Imperial College London

Professor David W. McComb

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Materials

Adjunct Professor



+44 (0)20 7594 6750d.mccomb Website




Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





David's current research concentrates on the development and application of nanoanalytical electron microscopy techniques for the study of chemistry, structure and bonding at interfaces. In addition the group is developing novel approaches to the formation multifunctional three-dimensionally ordered solids for arrange of applications. David leads a research group of seventeen people and has published 90 papers and patents.

Some key research areas include:

  • Analysis of thin films and interfaces using analytical electron microscopy
    Synthesis and characterisation of three-dimensionally ordered macroporous thin films
  • Development and use of electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) for investigation of advanced materials
  • Investigation of structure-property relationships in advanced materials using EELS
  • Synthesis of novel functional materials for optoelectronic applications
  • Development of analytical electron microscopy techniques for near-atomic resolution analysis

Image of InAs quantum dots recorded using the FEI Titan 80-300 (S)TEM.

Quantum dots

SEM image of a cross-section from a thin film opal template for the formation of multifunctional three-dimensionally ordered macroporous solids.

Thin films opal template


Collaborators include:

  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Strathclyde
  • Shell International Chemicals
  • Shell Global Solutions
  • Qinetiq
  • IMEC
  • International Sematech
  • University College London
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Surrey
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Graz University of Technology

Guest Lectures

Probing organic solar cells using STEM, Ohio State Univ, Ohio, USA, 2010

Research Staff





Research Student Supervision

Husain,S, Site specific characterisation of hydrocracking catalysts using nanoanalytical electron microscopy

Jantou,V, Analytical Transmission Electron Microscope of Mineralised Tissues

Jasper,A, TEM studies of interfaces in fuel cells

Kadkhodazadeh,S, TEM analysis of InAs/GaAs quantum dots and GaInNAs quantum wells

McGilvery,CM, The Chemistry, Structure and Bonding in High-K Metal-Gate Oxides

Thomson,N, Directing colloidal growth through electrostatic interactions

Zhu,R, Electrochemical deposition of three-dimensionally ordered macroporous thin films