My research has always been about light. In particular, I have focused on light interacting with metals and other conductors.
During my PhD, I studied how light could become trapped at the surface of a metal if tiny grooves were present. This light, trapped and combined with the electrons of the metal, has properties of both the original light, and of the electrons. This combined object is known as a ‘surface plasmon’. It is a simple name to understand: The ‘surface’ bit comes from the fact that it exists at the surface of the metal, and the ‘plasmon’ bit comes from the fact that a sea of electrons can be thought of as a ‘plasma’.
These surface plasmons are extremely useful, and are used to improve solar cells, detect single molecules, treat cancer and help build light-based computers.
Since completing my PhD in 2012, my research interests have continued to be the study of light and of surface plasmons. In the research I have conducted since, I have developed new ways of measuring surface plasmons, worked on light absorption in the form of microwave metamaterials, and have discovered new ways of creating surface plasmons on materials such as graphene.