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Dr Matthew Coak

I am a lecturer at the University of Birmingham, Condensed Matter Physics Group, and an Honorary Research Fellow / Visiting Academic at the University of Warwick. I continue to work closely with the Superconductivity and Magnetism Group, in particular on high pressure measurements and crystal growth.

Research overview

I am an experimental condensed-matter physicist specialising in high pressure techniques. My research programme focuses on 2D magnetic materials, and the effects of pressure in tuning them towards 3D systems by compressing their atomic planes together. I measure the accompanying changes in structural, magnetic and transport properties to search for new exotic phases and behaviour. As well as bulk materials my work also explores few-layer flakes of 2D materials and multi-material nanoscale heterostructures.


I completed my undergraduate degree in physics at the University of Oxford, with my masters thesis on the development of proximity-detector-oscillators for use in pulsed magnetic fields. Following this I moved on to a PhD at the University of Cambridge under Dr Siddharth Saxena, graduating in 2017. My specialisation was in the use of high pressure to tune quantum criticality in ferroelectric systems and Mott transitions in 2D insulating antiferromagnets.

My first postdoctoral position was in the Emergent Phenomena Group of the IBS Centre for Correlated Electron Systems at Seoul National University, under Prof Je-Geun Park. Here I headed the van-der-Waals materials team and continued my investigation into Mott transitions and the tuning of low-dimensional magnetism with pressure, including synchrotron and neutron scattering studies. I then joined the Superconductivity and Magnetism group at Warwick in March 2019. I worked with Dr Paul Goddard from 2019 to 2021 using pressure, magnetic fields and low temperatures to tune and study low-dimensional magnetic materials and superconductors. In 2022 I left Warwick to take up a position as a Senior Research Fellow working with Dr Mark Buitelaar in the Quantum Devices GroupLink opens in a new window at University College London. Here I worked on new underlying technologies for qubits in a distributed quantum computer based on measurement-based entanglement.

I was very grateful to be named as one of the Institute of Physics' Emerging Leaders 2019Link opens in a new window - "the most exciting researchers of their generation, with the potential to revolutionise their fields".

SquidLab - Magnetic Background Subtraction Software  

I am the lead developer on the 'SquidLab' software suite,for subtracting magnetic backgrounds in magnetisation data. SquidLab is written in Matlab, designed to be flexible and customisable, and is free to download with full editable source code under Academic Licence.

SquidLab is described in our recent Review of Scientific Instruments paperLink opens in a new window, and in the accompanying SciLight article for a general audience.

Download linkLink opens in a new window


Email (including for Squidlab queries)

Dr Matthew Coak

m dot j dot coak at bham dot ac dot uk

For questions about Matt's work at Warwick please write to

Paul Goddard

Department of Physics
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom