Derek Oliver

This user account status is Approved
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Infrared and Optical Spectroscopy, Photonics, High Voltage Engineering, Micro- Nano- Electronic Materials and Devices, Materials Science and Engineering, New Materials and Manufacturing Technologies
water splitting (artificial photosynthesis) for hydrogen production, ageing assessment of HV insulators, scanning probe microscopy, nanoscale and molecular electronics, photonics
Master Student position, PhD Student position

Prospective students with a strong background in and motivation towards interdisciplinary research are encouraged to apply. Students will be expected to demonstrate their initiative and skills by taking ownership of their own research project.

I am currently pursuing two themes:

Material systems for water splitting
One approach to solar energy harvesting involves splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen gasses and storing the evolved hydrogen for later use as an energy source. We are collaborating with colleagues in Chemistry and the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) in pursuit of a proof-of-concept system that will be fabricated from earth-abundant materials. The proposed device includes silicon microrods that will absorb the sunlight and provide surfaces for gas evolution and a conductive polymer membrane that holds the microrods in place and separates the half-cells for oxygen and hydrogen evolution. Our focus is the junction between the polymer membrane and the micro-rods and, in particular, the electronic character of this interface. Past students have pioneered contact techniques to make electrical measurements at these junctions. We are developing this expertise to look at additional uses for the microrods grown for this project.

Ageing assessment for insulation materials
Over the last two decades a variety of claims have been made asserting the improved performance (time to failure, breakdown voltage, suppression of typical failure mechanisms) of insulation materials containing nanoparticles. In collaboration with the local power utility, we are developing tools to enhance our understanding how these materials actually achieve these performance metrics and whether these claims are justifiable. This work includes consideration of how to systematically evaluate and understand the “health” of existing insulation infrastructure. This work is complemented by collaboration with colleagues and the facilities of the newly-renovated Stanley Pauley Centre. Students in this research group bring expertise in materials characterization to an interdisciplinary effort that includes traditional approaches to HV research and novel optical techniques.

Representative selection:
Fabrication of an interdigitated sample holder for dielectric spectroscopy of thin films, M. Shenouda and D.R. Oliver, Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 619 (2015) 012028.
Piezoresistive Characterization of Bottom-up, n-type Silicon Microwires Undergoing Bend Deformation, M.M. McClarty, J.P. Bruce, M.S. Freund and D.R. Oliver, Applied Physics Letters 106 (2015) 022107.
Measurement of the Electrical Resistance of n-type Si Microwire/p-type Conducting Polymer Junctions for Use in Artificial Photosynthesis, J.P. Bruce, S. Asgari, S. Ardo, N.S. Lewis, D.R. Oliver and M.S. Freund, Journal of Physical Chemistry C 118(48) (2014) pp. 27742-27748.
Comparison Between the Electrical Junction Properties of H-terminated and Methyl-terminated Individual Si Microwire/Polymer Assemblies for Photoelectrochemical Fuel Production, I. Yahyaie, S. Ardo, D.R. Oliver, D.J. Thomson, M.S. Freund and N.S. Lewis, Energy & Environmental Science, 5 (2012) pp. 9789-9794.
High resolution imaging of the GHz polarization response arising from the interference of reflected surface acoustic waves, I. Yahyaie, D.A. Buchanan, G.E. Bridges, D.J. Thomson and D.R. Oliver, IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, 59(6) (2012) pp. 1212 - 1218.
Characterization of the Electrical Properties of Individual p-Si Microwire/Polymer/n-Si Microwire Assemblies, I. Yahyaie, K. McEleney, M. Walter, D.R. Oliver, D.J. Thomson, M.S. Freund, N.S. Lewis, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 115(50) (2011) pp. 24945–24950.
A liquid crystal-based dynamically tunable photonic bandgap structure, D.E. Schaub and D.R. Oliver, Journal of Applied Physics 110(8) (2011) 084502.
A circular patch resonator for the measurement of microwave permittivity of nematic liquid crystals, D.E. Schaub and D.R. Oliver, IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, 59(7) (2011) pp.1855-1862
Electrical Characterization of Si Microwires and of Si Microwire/Conducting Polymer Composite Junctions, I. Yahyaie, K. McEleney, M. Walter, D.R. Oliver, D.J. Thomson, M.S. Freund, N.S. Lewis, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 2(6) (2011) pp.675–680.
A Spectral Transmission-Line Method for Computing Band Diagrams and Eigenmodes of Photonic Crystals, D.E. Schaub and D.R. Oliver, IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques 57(3) (2009) pp. 627-636.
Rapid Simulation of Linear PBG Microstrip Structures using the Rayleigh Multipole Method, D.E. Schaub and D.R. Oliver, IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques 56(1) (2008) pp.49-55.
Micro-electromechanical resonator characterization using non-contact parametric electrostatic excitation and probing, K.M. Cheng, Z. Weng, D.R. Oliver, D.J. Thomson and G.E. Bridges, IEEE/ASME Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems 16(5) (2007) pp.1054-1060.

Current Students