Cohort 3

Our third cohort of 13 students joined us in September 2021

Ahmed Al-Basha

Hi, my name is Ahmed. Prior to joining the CDT, I was awarded a scholarship by TotalEnergies to embark on a Chemical Engineering BEng degree at the University of Leeds. My degree specialised in material science and process systems where my final year project encompassed the design of a reactor to synthesis high purity crystalline materials.

After graduating in 2018, I worked for 3 years as a Development Engineer in a semiconductor start-up in County Durham. In my role, I was involved in fabricating electronic devices based on CVD diamond as well as designing bespoke manufacturing tools and jigs.

I wanted to learn more about semiconductor devices based on other materials, mainly used in RF applications, hence I joined the engineering MSc pathway of the CDT. My PhD, at Cardiff University, will be on characterising GaN transistors using contactless probes supervised by Prof. Johannes Benedikt and sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric.

Aside from engineering, I enjoy hiking, cooking, and going out with friends.


Alex Bennett

Hi, I’m Alex. I’m originally from Milton Keynes, but I’ve spent most of my (rememberable) childhood growing up just outside The Hague in the Netherlands.

I moved back to the UK to complete my A-levels in Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology. I attained my BSc in Physics at Cardiff University. My final year project of my bachelor’s degree investigated the effects of gaps within magnetic circuits. I considered both uniform and non-uniform pole geometries, the latter requiring the use of finite element analysis.

Since middle school, I have been familiar with computer modelling, where I learned to implement photorealistic ray-traced 3D models into videos. Ray-tracing provided my first awareness of one of the many uses of parallel computation, a field I currently wish to develop further by using photonic devices.

Away from the computer screen, I am a keen runner, road cyclist (enjoy MTB too!) and drummer. On the more technical side, I am an electronics hobbyist and photographer.


Davey Armstrong

Hi I’m Davey and I’m from Stroud in Gloucestershire.

I’ve been a student at Cardiff for the past four years studying for an MPhys in Physics and Astronomy. I had more of an astrophysics leaning for a lot of my undergraduate life, however, over this time my interest has developed into the field of Semiconductor Physics.

The area that most interest me now is quantum photonics and how we can use the quantum properties of light to encode information. So far I have really enjoyed the practical aspects of the course and the oppourtunity to learn new skills that will help me as I start the PhD portion of the course.

Outside of physics I am an avid musician and painter and also enjoy taking hikes in the country.


Eve Burgess

Hi, I’m Eve, I’m from Oldham near Manchester and have been studying in Cardiff for the past 4 years, completing my MPhys Physics with Astronomy degree in summer 2021.

I originally started at Cardiff Uni on the Astrophysics course but soon realised that it was condensed matter physics, in particular, the physics of semiconductors, their applications and their fabrication, that really captured my interest. For my fourth year project, I researched how to minimise the defects that form during the integration of III-V materials onto Si substrates for both planar epitaxy and nanowire growth.

For my PhD project, I will be using multi-microscopy techniques to investigate the physical mechanisms that contribute to the failure of quantum dot devices, supervised by Juan Pereiro Viterbo and sponsored by Zeiss.

When I’m not studying, I enjoy reading, listening to music (especially live) and a cheeky cocktail and boogie with my friends…but I make sure I have time to water all my house plants (the current count stands at 26 so it’s a big job).


Doug Crackett

Hi, my name is Doug and I am originally from Durham, a city in the Northeast England.

I graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2019 with a master’s degree in chemistry. My masters project involved the synthesis and analysis of novel carbazole based host materials for use in TADF OLEDs, this project sparked my interest in semiconductors. Since graduating I have been working as a research support technician for the Molecular Therapeutics and Formulations Division within the Nottingham University School of Pharmacy.

The hobbies I’m looking forward to continuing in Cardiff are climbing and surfing.


Yinghong Huang

Hi, I’m Yinghong, I’m from China, I first got to know about semiconductor-related knowledge in my third-year undergraduate and I was totally amazed by how it could make such a difference to people’s life. 

I studied the light extraction of the LED via TracePro as the topic of my dissertation. After finishing my MEng in Optoelectronic Information Science and Engineering, I came to the University of Sheffield for my master program in Semiconductor Photonics and Electronics, especially, my MSc project was themed with Effects of Misalignments on Incident Angles on Multi-beam Laser Interference with Different Polarisation Modes which was supervised by Professor Mark Hopkinson.

In my free time, I enjoy drawing, photography, watching movies and animations.


Ben Jakobs

Hello, my name is Ben, I grew up in Luxembourg, then moved to London, where I spend 4 years doing a MSc Physics degree at King’s College London, with focus in condensed matter physics.

My thesis was on analysing the correlated electron problem using quantum Monte Carlo and machine learning, the algorithm allowed the simulation of the electrons in an Anderson Impurity model, which were displayed using Green functions.


Samira Lofti Golsefidi

Samira has received her undergrad and master degrees in electronic engineering in 2014 and 2017, respectively. She has has an extensive industrial experience as an research and development specialist in two different fields of navigation and IoT.

Her master’s research was focused on the physical phenomena governing on Silicon/Organic photodetectors. She has modelled and simulated the Silicon/Organic photodetechors and achieved the best structure to fabricate. She has undertaken two volunteering projects on peroveskit photodetectors and luminescent concentrators for optical communication applications. Her research interest includes optoelectronic devices, high frequency circuits and optical communication systems.


Laura Michael

My name is Laura and I grew up in a small town in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. Before joining the CDT, I studied at the University of Warwick, and graduated with an integrated Masters in Physics. Even when starting the course, I knew my interest lay in condensed matter and so I looked to explore that area further.

My undergraduate masters project explored the epitaxial growth and thin film characterisation of silicon based epiwafers, with specific attention given to Fourier Transformed Infra-red (FTIR) spectroscopy. As part of this, I helped to derive a new fast, accurate approach to homoepitaxial thickness profiling of silicon, and published my first paper in the IOP journal of Semiconductor Science and Technology.
My PhD project is supervised by Professor Peter Smowton at Cardiff University, and supported by Huawei. My research sets out to design an on-chip Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) system to detect skin cancer. This involves the design of a tunable InAs/GaAs Quantum Dot laser, as well as corresponding waveguides, beam splitters, and a detector.

Outside of physics, I love to do anything artistic, drink tea, and be outside, particularly hiking or white-water kayaking.


Robert Müller

Hi, my name is Robert. I’m from Marburg, a small town right in the middle of Germany.

I did both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree at RWTH Aachen University, specialising in electronic materials and nanotechnology.

After going abroad to South Korea for half a year, I recently finished my Master’s project on the growth and characterisation of magnetic topological insulators and their implementation into in-situ fabricated devices towards realizing more fault-tolerant quantum computing.

Aside from academia, I enjoy playing piano, learning new languages (Currently Korean & French) and most importantly I am completely obsessed with food (Both cooking and eating).


Aquila Powell

I graduated from the University of Leeds with a first-class degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (MEng) in 2021. My first degree was in the somewhat esoteric field of memory-resistors or memristors which were proposed as a fourth fundamental circuit element (my belief is that it’s merely a subtype of resistor.)

In the master’s phase of this program I focused on pulsed measurement techniques of novel LMBA RF power amplifiers which are an exciting new amplifier topology invented at Cardiff University; this mainly involved the modification of an existing active load-pull system.

I am a practitioner of martial, dramatic and aesthetic arts.


Balthazar Temu

My name is Balthazar Gaspar Temu from Tanzania.

I completed my bachelor degree in telecommunications engineering in 2010 at HUST in China. I then worked as a Network Operations Engineer with MIC Tanzania LTD (Tigo) from August 2010 to Feb 2014 and then as a site engineer with Huawei Dubai from Feb 2014 to April 2018. From Sept 2018 to July 2019 I did a masters in Photonic Integrated Circuits, Sensors and Networks at Scuola Superiore Sant Anna in Italy.

From Sept 2019 to August 2020 I completed my masters in Electrical Engineering at Eindhoven university of technology. The two masters were in a single program which was a scholarship that was funded by the European Union (Erasmus Mundus scholarship).

I am interested in swimming and playing football.


Kate Wong

Hello I’m Kate. I have a BSc in Physics and Philosophy from The University of Bristol.


Join us! 

The Centre for Doctoral Training is currently funded for five intakes, from 2019-2023. If you would like to join us, visit our how to apply page and get in touch if you have any questions.

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