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Surfaces, Microstructure and Fracture Group


Advanced surfaces and 2D materials hold great promise for addressing global challenges – their immense potential has been widely recognised and there have been huge levels of investment. In order to exploit their potential, it is crucial to understand properties and behaviour fully – yet in some cases, very little is yet known.

In the Surface and 2D nanoScience group we aim to understand structural and dynamical processes at surfaces at the most fundamental level practical.  We develop and use techniques that provide unique insights into the physics of these materials.

We are primarily an experimental group, but make extensive use of computational / simulation techniques to support and interpret our observations – in fact many projects have been entirely computational / theoretical.


Read more at: Major Facilities at the Cambridge Atom Scattering Centre
Photograph of the Spin-Echo Laboratory

Major Facilities at the Cambridge Atom Scattering Centre

We run the Cambridge Atom Scattering Centre (CASC) , which operates the facilities that underpin our research. Several major pieces of instrumentation within the centre include: Spin-Echo: a unique and world-leading instrument provides correlation measurements that combine both picosecond time and...

Read more at: Technique & Instrument Development
B-SHeM Photograph

Technique & Instrument Development

Within our group, we have a strong focus on instrument development . Our unique instrumentation enables us to research physical regimes that cannot be studied anywhere else in the world. Our B-SHeM system, shown in the photograph at the top of this page, was recently designed, constructed and...

Read more at: Case Study: It takes some heat to form ice
It takes some heat to form ice

Case Study: It takes some heat to form ice

A new study from the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with the University of Surrey and Graz University of Technology (Austria), reveals that energy is needed for water to proceed through the first step of ice formation on graphene. In a paper published in Nature Communications , the...

Read more at: Case Study: Following atoms in real time
Following atoms in real time

Case Study: Following atoms in real time

Researchers have used a technique similar to MRI to follow the movement of individual atoms in real time as they cluster together to form two-dimensional materials, which are a single atomic layer thick. The results, reported in the journal Physical Review Letters , could be used to design new...

Read more at: Virtual Open Day

Virtual Open Day

Our slides from a recent graduate open day, give an overview of recent group activity (click to enlarge). Look out for details of the next laboratory open day in the Postgraduates Admissions section of the Department of Physics website .

Read more at: PhD Projects for 2024 Entry

PhD Projects for 2024 Entry

PhD Projects for 2024 Entry Application and Funding Information about the general application procedure for MPhil and PhD research projects is available here on the departmental website . All our projects listed below are available to individuals applying for any DTP or Trust studentships, as well...

Latest news

Review Article in Nature Reviews Physics

12 October 2021

A short review article, Probing surface motion above ambient temperature with helium spin-echo spectroscopy , has just been published in Nature Reviews Physics by Dr Nadav Avidor.

SHeM commercialisation project launched with Ionoptika Ltd.

1 September 2021

We are pleased to announce the start of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Ionoptika Ltd. to commercialise our scanning helium microscope (SHeM) technology. For more information, contact the project lead, David Ward .