Professor Chris McConville is Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation in the College of Science, Engineering and Health.
His research interests broadly cover the growth, surface and interface properties of novel semiconducting materials including oxides, nitrides and carbide materials, using a range of experimental techniques including photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS & ARPES) and scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) to extract physical and electronic structure information of the surfaces and interfaces to compare with the bulk properties of these materials.
He has published more than 250 papers in international refereed journals which have attracted over 6,500 citations (h-index 44 - Web of Science), as well as publishing three book chapters and editing the book Indium Nitride and Related Alloys.
He has also delivered over 60 invited talks at national and international conferences and workshops, and over 70 invited seminars and colloquia.
Prior to joining RMIT he was the Professor of Experimental Physics in the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick, UK where he is now an Honorary Professor.
From 2010 to 2016 he was Head of Nanoscience Research and Head of the Surface, Interfaces & Thin Films Group in the Department of Physics at Warwick.
From 2011 to 2015 he was Director of the Science City Research Alliance (SCRA) project, a $100million collaboration between the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham, where he also holds an Honorary Professorship in Physics.
Key research interests
- Physical and electronic structure of complex oxides - surfaces and interfaces: e.g. perovskites (LaAlO3, LaNiO3, SrTiO3, LaMnO33)
- Electronic structure of oxide semiconductors and in particular, transparent conducting oxides (TCO's - CdO, ZnO, SnO2, Ga2O3 and In2O3)
- Surface and interface electronic structure of III-nitride semiconductor materials (e.g. InN, InGaN & InAlN)
- In-situ studies using variable temperature STM-AFM & XPS of epitaxial oxides grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE)
Please contact Professor McConville's Executive Assistant, Pauline Tchung to make an appointment.
PhD projects available from late 2017
"Electronic structure of transparent conducting oxides" using photoemission spectroscopy at RMIT and at the Australian synchrotron, on samples grown both at RMIT and at collaborating laboratories from around the world.
"Growth and characterisation of perovskite based complex oxides" the aim of the project will be to investigate the surface and interface properties of novel oxide materials and artificial oxide heterostructures using in-situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM).
CFM Research Group
Professor McConville’s research group uses electron spectroscopy (high resolution XPS and angle-resolved UV photoelectron spectroscopy (ARPES) to probe the near-surface structure and electronic properties of semiconducting materials and has developed semi-classical dielectric theory and charge profile calculations to analyse data from these materials.
Since 2004 he has established a world-leading research program to investigate the surface and interface properties of indium nitride (InN) and obtained the first direct evidence of electron accumulation at an InN(0001) surface grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE).
In addition, his group has shown using angle-resolved photoemission (ARPES) that these surface electrons exist in quantized sub-bands.
Also when InN is combined with GaN it is now possible to tune the band-gap of InGaN alloys to reproduce any frequency of light emission across the entire visible spectrum - the first time this has been achievable in a single materials system.
Since 2010 the group has been investigating the properties of transparent (semiconducting) oxide materials (TCO's - such as CdO, ZnO, SnO2 and In2O3) - all of which exhibit a range of interesting electronic structure and properties.
This work is possible because of the improvement in the epitaxial growth quality of these oxide materials as single crystal thin films.
The group is currently expanding the area of research investigating both binary and complex perovskite oxide surfaces and interfaces grown in-situ.
The overall aim of the research is to further the understanding of the physical, electronic and transport properties of epitaxially grown semiconducting materials for applications in a broad range of novel device structures.
Research Group news
Two papers have been published in Nature Scientific Reports.
"Surface Passivation of Semiconducting Oxides by Self-Assembled Nanoparticles", D.S. Park, H. Wamg, S.K. Vasheghani-Farahani, M. Walker, A. Bhatnagar, D. Seghier, C-J Choi, J-H Kang and C.F. McConville, Nature Scientific Reports, 6 (2016) 18449. DOI: 10.1038/srep18449
"Structural, Optical and Vibrational Properties of Self-Assembled Pbn+1(Ti1-xFex)nO3n+1 Ruddlesden-Popper Superstructures", K.I. Doig, J.J.P. Peters, S. Nawaz, D. Walker, M. Walker, M.R. Lees, R. Beanland, A.M. Sanchez, C.F. McConville, V.R. Palkar and J. Lloyd-Hughes, Nature Scientific Reports, 5 (2015) 7719. DOI: 10.1038/srep07719
In December 2015 Professor McConville completed his five year appointment Director of the Birmingham and Warwick Science City Research Alliance (SCRA) - a post he had held since 2011.
In March 2014 he was interviewed by the BBC for the regional news programme "Midlands Today" to discuss the impact of the Science City Research Alliance (SCRA) working to provide regional companies and industry with access to the latest state-of-the-art equipment and facilities at the Universities of Warwick and Birmingham. The whole interview can be viewed on YouTube.
In July 2013 he accepted an invitation to join the Editorial Board of Applied Surface Science. With over 10,000 manuscript submissions per year, Applied Surface Science (APSUSC) is now the largest journal in the Elsevier publishing house, of over 2000 journals. APSUSC now has an impact factor > 2.7 (from July 2015).
The group's work from the Diamond Light Source using synchrotron radiation photoelectron spectroscopy - both soft VUV and hard X-ray photoemission, was published in two Physical Review B. papers - both by J.J. Mudd et al. "Valence-Band Orbital Character of CdO: Synchrotron-Radiation Photoemission Spectroscopy and Density Functional Theory", Phys. Rev. B. 89 (2014) 165305; and "Hard X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy as a Probe of the Intrinsic Electronic Properties of CdO", Phys. Rev. B. 89 (2014) 035203.
A new area of research looking at wide band-gap ternary oxides is proving a very fruitful area of research, with two recent papers having just been published, both by Dae-Sung Park et al, "Optimal Growth and Thermal Stability in Crystalline BexZn1-xO Alloys Grown on Al2O3(0001)", Appl. Phys. Lett. 104 (2014) 141902; and "Pinning Effect on the Band-Gap Modulation of Crystalline BexZn1-xO Thin Films Grown on Al2O3(0001)", CrystEngComm, 16 (2014) 2136.
The group’s work on Transparent Conducting Oxide surfaces (TCO's) has also been published in Applied Physics Letters and Physical Review B. both by S.K.V. Farahani et al. "Temperature Dependence of the Direct Bandgap and Transport Properties of CdO", Appl. Phys. Lett. 102 (2013) 022102; and "Influence of Charged-dislocation Density Variations on Carrier Mobility in Heteroepitaxial Semiconductors: The Case of SnO2 on Sapphire", Phys. Rev. B. 86 (2013) 245315.
In 2013 a collaboration between Physics and Engineering departments at the University of Warwick resulted in a £1.61M award from EPSRC to establish a new SiC CVD growth facility as part of the UK initiative in Power Electronics. The new SiC CVD Reactor was delivered by LPE (Milan), and installed in the Department of Physics in October 2013. Growth commenced in 2014.
The group’s most recent work on InN was published in Physical Review Letters and Journal of Applied Physics, both papers by W.M. Linhart, et al. "Giant Reduction of InN Surface Electron Accumulation: Compensation of Surface Donors by Mg Dopants", Phys. Rev. Lett. 109 (2012) 247605; and "Sulpur Passivation of Surface Electrons in Highly Mg-doped InN", J. Appl. Phys. 114 (2013) 103702.
Dr Sean McMitchell (PLD) and Dr Olek Krupski (STM & ARPES) both joined the group as Senior Research Fellows in July 2012.
Professor McConville was appointed Director of the Birmingham and Warwick Science City Research Alliance (SCRA) with effect from 1st November 2011. The post will ran until the end of January 2016.
In 2010 the his research group benefitted from £1.52M of capital investment funding for new equipment from Advantage West Midlands (AWM) and the European Research and Development Fund (ERDF), under the Science Cities initiative, and they purchased two completely new UHV growth and surface analysis systems.
The first was a combined PLD facility with in-situ high pressure RHEED, XPS and variable temperature STM/AFM capability, and the second was a state-of-the-art ultra-high resolution electron spectroscopy system combining monochromatic XPS with monochromatic UV angle-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy (ARPES).
In 2009 Tim Veal, Bill Schaff and Professor McConville edited and published the first comprehensive book on InN and its related alloys InGaN and InAlN, since it was accepted that the band-gap of InN is 0.65 eV rather than the previously accepted value of 1.9 eV. "InN and Related Alloys", CRC Press, Taylor & Francis (ISBN: 978-1-4200-7809-1).
In early 2009 CFM was interviewed to discuss the application of nitride semiconductor materials and their potential impact as high efficiency solar cells. This interview is now available as a podcast.
Over the years Professor McConville has had a number of fruitful interdisciplinary collaborations with groups in the UK and internationally.
In the UK his group has strong links with Liverpool (Dr. Tim Veal) on the optical properties of semiconducting oxides and nitrides, and with St. Andrews (Dr. Philip King) on electronic structure determined by ARPES.
Internationally his group collaborates with research groups growing both III-nitrides and binary oxides by MBE and MOVPE, including the groups at: Ritsumiekin University, Japan and Seoul National University, Korea (Prof. Y. Nanishi), University of Western Michigan, USA (Prof. S.M. Durbin), UC Santa Barbara, USA (Prof. J.S. Speck), CNRS, Valbonne, France (Dr. J. Zuniga-Perez), and University of Valencia, Spain (Prof. V. Munoz-Sanjose).
All these groups have supplied either InN, InAlN and InGaN samples, or CdO, In2O3 and ZnO samples for electron and optical spectroscopy experiments based at the University of Warwick.
His group also collaborates with the University of Aarhus, Denmark (Prof. Phillip Hofmann) to use the ASTRID synchrotron radiation source for UV photoemission studies, and with the theoretical physics groups at the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany (Prof. F. Bechstedt) and UC Santa Barbara, USA (Prof. C.G. van der Walle), who perform band structure calculations using density functional theory.
Overall he has published papers on many aspects of semiconductor surfaces, interface formation and epitaxial growth as the author and co-author of more than 250 publications in international refereed journals which have attracted over 6,500 citations (h-index 44 - Web of Science or h-index 51 - Google Scholar) as well as publishing three book chapters. (To see the full list of publications please refer to Web of Science or Google Scholar and search McConville CF)
- SnTe Microcrystals: Surface Cleaning of a Topological Crystalline Insulator, M. Saghir, M. Walker, C.F. McConville, & G. Balakrishnan, Appl. Phys. Lett. 108 (2016) 061602.
- Surface Passivation of Semiconducting Oxides by Self-Assembled Nanoparticles, D.S. Park, H. Wamg, S.K. Vasheghani-Farahani, M. Walker, A. Bhatnagar, D. Seghier, C-J Choi, J-H Kang and C.F. McConville, Nature Scientific Reports, 6 (2016) 18449.
- Structural, Optical and Vibrational Properties of Self-Assembled Pbn+1(Ti1-xFex)nO3n+1 Ruddlesden-Popper Superstructures, K.I. Doig, J.J.P. Peters, S. Nawaz, D. Walker, M. Walker, M.R. Lees, R. Beanland, A.M. Sanchez, C.F. McConville, V.R. Palkar & J. Lloyd-Hughes, Nature Scientific Reports, 5 (2015) 7719.
- Recystallization of Highly-Mismatched BexZn1-xO Alloys: Formation of a Degenerate Interface, Dae-Sung Park, S.K. Vasheghani Farahani , M. Walker, J.J. Mudd, A. Krupski, E.B. Thorsteinsson, D. Seghier, Chel- Jong Choi, Chang-Ju Youn, & C.F. McConville, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 6 (2014) 18758.
- Valence-Band Orbital Character of CdO: Synchrotron-Radiation Photoemission Spectroscopy and Density Functional Theory, J.J. Mudd, Tien-Lin Lee, V. Muñoz-Sanjosé, J. Zuñiga-Pérez, D.J. Payne, R.G. Egdell & C.F. McConville, Phys. Rev. B. 89 (2014) 165305.
- Hard X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy as a Probe of the Intrinsic Electronic Properties of CdO, J.J. Mudd, Tien-Lin Lee, V. Muñoz-Sanjosé, J. Zuñiga-Pérez, J.M. Kahk, D.J. Payne, R.G. Egdell and C.F. McConville Phys. Rev. B. 89 (2014) 035203.
- Giant Reduction of InN Surface Electron Accumulation: Compensation of Surface Donors by Mg Dopants, W.M. Linhart, J. Chai, R.J.H. Morris, M.G. Dowesett, C.F. McConville, S.M. Durbin & T.D. Veal, Phys. Rev. Lett. 109 (2012) 247605.
- Electron Mobility in CdO Films, S. Vasheghani Farahani, T. D. Veal, P. D. C. King, J. Zuñiga-Pérez, V. Muñoz-Sanjosé & C.F. McConville, J. Appl. Phys. 109 (2011) 073712.
- Polarity Effects in the Soft-X-ray Photoemission of ZnO, M. Allen, D. Zemlyanovy, G.I.N. Waterhouse, J.B. Metson, T.D. Veal, C.F. McConville & S.M. Durbin, Appl. Phys. Lett. 98 (2011) 101906.
- Surface Band-Gap Narrowing in Quantized Electron Accumulation Layers, P.D.C. King, T.D. Veal, C.F. McConville, A. Schleife, J. Zuňiga-Pérez, V. Muňoz-Sanjosé, M. Hopkinson, E.D.L. Rienks, M. Fuglsang & Ph. Hofmann, Phys. Rev. Lett. 104 (2010) 256803.
- Surface, Bulk and Interface Electronic Properties of Non-Polar InN, W.M. Linhart, T.D. Veal, P.D.C. King, G. Koblmüller, C.S. Gallinat, J.S. Speck & C.F. McConville, Appl. Phys. Lett. 97 (2010) 112103.
- Unification of the Electrical Behaviour of Defects, Impurities and Surface States in Semiconductors: Virtual Gap States in CdO, P.D.C. King, P.H. Jefferson, J. Zuňiga-Pérez, V. Muňoz-Sanjosé & C.F. McConville, Phys. Rev. B, 79 (2009) 035203.
- Surface Electron Accumulation and the Charge Neutrality Level in In2O3, P.D.C. King, T.D. Veal, D.J. Payne, A. Bourlange, R.G. Egdell & C.F. McConville, Phys. Rev. Lett. 101 (2008) 116808.
- Unintentional Conductivity of Indium Nitride: Transport Modelling and Microscopic Origins, P.D.C. King, T.D. Veal and C.F. McConville, J. Phys.: Cond. Matt. 21 (2009) 174.
- Band-gap and Effective Mass Determination of Epitaxial CdO, P.H. Jefferson , T.D. Veal, S.A. Hatfield, P.D.C. King, C.F. McConville, J. Zuňiga-Pérez & V. Muňoz-Sanjosé, Appl. Phys. Lett. 92 (2008) 022101.
- Coupled Poisson-Schrödinger Solutions for Quantized Electron Accumulation Layers: Band Bending, Charge and Subbands at InN Surfaces, P.D.C. King, T.D. Veal & C.F. McConville, Phys. Rev. B 77 (2008) 125305.
- Determination of the Branch Point Energy of InN: Chemical Trends in Common Cation and Common-Anion Semiconductors, P.D.C. King, T.D. Veal, P.H. Jefferson, S.A. Hatfield, L.F.J. Piper, J. Furthmuller, F. Bechstedt, W. J. Schaff & C.F. McConville, Phys. Rev. B 77 (2008) 045316.
- Indium Adlayers on c-Plane InN Surfaces: A Polarity Dependent Study by X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, T.D. Veal, P.D.C. King, P.H. Jefferson, C.F. McConville, Hai Lu, W.J. Schaff, P.A. Anderson, S.M. Durbin, D. Muto, H. Naoi & Y. Nanishi, Phys. Rev. B 76 (2007) 075313.
- Universality of Electron Accumulation at Wurtzite, c- and a-Plane and Zinc-blende InN Surfaces, P.D.C. King, T.D. Veal, P.H. Jefferson, L.F.J. Piper, C.F. McConville, P. Schley, R. Goldhahn, D.J. As, K. Lischka, D. Muto, H. Naoi, Y. Nanishi, Hai Lu & W. J. Schaff, Applied Physics Letters 91 (2007) 092101.
- Quantized Electron Accumulation States in Indium Nitride studies by Angle-Resolved Photoemission Spectrocopy, L. Colakerol, T.D. Veal, et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 97 (2006) 237601.
- Intrinsic Electron Accumulation at clean InN Surfaces, I. Mahboob, T.D. Veal, C.F. McConville, H. Lu & W.J. Schaff, Phys. Rev. Lett. 92 (2004) 036804.
- Negative Band Gaps in Dilute InNSb Alloys, T.D. Veal, I. Mahboob & C.F. McConville, Phys. Rev. Lett. 92 (2004) 136801.