Timothy Burnett

Timothy Burnett

Professor of Materials and Imaging

Personal profile


I gained a MEng in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Leeds and went on to complete a PhD at the same Institution. My thesis was entitled 'Growth and Characterization of Bismuth Ferrite Lead Titanate single crystals' and involved an interdisciplinary approach to produce and examine this new material. After my PhD I joined the Materials Division at The National Physical Laboratory in Teddington. Whilst there I worked on combining imaging conducted with the scanning probe microscope and the electron microscope. I worked on functional materials including ferroelectrics, photoconductive polymers and graphene. After three and a half years I joined FEI Company (now Thermo Fisher) to work on the combination of 3D imaging conducted using X-ray CT and FIB-SEM serial sectioning. This work was targeted at understanding degradation in materials. After 3 years in this position I joined The University of Manchester as a Lecturer.


I am interested in all areas of advanced imaging and particularly in correlative workflows combining multiple tehcniques and scales of imaging. In particular I work directly with different scales of X-ray computed tomography in the lab and at synchrotron facilties and also I work with focused ion beam (FIB) serial sectioning to create complemtary 3D information. My work is aimed at understanding failure and degradation of different materials but with a particular emphasis on the environmentally assisted cracking of light alloys. 

I am Director of the National X-ray CT facility (NXCT) and of the Henry Moseley X-ray Imaging lab at Manchester. 

Research interests

My reserach interests include: Correlative Imaging, Environmentally Assisted Cracking, Ductile Fracture, 3D Imaging, Mutliscale Imaging, Plasma FIB, femtosecond laser machining, Nanoscale X-ray CT, In-situ experiments

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

External positions

Director of NXCT, National lab X-ray computed tomography facility

1 Nov 2020 → …

Areas of expertise

  • Q Science (General)
  • Materials Science
  • 3D Imaging
  • Correlative Imaging
  • Environmentally Assisted Cracking
  • Ductile Fracture
  • FIB
  • X-ray computed tomography

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Advanced materials
  • Energy
  • Photon Science Institute
  • Dalton Nuclear Institute


  • 3D Visualisation
  • X-ray Imaging
  • Focused Ion Beam (FIB), Electron Microscopes (EMs), Materials Characterisation, FIB/EM technical development
  • Environmentally assisted cracking


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