• Room LG.022 - New Physics

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the field of: -Computational materials science (Monte Carlo, quantum chemistry, multi scale methods) -Graphene and 2D materials -Electronic, optical and transport properties of energy materials -Catalysis and chemical reactions -Machine learning and materials informatics


Research output per year

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Personal profile


Dr Elton Santos was educated at Harvard University and Stanford University where he was an advanced graduate student and postdoc. He obtained his initial training in materials science with honour from the Danish Technical University and the University of the Basque Country where he received a European M.Sc. (2008) and a European Ph.D. (2011) in nanoscience and theoretical condensed matter physics, respectively. 

He was awarded the highly prestigious and competitive SEAS Fellowship from the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University to perform postdoctoral research in computational materials science in energy and functional materials. In particular, he had focused on four main areas:  i) method development for the real-time simulation of electron-hole dynamics in energy materials; ii) the simulation of dielectric and optical response properties of vdW compounds, and iii) new ways to control magnetic order using no magnetic-field means. His research at Harvard has been awarded three different prizes from the American Physical Society (APS), which include the 2012, and 2013 APS March Meeting Image Gallery Awards, and the 2013 APS March Meeting Cover Award. The latter has appeared worldwide in the promotion of the APS 2013 March Meeting in Baltimore, MD. 

He moved to Stanford University in 2013 to be named SunCat Research Fellow at the Department of Chemical Engineering and SLAC National Laboratory.  The focus of his research at Stanford had been on i) the study of photocatalysis and photoreaction using in-silico search for new catalysts and energy materials; ii) modeling of graphene growth experiments in collaboration with Honda Research Laboratories; and iii) investigation of heterointerfaces based on organic and inorganic semiconductors for device and electronic applications. He was awarded the 2014 Interfolio Scholar Gallery Prize from Interfolio Inc., and the 2015 Stanford MRS Gallery for his multiscale simulations on the interplay between defects and strain on energy materials. Dr. Santos is part of the editorial board of Graphene journal. 

He was appointed as a Lecturer at the School of Maths and Physics in 2015 at Queen's University. At Queen's, he is a group leader on energy materials with focus on method development, multi-scale approaches, magnetism and nanoelectronics. He leads a research group with 6 PhD students, 2 MSc students and 1 postdoc funded externaly by research councils from UK (EPSRC, DfE), EU (Marie-Currie-COFUND) and USA (NSF). He was elected a Queen's Fellow in 2015. Further details are on our research group website.



Research Interests

Dr. Santos' research interests span a range of topics in the physics and chemistry of solids and molecules and the use and development of first-principles simulations to address problems such as: the electronic and optical properties of crystalline materials and their dependence on the atomic structure, chemical composition and applied external driving forces (e.g. strain, electric fields, temperature, etc.); nano magnetism and spin ordering; the nature of electronic states, dielectric properties and epitaxial relationships of 2D-nanomaterials, in particular studying the interactions between organic crystals and heterostructures. Recent applications of the computational models that he developed focus on discovering new materials and processes for solar energy conversion, 2D crystals, vdW junctions, and strongly correlated systems. 

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Research Output

Scalable photonic sources using two-dimensional lead halide perovskite superlattices

Jagielski, J., Solari, S. F., Jordan, L., Scullion, D., Blülle, B., Li, Y-T., Krumeich, F., Chiu, Y-C., Ruhstaller, B., Santos, E. J. G. & Shih, C-J., 20 Jan 2020, In : Nature Communications. 11, 1, p. 387

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 3 Downloads (Pure)

    Strong coupling of carbon quantum dots in plasmonic nanocavities

    Katzen, J., Tserkezis, C., Cai, Q., Li, L. H., Kim, J., Lee, G., Yi, G-R., Hendren, W. R., Santos, E. J. G., Bowman, R. M. & Huang, F., 15 Apr 2020, In : ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Approaching the Intrinsic Limit in Transition Metal Diselenides via Point Defect Control

    Edelberg, D., Rhodes, D., Kerelsky, A., Kim, B., Wang, J., Zangiabadi, A., Kim, C., Abhinandan, A., Ardelean, J., Scullion, D., Embon, L., Zu, R., Santos, E. J. G., Balicas, L., Marianetti, C., Barmak, K., Zhu, X., Hone, J. & Pasupathy, A. N., 05 Jun 2019, In : Nano Letters.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 11 Citations (Scopus)

    Criticality, anisotropy and dimensionality in the van der Waals ferromagnet CrI3

    Navarro-Moratalla, E., Augustin, M., Abdul Wahab, D., Vera Marun, I., Novoselov, K., Evans, R. F. L. & Santos, E. J. G., 2019, In : APS March Meeting 2019. 64, 2

    Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract

  • Electronic polarizability as the fundamental variable in the dielectric properties of two-dimensional materials

    Tian, T., Scullion, D., Hughes, D., Hua Li, L., Shih, C-J., Coleman, J., Chhowalla, M. & Santos, E. J. G., 30 Dec 2019, In : Nano Letters. 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Activities

    • 1 Oral presentation

    Nanopolaritons of single graphene quantum dots

    Fumin Huang (Speaker), , Joel Katzen (Contributor), , Christos Tserkezis (Contributor), , Qiran Cai (Contributor), , Lu Hua Li (Contributor), , Jun Min Kim (Contributor), , Gaehang Lee (Contributor), , Gi-Ra Yi (Contributor), , William Hendren (Contributor), , Elton Santos (Contributor), & Robert Bowman (Contributor)

    24 Sep 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


    Computational Study of Two-Dimensional Materials for Energy Applications

    Author: Scullion, D., Dec 2019

    Supervisor: Kohanoff, J. (Supervisor) & Santos, E. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy