LaTeX)

Successful Thesis Submission

August 2014

Congratulations to Xiao Xia Duan for successfully submitted her thesis online, marking the end of her postgraduate studies. Her thesis can be found online here.

Moving liquids down pipes

August 2014

ECS Professor David Wood has won a £319K research grant from EPSRC for ‘Lubricating channel and tube flows’.In this 3-year project ways are suggested of experimentally implementing flow in channels and tubes with recirculating boundary layer conditions.The project is to be run in collaboration with other teams from Northumbria and Nottingham Trent Universities and is likely to make the job of moving liquids down pipes a lot easier, which will lead to a significant reduction in energy consumption in the oil industry. A full explanation of the project can be found here

Successful Thesis Submission

February 2014

Congratulations to Linzi Dodd for the successful submission fo her PhD thesis online, making the end of her postgraduate study. Her thesis can be found online here.

Two Successful Thesis Submissions

December 2013

Congratulations to Rachael Daunton and Kieran Massey for the successful submission of their PhD theses online, making the completed of their postgraduate studies. Rachael's thesis can be found online here and Kieran's thesis can be found online here.

Welcome to New Group Members

October 2013

Welcome to new group members Abhishek Chandramohan, Giorgio Tiburzi, Yousillya Bunga and David Etor. They will be starting their postgraduate studies within the group.

Prestigious fellowship award from the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK

April 2013

Dr Dagou Zeze is awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship (2013-14) to introduce semiconductor nanowires research in Durham on the nanotechnology research theme: “Nanoscale characterisation and integration platform for nanowires”. More information regarding the Leverhulme Trust can be found here

Robot to track mould contamination in food production

December 2012 

A School of Engineering and Computing Sciences team have won €450k from the European Commission. The grant is part of an international University-Industry consortium (FUST) involving Norway, UK, Sweden and Germany; to develop a prototype of a fully automated cultivation and liquid sample handling robotic system for source tracking of mould contamination in food production. Pictured here are team members from School of Engineering and Computing Sciences here at Durham, Dagou Zeze, Andrew Gallant, Peter Baxendale, Peter Matthews and John Garside

Electronic nanodevices for energy harvesting: an extraordinary approach to thermal-energy conversion

December 2012 

Dr Claudio Balocco has received a £98k grants from EPSRC for a project which aims to convert the low-grade energy lost by hot bodies in the form of infrared radiation into useable electrical power.
The potential amount of power is startling: an object at a temperature of 600 °C emits 33 kW/m2, while an adult human body approximately 100 W. The project aims to explore the application of microantennas to collect the radiation, which is then converted to dc power by semiconductor nanodiodes.

For more information, please contact:

Professor David Wood, BSc PhD
Chair of Engineering in the  School of Engineering and Computing Sciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42464
Room number: E496 (Christopherson)

(email at