Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, James in an engineer by training and a physicist by vocation. He graduated in 2012 with an MEng in engineering science from the University of Oxford, having specialized in electrical, electronic, and control engineering. He completed his PhD, an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Departments of Engineering and Physics at the University of Cambridge, in 2017 as part of the Nanotechnology Doctoral Training Centre.
James' research lies at the intersection of nanophotonics and soft matter physics. He investigates ways to use the (directed) self-assembly of liquid crystals and block copolymers to create two- and three-dimensional optical metasurfaces and metamaterials with dynamically reconfigurable optical properties. During his PhD, James used thermal and solvent vapor annealing to create gyroid-structured optical metamaterials with long-range order from linear triblock terpolymers, and characterized the unusual crystallization behavior of the polymer templates and the anomalous optical properties of the resulting metamaterials.
Li, Xiao, et al. "Sculpted grain boundaries in soft crystals." Science Advances 5.11 (2019): eaax9112.