Dr Ian Farrer

Staff Photo

Contact Details


Tel: +44 (0)114 22 25860

ORCID: 0000-0002-3033-4306

Google Scholar: tinyurl.com/if10004


  • PhD (Physics), University of Cambridge 2001
  • MSci (Experimental and Theoretical Physics), University of Cambridge 1997

Research Activities

  • Self-assembled quantum dots and site controlled growth
  • Epitaxy of ultra-pure materials
  • Optical monitoring techniques during epitaxy
  • II-IV Nitride materials
  • Molecular Beam Epitaxy of 2D materials
  • Epitaxy of dissimilar materials by Van der Waals epitaxy or Interfacial Misfit Dislocations


  • Senior Lecturer in Semiconductor Epitaxy and Materials
  • Teaching: EEE6212 Semiconductor Materials
  • Departmental Plagiarism Officer
  • Pump Priming Scheme Coordinator for the EPSRC National Epitaxy Facility
  • Organiser of the annual UK Molecular Beam Epitaxy Meeting

After obtaining an MSci degree in Physics at the University of Cambridge I went on to pursue a PhD in the “Growth and Applications of Self Assembled Quantum Dots” in the Semiconductor Physics Group of Prof David Ritchie in the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge. During this time I explored the use of Molecular Beam Epitaxy for the growth of semiconductor materials both for optical and electronic properties with particular highlights being the use of transistor devices containing layers of Quantum Dots as optical memories and later as single photon detectors.

After completing my PhD studies I continued in the same research group but now additionally working on the growth of GaAs/AlGaAs ultra-high mobility materials which are of fundamental importance to the study of electron-electron interactions at low temperatures. These ultra-pure materials are also a key building block in one of the schemes proposed for quantum computation.

Self assembled quantum dots also have application in quantum cryptography and this is where a large part of my focus in the latter half of my time in Cambridge. In particular leading the growth programme in a long and successful collaboration with Toshiba Research Europe. This work looked at using quantum dots in single photon detector and emitter applications and resulted in the creation of the world’s first electrically driven entangled photon LED and subsequent demonstrations of quantum teleportation.

I moved to Sheffield in 2015 and have continued to work on high purity materials and quantum dot growth with a new focus on site controlled quantum dot growth which will be further enabled with the arrival of the Epitaxy Cluster Tool from DCA Instruments, Finland which is due for installation in June 2018. My work also involves the growth of novel materials such as Zinc Nitride and Transition Metal Di-chalcogenides.

In addition my work also involves the study of growth processes via optical monitoring techniques including both reflectivity and band edge thermometry and I have extensive experience in X-ray Diffraction and Reflectivity techniques for analysing a wide range of thin film materials grown by many techniques.

I have published over 370 papers and have an h-index of 45 and am the organiser of the annual UK Molecular Beam Epitaxy meeting which offers an opportunity for researchers and industry to share experiences and research updates with the community.

Research Projects


Completed Projects


Research Students