Scanning Probe Microscopy
The SPM Section was established in 2012 to give recognition to a well-defined community of microscopists worldwide, and provide a support network for a number of world-leading companies in the sector. The committee are particularly keen to hear from and engage with PhD students.
Other science section
Scanning Probe Microscopy describes a family of techniques, distinct from the Light and Electron Microscopies in that radiation is not used as a probe to interrogate the surface. Instead a physical probe is positioned within a few nanometres of the surface, or in contact with the surface, and the probe is raster-scanned across the surface. A physical property of the surface, to which the probe is sensitive, is used as a control parameter to yield a true 3-dimensional image of the surface. The “image” can result from a wide range of properties and so SPM can provide maps of electrical, thermal, optical and electronic structure simultaneously with topography, and both to nanometre resolution.
The Scanning Probe Microscopy Section of the RMS has several distinguishing features:
- We represent a diverse multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary community of researchers and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines
- We are developing a number of training short-courses as we look to build and support the community
- We are opening a dialogue with the research councils on mutual training opportunities
Prof Sonia Contera
SPM Section Chair
University of Oxford
Sonia Contera is an Associate Professor in Biological Physics at the University of Oxford. She works at the interface of nanomaterials, physics and biology and she is an expert in atomic force microscopy. Currently she collaborates with engineers, biologists, chemists and mathematicians in various multidisciplinary projects that range from understanding the mechanical aspects to plant growth to developing materials for tissue engineering, and developing methods for measuring mechanoelectrical coupling in neurons. She has a special interest in the role of mechanics in linking molecular function with cellular biology and in learning how this knowledge can be used for creating better materials with applications in healthcare. Sonia often writes pieces for the general press , e.g. in WIRED magazine or the Huffington Post, and also works with international organisations such as the World Economic Forum. She has just finished a book entitled "Transmateria: Nanotechnology and the future of biology and Medicine" and she is preparing a Soapbox Science "performance" with artist Ellen McAleavey for the Oxford Arts Festival.
Dr Terry McMaster
SPM Section Vice-Chair
University of Bristol
Dr Colin Grant
SPM Section Secretary
University of Bradford
Colin is a Lecturer in Medical Engineering at the University of Bradford. He obtained a B.Eng (Hons) from University of Bradford in Medical Engineering and a PhD in Biophysics from University of Manchester. Colin was exposed to atomic force microscopy (AFM) as part of his final year undergraduate project and was subsequently inspired and hooked on nano-level science. He has worked for 4 years postdoc in Leeds in the Astbury Centre (Biological Science) and School of Physics & Astronomy. Mainly working on novel AFM nano-mechanical techniques on amyloids, collagen fibrils and tissue and retina.
Colin ended up in Bradford in 2010 as an AFM specialist to set up collaborative links with research centres in the University that are interested in nano-level characterisations – relating structure to function with properties - and was promoted to Lecturer in 2013. Main research interests lie in collagen tissues but fascinated by all aspects of anatomy/physiology in health, disease and aging. Current investigations on a wide range of materials including skin tissue, cornea/sclera, cartilage, blood vessels, bone, cancer cells, drug co-crystals, hydrogels & polymer nano-composite films.
Dr Stephanie Allen
University of Nottingham
Dr Boumedienne Boudjelida
Boume is the UK, Benelux and Scandinavia Sales Manager for Bruker Nano Surfaces, dealing with Atomic Force Microscopy, Stylus and Optical Metrology and Tribology and Mechanical Testing businesses. Boume completed his PhD at Sheffield Hallam University working on metal/GaN interfaces characterisation using XPS and AFM/STM for LED/High power applications (2006). He subsequently joined The Microelectronics and Nanostructures Group at the University of Manchester (School of EEE) as a post-doctorate working on InGaAs/InAlAs HEMT and LNA structures for super-low noise amplifier applications, as part of the Square Kilometre Array Telescope project (SKA). He then joined Veeco Metrology initially developing the AFM probes business in EMEA in 2009, and took over the Sales for Scandinavia, then UK before managing the UK, Benelux and Scandinavia business for Bruker Nano. Veeco Metrology was acquired by Bruker in 2010.
Dr Laurent Bozec
University College London
Laurent is a Senior Lecturer in Biophysics and Nanometrology at the Eastman Dental Institute – University College London. During his PhD at Lancaster University under the guidance of Dr Pollock, he was introduced to Atomic Force Microscopy as a novel surface characterisation technique and went onto developping a novel infrared-based spectroscopic AFM technique in collaboration with the late Dr Hammiche. During his time at Lancaster, he also develpped expertise in Scanning Thermal Microscopy (SThM) and more specially in AFM based Locaslised Thermal Analysis (LTA). He joined UCL in 2002 as a PDRA under the guidance of Professor Mike Horton, where he developped a portfolio of research related to the SPM and collagen based materials. During his early years in UCL and subsequently at the London Centre for Nanotechnology, he managed the suite of AFMs and developped a training program that has now been proposed to a wide number aspiring AFM users. His current research is centered on the nano-metrology of collagen in health and disease including ageing and syndromes with the aim of developping SPM as part of a clinical diagnostics suite. Other research interests include nanoscale characterisation of (bio)materials, interactions between cells/bacteria with implants' surfaces with a particular strong focus on antimicrobial resistance (AMRs). Finally, he has also been involved in developping an AFM based damage assessment of collagen-based artefacts for application in Cultural Heritage.
Dr Charles Clifford
National Physical Laboratory
Charles is a senior research scientist in the Surface and Nano-Analysis group at the National Physical Laboratory. Charles's research has a focus on developing and understanding scanning probe microscopy techniques in order to give quantitative information on a surface at the nanoscale beyond 'pretty pictures'. He studies a wide range of materials in collaboration with industry and academia using AFM and other surface analytical techniques. He obtained a MSci in Chemistry and Molecular Physics at the University of Nottingham and his PhD from the University of Sheffield supervised by Prof Graham Leggett. Charles is the chair of the British standards institute panel on characterisation and measurement techniques in nanotechnologies, a mirror committee for ISO TC229/JWG2 and the principle UK expert for the international standardisation committee on scanning probe microscopy (ISO TC/201/SC9).
Dr Lorna Dougan
University of Leeds
Lorna is an Associate Professor in the Molecular and Nanoscale Physics group in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds. Before joining in 2009, Lorna held a postdoctoral researcher position in the Biological Sciences department at Columbia University in New York. Lorna is a physicist by training (MPhys and PhD) and during this time held a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship. More recently she was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry MacroGroup UK Young Researchers Medal in 2013 and the Medical Research Council and Royal Society Suffrage Science Award in 2015. Lorna's research interests span biophysics and soft matter physics.
Dr Laura Fumagalli
University of Manchester
Laura Fumagalli graduated in electronic engineering in 2002 and obtained her PhD in 2006 at Polytechnic University of Milan (Italy) with a doctoral thesis on low-noise amplifiers. She then joined the Electronic Department of the University of Barcelona and the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (Spain), where she developed novel instrumentation and techniques for scanning probe microscopy to probe electrical properties at the nanoscale, in particular capacitance and dielectric properties of nano-materials and biomolecules. From 2015, she is lecturer in Condensed Matter Physics at the School of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Manchester (UK) and researcher of the National Graphene Institute - University of Manchester.
Dr Núria Gavara
Queen Mary University of London
Dr Núria Gavara was trained as a physicist before obtaining a PhD on Cell Biophysics at the Medical School of the University of Barcelona (Spain). She expanded her research skills by taking postdoctoral positions at the National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA) and the Institute of Biophysics at the University of Goettingen (Germany). Since 2013, she is a Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering and Biomaterials within the School of Engineering and Material Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research interests sit at the interface of cellular biophysics, mechanobiology, computer vision and machine learning, with a strong aim to furthering the understanding of the biological processes involved in physiology and disease. The research carried out in her lab focuses on the cell's cytoskeleton, and especially the characterisation of its organization and mechanical properties.To do so, the lab uses a broad cellular biophysics toolbox, including Atomic Force Microscopy, Traction Force Microscopy, high-throughput imaging, advanced image quantification pipelines and machine learning methods.
Prof Jamie Hobbs
University of Sheffield
Prof Bart Hoogenboom
University College London
Bart is a Professor of biophysics at the London Centre for Nanotechnology and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London. He was initially trained as a solid-state physicist in Groningen (MSc, 1998) and Geneva (PhD, 2002), building and modifying scanning tunnelling microscopes (STMs) for use at low temperatures and in ultrahigh vacuum, and applying them to copper-oxide superconductors.
Since then, he has developed and applied in-liquid atomic force microscopy (AFM) for the life sciences (in Basle and, since 2007, in London), resulting among other things in the first observation of the DNA double helix in aqueous solution.
Dr Jonathan Moffat
Jonathan is currently an applications scientist for Asylum Research, an Oxford Instruments company. Based in the UK, he looks after systems in the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, Africa and the Middle East. In 2002 Jonathan obtained his Masters of Engineering degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Following this he obtained his PhD in 2006 at the Institute of Food Research, Norwich on the assembly of biopolymer multilayer systems on surfaces. He then moved to the University of East Anglia and carried out several projects on combining AFM techniques with infrared spectroscopy. In 2012, he then moved to University College London to work on projects involving thermal AFM techniques for pharmaceutical applications. In late 2013, Jonathan joined Asylum Research.
Dr Chris Mulcahy
Corporate Advisory Board Vice-Chair
Chris is the UK Sales Manager for JPK Instruments Ltd. Chris received his BSc (1994) and PhD (1998) from Imperial College London with his thesis focussing on the growth and characterisation of III-V semiconductor materials using ultra-high vacuum analytical techniques under the supervision of Professor Tim Jones.
Dr Jacob Pattem
University College London
Dr. Jacob Pattem currently works as a research fellow at UCL’s Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Department, focussing on biofilm mechanical properties. He studied Nanotechnology BSc at the University of Leeds with a clear focus on the use of atomic force microscopy (AFM) to understand biological interactions of nanoparticles with anti-bodies. After this, he then studied a Masters of Research (MRes) at Newcastle University focussing on the mechanical and topographical changes of hard tissues using newly developed AFM modes of operation. His PhD and early post-doctoral research took this further by developing structure property relationships of biological hard tissue changes subject to chemical and physical challenges using more advanced AFM techniques and models. This research enabled him to develop new strategies of prevention and control and the development of new analysis methods in topography and mechanical properties using AFM.
The 2017 AGM of the RMS Scanning Probe Microscopy Committee will take place at 4.15pm on Tuesday 4 July at mmc2017.Download the 2017 RMS SPM Committee AGM Agenda
The 2016 AGM of the RMS Scanning Probe Microscopy Section took place on 6 July 2016 in Warwick during the annual SPM meeting.Download the 2016 Minutes of the Scanning Probe Microscopy Section AGM