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Research in the SMF Group

Research in the SMF group focuses on both fundamental and applied studies of materials over a wide range of length and time scales: from the nanoscale to the macroscale and from picoseconds fluctuations to quasi-static processes.

Our areas of study are broadly divided into surface phenomena (the Surface Physics part of the group) and dynamic material processes (the Fracture & Shock Physics part of the group). Throughout, we have a strong emphasis on continuing the Cavendish tradition of developing unique experimental techniques to carry out our research.

The current research areas that the group focuses on can be explored in greater detail in this section of the website.

Band structure diagram showing He reflectivity during scattering from a lithium fluoride surfaceSurface Physics

We carry out fundamental research into a wide range of surface structure and processes. We are one of the world's only surface science groups to specialise in the experimental technique of Helium Atom Scattering (HAS), which we complement with more traditional surface techniques. Some of our most exciting work also includes the development of several new forms of instrumentation.

Our current high-profile projects include using helium spin-echo to study dynamics on atomic length and timescales and the development of helium atom microscopy to provide an imaging technique with the uniquely delicate helium atom probe.

Testing the wheel material for bloodhound SSCFracture & Shock Physics

We aim to understand a wide range of fast dynamical processes in materials at the most fundamental level accessable. We specialise in producing high quality experimental data and develop cutting-edge and innovative techniques for understanding ultra-fast phenomena, including developing optical diagnostics and using high speed photography.

We work closely with a number of industrial partners, and actively participate in a wide variety of research projects.

We are always happy to discuss possible projects and our wide range of experience allows us to offer practical advice on ways to obtain data on fast processes.  We can perform a wide range of research in-house, but can usually put you in touch with other experts if we cannot.

Prof. P. BowdenHistorical Research

Today's research interests have evolved over the long history of the group (formerly the we were the Physics and Chemistry of Solids, or PCS, group).  Several research areas used to be key topics, but are no longer the subject of active investigation.  Information about a number of previous projects can be found in the historical research section.

More details both on current and past research can be obtained either by contacting one of the group members or examining the publications database.