Personal profile

My group


For more information, please see my group website at:

I am a Royal Society University Research Fellow and lead the Atomistic Simulation of Materials group within the School of Materials at the University of Manchester. We use the tools of atomistic simulation to investigate the behaviour of a variety of materials and material evolution processes.

I joined the University of Manchester in April 2013 as a Dalton Research Fellow within the Dalton Nuclear Institute and the Department of Materials. Before coming to Manchester I spent three years in the Department of Computational Materials Design of the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research (Eisenforschung) (MPIE) in Dusseldorf Germany, latterly as an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow. I completed my PhD in 2010, in the Department of PhysicsImperial College London, under the supervision of Adrian Sutton and Matthew Foulkes.

I am a physicist by training and a materials scientist by inclination. I am attracted to materials science by the links it draws between the behaviour of real materials - things we experience and use in our everyday macroscopic lives - and what happens in the microscopic world of atoms and electrons. Materials science involves the application of fundamental theories of physics to solve real-world problems. As a bonus, these problems are often extremely complex, involving a hierarchy of processes across a range of length and time scales. To model them we need to use a broad range of tools, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

For details of my current and past research please see the research tab, above.

For more information, please see my group website at:

Research interests

For more information, please see my group website at:


Mechanisms and kinetics of grain boundary migration

Experiments to study the migration of grain boundaries are extremely challenging and it can be difficult to isolate the effects of the various different factors that influence, say, the mobility of a given grain boundary: its geometry, the effects of defects and impurities, or the effects of the surface of a TEM foil. Simulations provide a complementary route to a mechanistic understanding - we can construct and study perfect grain boundaries in defect-free bulk crystal and study the migration process right down to the level of individual atomic motions.

Microstructural evolution in nuclear materials

We ask an awful lot of the materials that we use to build our nuclear power plants. Not only do they suffer the effects of heat and a corrosive environment in common with gas- and coal-based generators, but they must also cope with the effects of irradiation. These effects start at the smallest length- and time-scales: incoming high energy particles rearrange the atoms of nuclear materials, introducing defects and changing the way that the mechanical properties of the materials evolve over time.

Electronic effects in irradiation damage

An intuitive picture of the initial irradiation damage to materials caused by high energy particles is of a series of collisions between billiard ball atoms, introducing defects to the crystalline order and carefully designed microstructure. This simple picture can provide a great deal of insight, but we mustn’t forget about the electrons that belong to the moving atoms. Often the atoms move so fast that their electrons, light and fast though they are, cannot keep up: they become excited. This excitement of the electrons has a variety of consequences and can profoundly affect the damage caused by irradiation and the changes in material properties that it gives rise to.


For more information, please see my group website at:

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Advanced materials
  • Manchester Energy
  • Energy
  • Digital Futures


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  • MPC: Materials Performance Centre

    Burke, G., Engelberg, D., Preuss, M., Frankel, P., Jimenez-Melero, E., Pickering, E., Scenini, F., Stevens, N., Race, C., Connolly, B., Abdallah, M., Armson, S., Attar, H., Barron, P., Bird, J., Brown, A., Bruce, K., Buxton, O., Cassineri, S., Cattivelli, A., Chen, W., Collins, J., Debenham, L., Eaton-Mckay, J., Eguchi, K., Foster, D., Fox, C., Garrett, A., Gredis, A., Grime, T., Hou, J., Howe, B., Hughes, J., Hunt, C., Islam, U., Jalil, R., Jones, C., Kablan, A., Kapousidou, M., Koc, O., Kroll, R., Lang, R., Lennard, J., Liubercev, S., Mahmood, S., Maric, M., Martin, C., Mazzei, G., Rigby-Bell, M., Rogers, M., Sanchez, C., Shah, Z., Stavroulakis, E., Stuglik, P., Suleman, T., Supornpaibul, N., Thornley, S., Volpe, L., Wang, H., Wilson, M., Wilson, A., Woodward, T., Wylie, A., Xu, X. D., Yankova, M., Yildirim, E., Zhou, Y., Zhu, S., Barzdajn, B., Carruthers, A., Cassineri, S., Chang, L., Obasi, G., Palko, S., Reccagni, P., Tang, R., Thomas, R., Unnikrishnan, R., Zhang, Z., Zhou, Y. & Aspinall, A.

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    Project: Research