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Professor John Murphy

Academic profile photograph

Professor John Murphy

Professor of Electronic Materials 
Head of Department
Head of the Electronic Materials and Interfaces GroupLink opens in a new window

John dot D dot Murphy at warwick dot ac dot uk
+44 (0) 24 7657 5378

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John became Head of Department of the School of Engineering on 1st September 2023. The School of Engineering is an integrated School, and the Head has responsibility for the School’s overall strategy which includes the activities of all four Discipline Streams. He chairs the newly created School Executive Team, whose members have portfolios in Teaching, Research, People, Impact and Industry, and Operations. He represents the School of Engineering on strategic University-wide business, including on Senate, on the Faculty Board for Science, Engineering and Medicine, and in the University’s STEM Grand Challenge Project, which aims to transform Warwick’s Science and Engineering Precinct over the next decade.

John was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering/ EPSRC Research Fellowship in the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford in 2008. He held Junior Research Fellowships at two Oxford colleges, and was a Lecturer and Director of Studies in Materials Science at St Anne's College. In 2013, he transferred his personal fellowship to the University of Warwick becoming an Assistant Professor, first in WMG and then in the School of Engineering. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2015, to Reader in June 2018, and to Professor of Electronic Materials in December 2018. Prior to becoming Head of Department, he was Discipline Stream Leader for Mechanical, Materials and Process Engineering (2021-2023), and Deputy Head of Department (2022-2023).

He has been principal investigator of externally funded research grants with a value (100% FEC) of £3.6m, with a further £11.3m as co-investigator. He has been principal investigator of four EPSRC grants, including collaborative activities with Oxford, Manchester, and Exeter. He was a co-investigator and management committee member of the EPSRC Supergen Solar Network+. He is currently a co-investigator of the EPSRC Terabotics Programme Grant. His work had led to >100 publications and he has personally given >60 conference presentations. He has given invited talks at many of the leading international conferences in his research field, including the Gordon Research Conference on Defects in Semiconductors, the Electrochemical Society (ECS), the Materials Research Society (MRS), Gettering and Defect Engineering in Semiconductor Technology (GADEST), the NREL Workshop on Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells & Modules, the International Conference on Defects in Semiconductors (ICDS), and the JSPS Silicon Symposium. He chaired the 15th GADEST conference, the 2015 Recent Appointees in Materials Science conference, and the “Materials research for group IV semiconductors” symposium at the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS).

He graduated with an MA in Physics (2003) and a DPhil in Materials Science (2006) from the University of Oxford. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PGDipLATHE) from the University of Oxford (2011). He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (FInstP), a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), a Chartered Engineer (CEng), and a Chartered Physicist (CPhys).

Research Interests

John is a materials scientist, whose work includes aspects of physics, chemistry, and engineering. He founded and leads the Electronic Materials and Interfaces Group in the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick. The Group's work is largely experimental and focusses on electronic materials for a range of applications including photovoltaics, batteries, optoelectronics, power electronics, and modulation of terahertz radiation. He is interested in the materials science of defects in the bulk of crystalline materials and in controlling the properties of surfaces as the nanoscale. Materials of current interest include silicon, germanium, silicon carbide, and 2D transition metal dichalcogenides (particularly MoS2).

John’s research at Warwick is strongly dependent on an atomic layer deposition (ALD) facility he established in 2017. This enables the production of ultra-thin coatings (typically metal-oxides such as Al2O3, SiO2 or HfO2). These have uses in a wide range of applications and have led to projects in silicon photovoltaic cells, anodes for lithium-ion batteries, 2D materials for optoelectronics, and THz imaging for cancer detection. He has active collaborations with researchers in Chemistry, Physics, and WMG at Warwick. External collaborations include Oxford, Exeter, Manchester, Southampton, Fraunhofer ISE, ISFH, the Australian National University, and the University of New South Wales. His work in the silicon photovoltaics field is performed in strong collaboration with leading international industrial partners.

Teaching Interests

John’s personal teaching at Warwick has mainly focused on Year 1 Thermodynamics (typically >350 students), which he first taught in 2014. He supervises projects and is a personal tutor. In 2022, he led a project to restructure the Mechanical Engineering curriculum to be compliant with the AHEP4 accreditation standard, ensuring external accreditation by the relevant bodies including the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He has experience with the management of a range of successful degree programmes at traditional undergraduate, degree apprenticeship, and taught postgraduate levels.

Selected Publications

Projects and Grants