PEOPLE

Group Leader

Prof. Giovanni Costantini

Giovanni was born in Perugia, Italy and studied Physics at the University of Genova (Italy) where he graduated in 1994 and was awarded his PhD in Physics in 2000. He then moved to the Max-Planck-Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart (Germany) as a Group Leader. In 2007 he became an Assistant Professor in Physical Chemistry at the University of Warwick (UK), was promoted to Associated Professor in 2010 and to full Professor in 2016. In June 2022 he moved to the School of Chemistry of the University of Birmingham (UK) as a Professor of Physical Chemistry.

Associated researchers

Dr. Abigail Bellamy-Carter

Abigail studied Natural Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics) at the University of Nottingham, graduating in 2015. She then stayed at the University of Nottingham to complete a PhD in Physics in with Professor Peter Beton investigating surface self-assembly and polymerisation with a variety of scanning probe microscopy techniques. On completion of her PhD in 2019, she was awarded an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship to continue investigating porphyrin self-assembly under ambient conditions working with the group of Dr Alex Saywell. In September 2021, she moved to the University of Birmingham to take up a role as a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Sciences in the Department of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences. She is now collaborating with the Costantini group to expand their work using ambient STM and AFM.

Post-doctoral researchers

Dr. Stefania Moro

Stefania graduated cum laude in 2018 from the University of Trieste with a specialisation in Condensed Matter Physics. Her thesis investigated the vibronic properties of organic molecules on metal surfaces in ultra-high vacuum by means of Sum Frequency Generation spectroscopy. Since October 2018, she held a PhD position at the University of Warwick under the supervision of Professor Giovanni Costantini. Her project aimed at the high-resolution structural and electronic characterisation of ultra-thin films of conjugated polymers and their organic dopants by means of low temperature Scanning Tunnelling Microscopy and Spectroscopy.

Since June 2022, Stefania joined the University of Birmingham as a Senior Research Fellow, to setup the new laboratories and continue and expand the work on conjugated polymers in the Costantini Group.

Dr. Xiaocui Wu

Xiaocui’s academic pursuits have consistently centered around the field of surface science, with a strong interdisciplinary approach involving corrosion and material science, surface nanoscience and physical chemistry. She is particularly interested in investigating the assembly and interaction of molecules on surfaces, by using a combination of ultra-high vacuum (UHV) techniques, including scanning probe microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

Her research at University of Warwick under the Marie Curie cofund EUTOPIA-SIF fellowship focuses on the characterisation of conjugated polymers by using the ultimate spatial resolution of scanning tunnelling microscopy to provide images and probe the local electronic properties of molecules with sub-monomer precision. By combining STM with electrospray deposition which allows to deposit intact conjugated polymers intactly on single crystal surfaces under UHV conditions, her research project achieves an unprecedented insight into the composition, sequence and microstructure of these functional macromolecules. This innovative approach reveals details inaccessible to standard characterisations method such as the structure of polymerisation defects, which are of great importance for understanding the polymerisation mechanisms as well as their performance in device applications.

PhD students

Archie Hobson

Born in Yorkshire, Archie studied Chemistry at the University of Warwick including a 13-month Industrial Placement doing synthetic Polymer Chemistry at Innospec Ltd. His MChem project was on the characterisation of conjugated polymers using STM, also in the Costantini group. He graduated in 2020, when he started a PhD in Physics at Warwick (co-supervised by Professor Giovanni Costantini and Professor Phil Woodruff)  using quantitative synchrotron-based characterisation techniques to determine the structure of two-dimensional metal organic frameworks (2D-MOFs) on coinage metal surfaces.

Mona Braim

Mona obtained a BSc in Physics from the King Khalid University in Bisha, Saudi Arabia and then moved to Canada where, in 2017, she got her MSc in Condensed Matter Physics from the Memorial University of Newfoundland working on microcantilever sensors for environmental monitoring. In 2018 she joined the Biological and Environmental Sensing Research Unit at the King Saud University in Saudi Arabia and in 2019 she started a PhD at the University of Warwick under the co-supervision of Prof. Phil Woodruff and Prof. Giovanni Costantini. Her research is on the electronic and structural properties of metal-organic interfaces with a particular focus on the quantitative structural determination of surface-supported 2D metal-organic networks by using a combination of STM, LEED and NIXSW measurements.

Paola Mantegazza

Paola studied Physics at the University of Milan (BSc degree) and at the University of Trieste (MSc degree). During her studies, she did two internships at Elettra Synchrotron of Trieste, investigating different surface science topics with synchrotron-based characterisation techniques such as XPS, XMCD and SXRD. She graduated in 2022 with a thesis on the spectroscopic characterisation of borophene and phosphorene monolayers. In the same year she started her PhD in the Costantini Group at the University of Birmingham. Her current project focuses on the molecular imaging of conjugated polymers by means of the ESD-STM technique.

Elizabeth Evans

Lizzie was born and raised in Bristol. She studied for her MSci in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham and spent her third year at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Lizzie returned to Birmingham for her final year, and completed her MSci project with Dr Lucy Clark, where she investigated magnetic and optical anisotropies in metal-organic frameworks. Lizzie is now in the first year of her PhD and is a member of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Topological Design. She is working with both the Costantini group and the Clark group to develop and apply surface science techniques to the understanding of novel two-dimensional magnets.

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