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Woodruff Thesis Prize: Thin Films and Surfaces Group

This annual prize is for the best PhD thesis by a student member of the group. It was established to encourage and recognise high-quality research and scientific writing in the field of thin films and surface science.

The Woodruff Thesis Prize is awarded annually by the Thin Films and Surfaces Group (TFSG) of the Institute of Physics (IOP) for the best PhD thesis in the stated year. The value of the prize is £250 and it was established to encourage and recognise high-quality research and scientific writing in the field of thin films and surfaces.

Nominations are now open and must be made using the application form (Word doc, 104KB) and submitted to the Chair of the group, Dr Karen Syres, [email protected], at any time before the closing date of Tuesday 30 April 2024. In addition to the application form, an electronic copy of the thesis should be submitted (preferably in PDF format).

The qualifying period is the calendar year 2023, during which time the thesis must have been successfully examined for a PhD (theses originally submitted in 2022 are therefore eligible if the viva date was during 2023). The final version of the thesis, including any corrections, must have been submitted before the closing date. Please note, non-TFSG/non-IOP members can be nominated for the prize provided they are nominated by an IOP member.



Dr Fabian Thiemann, University College London. For Properties of Low-dimensional Materials Explored with Machine Learning Potentials.


Dr Alan Bowman, University of Cambridge. For Materials, methods and concepts for 21st-century solar cells.


Dr Mohammed Azzouzi, Imperial College London. For Voltage Losses and Recombination Mechanisms in Organic Solar Cells.


Dr Veronika Sunko, University of St Andrews School of Physics and Astronomy. For Angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy of delafossite metals.


Dr Peter Townsend, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge. For Diffusion of light adsorbates on transition metal surfaces.


Dr Thomas James Whittles, University of Liverpool. For Electronic Characterisation of Earth-Abundant Sulphides for Solar Photovoltaics.


Dr Alexander Rosu-Finsen, Heriot-Watt University. For Icy Dust Grains in the Interstellar Medium: Their Properties and Impact.


Joint winner: Dr Demian Marchione, Heriot-Watt University. For Thermal and Non-Thermal Processes of Simple Molecules on Model Interstellar Ices.

Joint winner: Dr Hannah Aitchison, University of St Andrews. For Self-Assembly of Monolayers of Aromatic Carboxylic Acid Molecules on Silver and Copper Modified Gold Surfaces at the Liquid-Solid Interface.


Dr Ada Della Pia, Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick. For Using Electrostatic Interactions to Control Supramolecular Self-Assembly at Surfaces.


Dr Catherine Doyle, School of Physical Sciences, and National Centre for Sensor Research (NCSR), Dublin City University. For An Investigation of the Structural and Electronic Properties of Covalently Bonded Molecular Networks on Metal Surfaces Formed Through Debromination Reactions.


Dr David Duncan, Department of Physics, University of Warwick. For Adsorbate structure determination using energy scanned photoelectron diffraction.


Dr Natalia Garcia-Rey, Department of Chemistry, University of Liverpool. For Interaction of a Copper Surface with Light: Plasmons, Electrons & Molecular Vibrations.