EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training
in Molecular-Scale Engineering
a Centre for Nanotechnology
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Oscar Siles Brugge


I studied at the University of Sheffield for my undergraduate degree, graduating with an MPhys in Chemical Physics. For my final year, I undertook a project in physics characterizing InGaAs quantum dots embedded in GaAs nanowires.

Previous lab experience
Throughout my undergraduate I was able to gain experience in both chemistry and physics labs, specifically in the use of various microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, as well as the use of cryogenic liquids.

What attracted me to the CDT in Molecular-Scale Engineering
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of my undergraduate degree, I was immediately interested in the CDT which offered a wide range of interesting research topics. It also offered a chance to see what work would be like in different research groups, ensuring the final PhD was in an area I would enjoy.

Current research
In the first of my rotations, I calculated works of adhesion between two surfaces in different media using two different theories, and compared the results, hoping to understand better the contact mechanics at the molecular scale. In the next rotation I will be investigating functionalizing optical microcavities, while my final rotation will investigate the photochemical reduction of CO2 using surface immobilized catalysts.

Advantages of an integrated PhD over a conventional PhD
When I was applying for PhDs, I was not entirely sure whether or not the vacancies I was looking at would be interesting in practice. By offering three rotations throughout the year in different disciplines to experience, I thought it would help me choose the research area I enjoyed the most. I am hoping that the experience gained from the course will allow me to decide whether I wish to remain in academic research, or branch out to do something slightly different.

The most enjoyable aspects
While only having completed one of these rotations, I have greatly enjoyed experiencing research from a very different perspective than I have been used to in the past.

The most challenging aspects
Learning material from disciplines other than my own from undergraduate is always challenging, but it is equally rewarding.

What would you say to others students interested in joining the CDT?
It’s a great opportunity you won’t want to miss out on.

Activities I participate in outside of the CDT
I enjoy going to the university’s archery club.