I am a condensed matter physicist but much of my work comes close to materials science. Allow me to just give some of my background and the path that led to where I am now.
I grew up on a farm in the north of Scotland and in 2008 I went to the University of St Andrews in the slightly-less-far-north of Scotland. Although I entered the School of Physics with the intention to be a theorist, I quickly found that the lab environment was my true home (apologies to the teaching assistants who had to read my extended lab reports plus appendices).
What changed my life was an internship at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland. Taking place between my honours year and my Masters, this internship opened my eyes to the vast world of condensed matter physics beyond the lecture hall. I spent my days growing my first oxide heterostructures and doing ARPES beamtimes. The delightful smells of varnish and solder have stayed with me ever since.
I finished up my Masters back in St Andrews working in the MacKenzie group doing magnetometry on trilayer strontium ruthenate where I got the thesis prize and class medal. At that point I was pretty set on doing a PhD and I made the excellent decision to go back to Switzerland, this time to the University of Geneva. My time in Geneva was incredibly important. I was welcomed into the Triscone group and learned so much about the art and science of growing beautiful heterostructures. My PhD thesis, which was awarded a Springer thesis prize, focused on heterostructures of lanthanum nickelate, a correlated metal. It involved a lot of samples, a lot of beamtimes and a lot of hard work!
As of May 2021 I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Hwang group at Stanford University where I am continuing to work with quantum oxide heterostructure systems. I am trying to go beyond what is achievable by just epitaxial deposition by using soft chemistry approaches such as ion (de)intercalation, exfoliation and ex-situ mechanical manipulation. On top of extensive low-temperature (magneto)transport and in-house spectroscopy, to characterise these novel quantum materials I take advantage of unique large scale facilities such as synchrotron light sources, free electron lasers, muon sources and high field labs.
Outside of the lab I am a devoted cat-mother to Oliver, runner, trekker and wannabe circus acrobat.