Katrina is a researcher at the University of Southampton, developing novel, next-generation materials for a variety of photonic and electronic devices, spanning the medical, defence, consumer electronics and quantum fields. With over a decade experience in world-class cleanrooms, Katrina has used her expertise in thin films and two-dimensional materials to create photonic crystals, biosensors, transistors, thermoelectric generators, solar cells, batteries and computer memories. Katrina has worked alongside industry for her entire career, and most recently lead the University of Southampton in the 4 million Euro Smart2Go project, integrating flexible thermoelectric generators as energy harvesters into an autonomous energy platform, resulting in a light-up Helly Hansen safety jacket.
Katrina has an inquisitive mind of understanding the wider impacts of science, integrating herself amongst politicians, learned societies and royalty. Katrina presented her research at the Houses of Parliament, represented her University at Buckingham Palace and represented The Royal Society at the Voice of the Future in Parliament, as a mock select-committee panel member. Katrina was also selected to take part in The Royal Society Pairing Scheme in Westminster, where she debated how science influences policies with MPs, civil servants and government advisors. Katrina now sits as an elected senator at the University of Southampton.
Katrina’s passion for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion has flourished throughout her career, setting up and leading her department’s first Early Career Researcher Forum, Chairing her University’s Women in STEM+ committee, and sitting on two department’s Athena SWAN committees.
During Katrina’s MPhys (hons) degree at the University of Sussex, Katrina spent a great deal of time sailing along the south coast with the University Royal Naval Unit, alongside Southampton’s ship. During this time, she discovered Southampton’s new shiny cleanrooms and sought out a summer placement where she fell in love with cutting-edge research. Following this, Katrina was offered a CASE Award PhD with industry and took it, researching radiation hardened high-k dielectrics for CMOS transistors and resistive memories.
After Katrina finished her PhD, she moved to the Optoelectronic Research Centre at the University of Southampton, and expanded her material capabilities to include chalcogenides; materials with sulphur, selenium and tellurium. This opened up her portfolio of devices and applications significantly, enabling her to work with a wide variety of companies and researchers worldwide.
“Impact is what drives me. Whether that is a new technology that can create a greener future, or helping someone feel more included at work. Being at the forefront of cutting-edge science is what brings a smile to my face, but it is taking that lab-based research and seeing it take effect in the “real world” that makes sitting in the cleanroom for hours on end totally worth it. One minute I’m measuring atoms, and the next I’m making a commercial demonstrator that has potential to benefit the elderly. This is what I do science for.”