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Personal profile


I am a Reader in physics and part of the photon physics group, which is based in the Photon Science Institute (PSI). I am the Theme leader for Photonics Materials and Devices in the PSI, which is aligned with the 'Atoms to Devices' strand of the Henry Royce Institute (HRI); my work on 2D materials is similarly aligned with that theme of the HRI.

Career history

My doctoral studies in Manchester were sponsored by Urenco plc and concerned the development of lasers suitable for laser isotope separation; a new technique for enriching nuclear fuel. After receiving my PhD, I continued my laser research in Manchester, developing an airborne ultra-violet laser system for environmental studies in the stratosphere and investigating novel frequency conversion techniques.

My next research topic was the photorefractive effect in polymer composites. Initially, I produced a series of publications that allowed the transient photorefractive behaviour of this material to be analyzed for the first time. I then began a successful collaboration with Prof Paul O'Brien of the School of Chemistry, who syntheses colloidal quantum dots - crystals comprising only a few hundred atoms. These quantum dots are a very flexible way of improving the light sensitivity of photorefractive polymers. My collaboration with Prof OBrien has also notably led to the demonstration of ultra-violet lasing from a film of chemically-grown ZnO nanocrystals.

Current research

Currently, my main area of interest is the photo-physics of quantum structured semiconductors, including colloidal quantum dots, GaN quantum wells and, most recently, 2D materials.


To date, I have published 77 journal papers and presented at numerous national and international conferences. I am the co-author of The Physics of Photorefractive Polymers and contributed a chapter the 'Handbook of Laser Technology and Applications'.


PhD in physics - 1998

BSc (Hons) in physics - 1992

Research interests

Broadly, I investigate the interaction of light with matter and use the knowledge gained to develop useful material systems and devices, often in conjunction with chemists and material scientists.

In particular, my current interests are:

  • Photophysics of semiconductor nanostructures,
  • Solar cell and LED development

I currently collaborate with the following other organisations:

  • Advanced Photonics Research Institute, S. Korea 
  • Material Science, University of Cambridge
  • Nanoco Technologies plc
  • University of Salford
  • University of Leeds

My group


I have supervised 10 PhD and 10 MSc students to completion. I currently supervise 3 PhDs, principally on projects associated with the photophysics and applications of nanoparticles and, starting in September, GaN quantum wells.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

External positions

QEP Chairman, Institute of Physics

1 Sep 201331 Aug 2017

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Photon Science Institute


  • laser
  • nanoparticle
  • photophysics


Dive into the research topics where David Binks is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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  • Communicating Physics through the Royal Society

    Shude Mao (Participant), Nicholas Rattenbury (Participant), Bruno Maffei (Participant), Clive Dickinson (Participant), Matthew Gleeson (Participant), Ingo Dierking (Participant), Mark Dickinson (Participant), Konstantin Novoselov (Participant), Andre Geim (Participant), Wendy Flavell (Participant), David Binks (Participant), Tom Spencer (Participant), Mathew Fuller (Participant), Adam Avison (Participant), Ian Duerdoth (Participant), Thorsten Wengler (Participant), Alexander Oh (Participant), Stefan Soldner-Rembold (Participant), Christian Schwanenberger (Participant) & Konstantinos Petridis (Participant)

    Impact: Economic, Technological, Attitudes and behaviours, Awareness and understanding