Imperial College London

Dr David McPhail

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Materials

Visiting Professor



+44 (0)20 7594 6721d.mcphail CV




102Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





I am studying the surfaces of materials and how they interact with their environment. 

My research involves the characterization of a very wide range of materials using surface analysis techniques, especially:

* Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS)

(sub-nm depth resolution, 200nm lateral resolution, ppb sensitivity, all elements and isotopes)

* Low Energy Ion Scattering (LEIS)

(sub-monolayer sensitivity)

* Focused Ion Beam SIMS (FIB SIMS).  

(5nm resolution milling and analysis and ppt sensitivity)

Processes that can be studied include dopant distributions, oxidation, diffusion, segregation, crack propagation and mass transport, for examples across grain boundaries and cell walls.

SIMS, LEIS and FIB SIMS can be combined with stable isotope exchange protocols (for example 18O and 2D) for labelling experiments in order to determine the mechanisms and kinetics of various processes in materials science.

Recent investigations include nanomaterials, electrical ceramics, biomaterials including soft tissues such as C-elegans and eye tissue, glasses, polymers and plastics, aerospace alloys, museum materials and micrometeorites. 

I also conduct educational research into transferable skills.

I am manager of the surface analysis facility

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Westacott P, Tumbleston JR, Shoaee S, et al., 2013, On the role of intermixed phases in organic photovoltaic blends, Energy & Environmental Science, ISSN:1754-5692

Gardener JA, Liaw I, Aeppli G, et al., 2010, A novel route for the inclusion of metal dopants in silicon, Nanotechnology, Vol:21, ISSN:0957-4484

Bland PA, Jackson MD, Coker RF, et al., 2009, Why aqueous alteration in asteroids was isochemical: High porosity not equal high permeability, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol:287, ISSN:0012-821X, Pages:559-568

Ioannou N, Skarlatos D, Tsamis C, et al., 2008, Germanium substrate loss during low temperature annealing and its influence on ion-implanted phosphorous dose loss, Applied Physics Letters, Vol:93, ISSN:0003-6951

More Publications