Creativity @ Home

‘You can’t use up creativity, the more you use the more you have’ Maya Angelou


Creativity @ Home is an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) initiative to generate and nurture new and creative ways of thinking that can potentially lead to transformative research.    The Reactive Plasmonics Creativity @ Home journey started on a sunny October day at the Strand Campus of King’s College London.

Dennis Sherwood from Silver Bullet Machine led a fantastic day where creativity was explained using Koestler’s Law.  Many people believe that creativity strikes out of the blue, like a bolt of lightning and that genius just happens. This means that some people tend go through life believing that they ‘aren’t creative’ and therefore don’t get the chance to present new ideas. Dennis explained that being creative is taking things that already exist and asking the question ‘How might things be different?’


‘The creative act is not an act of creation in the sense of the Old Testament. It does not create something out of nothing; it uncovers, selects, re-shuffles, combines, synthesises already existing facts, ideas, faculties, skills. The more familiar the parts, the more striking the new whole.’

The Act of Creation, Arthur Koestler



To ask the question ‘How might things be different?’ you have to define how things are. Once you have defined reality as it currently is, you can come up with ways to see how it can be different. It’s only when you’ve asked the question do you know if it has an answer and if that answer is viable.

An iPhone was not a brand new idea, Apple took things that already existed then shuffled and combined different elements to create something new.  What Apple did so wonderfully was to give a solution that brought together a phone, a music player, a camera, a camcorder and a diary (plus many other elements). This was a solution to something we didn’t know we needed. Rather than carry separate elements, we now carry one piece of tech be it Apple or Android or and other smart phone.

A few weeks after the first event the RPLAS team decamped to the stunning location of Chicheley Hall near Milton Keynes.  This event had the team thinking about how things can be done differently in relation to the Reactive Plasmonics programme grant and we will be reporting on potential projects and collaborations that spin off from this event in the near future.

Taking part in the event has changed the way that many of the researchers think about things. To be creative you should be observant and be willing to share and listen to ideas. You will never know how things can be improved, if you never ask the question of how if might be different.



SPIE Photonics Europe

SPIE Photonics Europe is the premier research conference in Europe presenting metamaterials, nanophotonics, biophotonics, quantum technologies, optical sensing, photonic fibers, and laser technologies among others.


The 2016 conference took place this week (3-7 April 2016) in a sunny Brussels.  Researchers from the Nano-Optics team at King’s College London were there giving talks and presenting posters.

Photo Credit: Luke Nicholls @LHNicholls

Some of the talks included:

Professor Anatoly Zayats – Optical nonlinearities in plasmonic metamaterials

William P. Wardley – Large-area fabrication and characterisation of ultraviolet regime metamaterials manufactured using self-assembly techniques,

Diane Roth – Förster resonance energy transfer between emitters inside a hyperbolic metamaterial

Giuseppe Marino –  Frequency tuneable second-harmonic generation in plasmonic nanorod metamaterial slab

Serena Skov Cambpell – Self-assembled hyperbolic metamaterials in the deep UV





















Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship

We would like to congratulate Dr. Paloma Arroyo Huidobro  from Imperial College London for obtaining a European Union funded Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions Research Fellowship Programme, named after the double Nobel Prize winning Polish-French scientist famed for her work on radioactivity, support researchers at all stages of their careers, irrespective of nationality. Researchers working across all disciplines, from life-saving healthcare to ‘blue-sky’ science, are eligible for funding. The MSCA also support industrial doctorates, combining academic research study with work in companies, and other innovative training that enhances employability and career development.



Maxwell Society Lecture

The King’s College London Physics Department is home to the Maxwell Society. The Society holds various lectures, seminars and activities that aim to encourage students to interact and experience areas of Physics beyond the scope of their degree.

The Maxwell Society hosts a weekly lecture series at the Strand Campus. On 25th January 2016, Reactive Plasmonics Affiliated Investigator Dr Francisco J. Rodríguez-Fortuño gave a very interesting lecture on ‘Spin-orbit interactions of photons: taking light for a spin.’

In the lecture he discussed how Maxwell’s equations explain that that the spin of photons (their polarization) can affect their motion, under certain conditions.  He explained that although these spin-orbit effects of light are usually small, recent advances in nanotechnology have found ways to enhance them dramatically.

Spin-orbit interactions of photons: taking light for a spin
Spin-orbit interactions of photons: taking light for a spin



© Reactive Plasmonics 2021