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Photo of Dr David  Horsell

Dr David Horsell

Senior Lecturer


Telephone: 01392 726665 or (Lab) 01392 724084

Extension: (Streatham) 6665 or (Streatham - Lab) 4084

My Research

I am an experimental physicist specialising in studies of electrical conduction in nanostructures. Since 2006, my research has focused on charge carrier scattering processes in graphene. These processes are investigated through measurements of quantum interference effects such as universal conductance fluctuations and the weak localisation correction to the classical conductance.

My group was the first to experimentally distinguish the two elastic scattering mechanisms in monolayer [Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 056802 (2008)] and bilayer [Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 176805 (2007)] graphene responsible for the unusual quantum interference of its charge carriers. We also demonstrated how conductance fluctuations can be used for carrier thermometry [Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 066801 (2009)], and the origin of the unexpectedly short spin lifetime in graphene [Phys. Rev. B 86, 045436 (2012)]. The former is important for graphene-based devices as we have shown that electrons are easily overheated when driven through the crystal [Phys. Rev. B 83, 121404(R) (2011); Phys. Rev. B 85, 161411(R) (2012)]; the latter has implications for spintronic applications.

My group has worked on the electrical sensitivity to binding of chemicals to the surface of graphene, including toluene and other aromatic molecules [Carbon 49, 3829 (2011); Tetrahedron 71, 6776 (2015)], water [Phys. Rev. B 85, 075435 (2012)] and oxygen [Phys. Rev. B 90, 081401 (2014)]. We have also investigated ways to scale up graphene production, including direct binding on metals from solution [PCCP 18, 5086 (2016)]. Recently, we have been working on controllable sound generation and mixing in graphene [Sci. Rep. 7, 1363 (2017)], which includes possible new routes to explore graphene's electrical sensitivity to its environment.

Although our work is predominantly fundamental in nature, it has direct links to applications such as biosensing. This has resulted in collaborations with several industrial partners. To date, our work has led to three UK patents.

I am a member of the Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials Group. For further information about my research, please visit Horsell lab.

My Teaching

I teach both on the Physics and Natural Sciences degree programmes.

  • PHY1021: Vector Mechanics
  • NSC1004: Experimental Science (Physics Laboratories)
  • NSC2001: Frontiers in Science 2

I also run several Natural Sciences and Physics Masters level project in my laboratories each year.

Education and Employment

  • 2014 -        Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter
  • 2009 - 2014 Lecturer in Physics, University of Exeter
  • 2004 - 2009 Research Fellow, University of Exeter
  • 2000 - 2004 PhD in Physics, University of Exeter
  • 1996 - 2000 MPhys in Physics, University of Exeter

Externally Funded Research Projects

  • 'Novel Hull coating to Reduce Friction and Fouling', TSB, £104k, 1/11/2013-30/4/2015 (PI)
  • 'New manufacturable approaches to the deposition and patterning of graphene materials', EPSRC, £1.13M, 1/1/2013-31/12/2015 (CI)
  • 'The effects of interactions at the graphene-liquid interface', Royal Society Research Grant 2011R2, £14k, 1/4/2012-31/3/2013 (PI)

Invited Presentations

  • UK-Japan Graphene Workshop 2011, Lancaster
  • NorPRINS Workshop 2010, Oslo
  • GK Workshop 2008, Regensburg

Contributions to the Community

  • Member of IoP South West Committee (2012-2014)


  • Academic Organiser of PUPC
  • General public lectures (Bath GULP, IoP Merseyside Branch, Portsmouth and District Physical Society)
  • Low temperature physics talks and demonstrations for National Science Week (2011-2013)


  • Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society