Patrick Parkinson


Personal profile


Current PhD Positions

Over the past two decades, developments in nanostructured materials have enabled huge progress in electronics and optoelectronic devices. However, novel materials, particularly those with nanoscale dimensions present unique challenges for characterisation, where surface-effects become dominant and light-matter interactions can be modified by wavelength-scale geometry.

In my group, we are primarily concerned with how energy moves in nanostructured materials for optoelectronics applications (LEDs, lasers and photovoltaics). To study this, my group is developing automated spectro-microscopy techniques coupled to femtosecond lasers to allow the controlled study of carrier dynamics at the sub-micron length scale and sub-picosecond timescale. By combining advanced photonic characterisation with machine vision, we seek to take advantage of added information revealed through big-data approaches. Typical PhD level projects include:

  1. Development of novel spectroscopic methods: Novel materials often require novel spectroscopic approaches. Our group develop useful tools to address specific challenges - this recently includes single-photon interference spectroscopy, micro-transient absorption tools, and non-linear mapping for 3D reconstruction
  2. Semiconductor nanowire spectroscopy: While nanowires have high promise as future optoelectronics components, wire-to-wire inhomogeneity presents a unique challenge. We develop statistical approaches to understand and optimize this novel material
  3. Three-dimensional optoelectronic device characterisation: Nanoscale structured materials tend to exhibit highly inhomogeneous properties. The relationship between these local properties and macroscopic behaviour is unclear – by mapping properties in 3D, we relate these measurements to bottom-line efficiencies.




Research Projects

Three levels of research project are available in the group.

Undergraduate Summer placements

Summer research projects are available for undergraduate Physics students at the University of Manchester, advertised through Blackboard. Please get in touch if you are considering applying for a placement in the group.

Postgraduate degrees (PhD)

Current postgraduate research positions are described in the PhD positions tab, above.

Information regarding PhD research in the Photon Physics group can be found at the main School website. Information about financial support available through the School, Faculty and University is available here.

If you are interested in pursuing a postgraduate degree and wish to discuss research in the group, please get in touch.

Postdoctoral Research positions

No postdoctoral positions are currently available. If you are interested in joining the group for a postdoctoral research, funding is available through established fellowships (including EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowships, Marie Curie individual fellowships, Royal Society Fellowships and others); please feel free to contact me to discuss your research plans.


Dr Parkinson is a lecturer in Photonic Materials, and part of the Photon Physics group based in the Photon Science Institute. His research is aligned with the 'Atoms to Devices' theme of the Hentry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials.


Dr Parkinson read for his MPhys degree at Brasenose College, Oxford (awarded in 2005). He joined the research group of Prof. Laura Herz in the Condensed Matter Physics sub-department at the University of Oxford for postgraduate study on ultrafast spectroscopy of organic semiconductor materials. In 2009 he received his DPhil for his thesis entitled ‘Ultrafast Electronic Processes at Nanoscale Organic-Inorganic Semiconductor Interfaces’. In 2009 he moved to the group of Prof. Michael Johnston also at the University of Oxford to pursue post-doctoral research using terahertz spectroscopy techniques to investigate optoelectronic nanomaterials.


In 2010, Dr Parkinson took a postdoctoral research position in Electronic Materials Engineering at the Australian National University (Canberra, Australia) under Prof. Chenupatti Jagadish, where he set up an optical spectroscopy sub-group in a large materials science group focused on nanoscale optoelectronic materials. While there, he was awarded an Australian Research Council ‘Discovery Project’ grant to study ultrafast switching devices based on nanowire materials. In 2013, he returned to the UK to a postdoctoral research position in Oxford using ultrafast spectroscopy to study bio-mimetic molecules synthesised by Prof. Harry Anderson, before joining the Photon Physics group in the School of Physics and Astronomy and the Photon Science Institute at the University of Manchester in January 2015.

Research interests

III-V Semiconductor Nanowires

  • Surface effects
  • Axial/Radial heterostructures
  • Single nanowire spectroscopy and electronic properties

Electronic processes in novel semiconductors

  • Ultra-fast carrier/quasi-particle generation
  • Carrier transport
  • Exciton lifetime
  • Interface physics (particularly bulk heterojunction interfaces)

Ultrafast photophysical experiments

  • Non-linear photocurrent mapping
  • Optical-pump terahertz-probe spectroscopy
  • Sub-picosecond time-resolved photoluminescence spectroscopy
  • Time-resolved single photon counting
  • Single nanowire spectroscopy

Hybrid Nanoscale Inorganic-Organic optoelectronic devices

  • Organic photovoltaics (heterojunction and dye-sensitised)

Single nanowire device fabrication

  • Non-linear direct-write laser lithography
  • Ultrafast device fabrication
  • Nanowire terahertz detectors

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
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Ultrafast spectroscopy of nanoscale organic-inorganic interfaces, Oxford University

1 Sept 20051 Dec 2008

Award Date: 1 May 2009

External positions

Visiting Academic, Oxford University

1 Jan 2015 → …

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Photon Science Institute


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