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Robert E Simpson

Associate Professor

Telephone: +65 6499 4519
Room Number: 3.401.11
Research Areas:
Material Science, Quantum Physics, Optics, Photonics, Optical Metrology, Advanced Materials, Artificial Intelligence, Sensors, Big Data, BioMedtech, Biosensors, Data Storage, Edge intelligence and computing, Engineering Design, Machine Learning, Nano-Photonics, Optics, Photonics, Semiconductor, Silicon Photonics, Electronics Engineering


Robert E Simpson is an Associate Professor at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and co-director of the Masters in Innovation by Design Program. Robert also runs the Advanced Chalcogenides Technologies and Applications Lab. Rob’s research interests are focused on designing new materials for applications in electronics, photonics, data storage, and biosensing. Prior to joining SUTD Rob received his PhD from from the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton, spent 3.5 years at the Japanese national institute for Applied Industrial Science and technology (AIST) as a JSPS postdoctoral fellow, and one year at the Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques (ICFO), Barcelona. Rob’s research has been awarded a number of prizes including the Westminster medal and the AIST best paper award.


  • PhD from the Optoelectronics Research Center, University of Southampton, UK (2003-2007)
  • MPhys (Master of Physics) degree from the University of Bath, UK, (1998-2002)

Awards and Honors

  • 2018 Best Poster, Photonics@SG, Weiling Dong.
  • 2018 Institute of Physics, Nano Futures Editors 2017 Highlight
  • 2017 Nominee for Poster Prize, MRS Spring Meeting, Weiling Dong
  • 2017 MRS Poster Prize, MRS Spring Meeting, Xilin Zhou.
  • 2014 Best Academic paper from the Japanese National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
  • 2012 Academic poster nominated for Materials Research Symposium prize
  • 2011 Marie Curie COFUND Fellowship
  • 2008 Best Academic Paper (co-author)  at the Optical Data Storage Conference
  • 2008 Japanese Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2007 IET Electronics Letters, Letter of the Month
  • 2006 Japanese Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) Summer Scholarship
  • 2005 Westminster Medal

Research Interests

  • Materials Design
    • High Throughput Methods
    • Nano engineering
    • Strain Engineering
    • Advanced computational materials design methods
  • Programmable materials
  • Photonics and optics
  • Data storage materials
  • Sensors and Sensing Materials

Current Research Projects

  • Inverse design of radiation-tough high entropy alloys
    • Use high throughput methods to design and optimise metal alloys for future nuclear fusion reactors
  • Van der Waals Memory
    • Design low-energy switching materials for next-generation data storage devices
  • Nanoscale Plasmonic Thermoelectric Devices
    • Design of materials for improved photodetectors
  • Adaptive GHz Devices
    • Aim: Design reconfigurable RF components adaptable RF communication systems
  • A novel ear impression imaging technique with Artificial Intelligence for predictive modelling
    • Aim: Design a contactless system for fitting hearing aids
  • Nanoantenna Spatial Light Modulators for Next-Gen Display Technologies
    • Aim: Design holographic display and beam-steering metamaterial


Courses Taught

  • 2021-2021, Technological World, 1st year undergraduate course.
  • 2020–2021, Structures and Materials, 2nd year undergraduate course.
  • 2020–2021, Computational Science and Engineering, graduate course.
  • 2020-2020, Capstone Industrial Project Advisor, 3rd year undergraduate project course.
  • 2014–2019, Research Methods, graduate course.
  • 2012–2020, Physics 2: Electricity and Magnetism, 1st year undergraduate course.
  • 2013–2013, Engineering in the Physical World, 1st year undergraduate course.

Representative Journal Publications

A complete list of publications can be found here.

  • H. Liu, W. Dong, H. Wang, L. Lu, Q. Ruan, Y. S. Tan, R. E. Simpson, J. K. W. Yang; Rewritable Color Nano-Prints in Antimony Trisulphide Films, Science Advances 6 (51), eabb7171, 2020
  • KV Sreekanth, Q Ouyang, S Sreejith, S Zeng, W Lishu, E Ilker, W Dong, M ElKabbash, Y Ting, CT Lim, M Hinczewski, G Strangi, K-T Yong, RE Simpson, R Singh; Advanced Optical Materials, 7(12), 2019
  • W Dong, H Liu, JK Behera, L Lu, RJH Ng, KV Sreekanth, X Zhou, RE. Simpson; Wide bandgap phase change material tuned visible photonics; Advanced Functional Materials 29 (6), 1806181, 2019
  • W. Dong, Y. Qiu, X. Zhou, A. Banas, K. Banas, M.B.H. Breese, T. Cao, RE Simpson; Tunable mid-infrared phase-change metasurface, Advanced Optical Materials, 6(14) 1701346, 2018
  • X Zhou, J Kalikka, X Ji, L Wu, Z Song, RE Simpson; Phase-Change Memory Materials by Design: A Strain Engineering Approach, Advanced Materials, 28 (15), 3007-3016, 2016
  • J Kalikka, X Zhou, E Dilcher, S Wall, J Li, RE Simpson; Strain-engineered diffusive atomic switching in two-dimensional crystals, Nature communications, 7 (1), 1-8, 2016
  • L Waldecker, TA Miller, M Rudé, R Bertoni, J Osmond, V Pruneri, RE Simpson, S Wall; Time-domain separation of optical properties from structural transitions in resonantly bonded materials, Nature Materials, 14 (10), 991-995, 2015
  • RE Simpson, P Fons, AV Kolobov, T Fukaya, M Krbal, T Yagi, J Tominaga; Interfacial phase-change memory, Nature Nanotechnology, 6 (8), 501-505, 2011
  • RE Simpson, P Fons, AV Kolobov, M Krbal, J Tominaga; Enhanced crystallization of GeTe from an Sb2Te3 template, Applied Physics Letters, 100 (2) 021911, 2012
  • RE Simpson, M Krbal, P Fons, AV Kolobov, J Tominaga, T Uruga, H Tanida; Toward the Ultimate Limit of Phase Change in Ge2Sb2Te5, Nano Letters, 10(2), 414-419, 2010
PhD Scholarships

Fully funded PhD Scholarships are available 

The projects will involve applied and theoretical research into materials for nano-photonics and nano electronics.

Please email for more information.