Imperial College London

Professor David J. Payne

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Materials

Professor of Materials Chemistry



+44 (0)20 7594 2585d.payne Website




2.09Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





Our Research

My group website can be found here:

The research of the group focuses on the investigation of the surface chemistry and electronic structure materials, mainly oxides, using state-of-the-art photoelectron spectroscopy, performed in the Advanced Photoelectron Spectroscopy Laboratory in the Department of Materials, a leading laboratory for cutting edge materials characterisation.

The research in the group revolves around understanding chemistry and physics that occur at the surface and bulk of a wide range of materials. This includes, for example, solid oxide fuel cells, CO2 reduction catalysts, biomaterials for regenerative medicine, corrosion studies of metals, spin-orbit related physics in oxides and many more areas. The focus of the group is on curiosity-driven research with an technology bias. So, we explore from the fundamental physics through to the applied surface engineering of materials for a particular technology.

We specialise in a core-set of spectroscopies, namely X-ray and UV photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS and UPS). We can perform measurements from ultra-high vacuum (10-10 mbar) to high-pressure (10 mbar) within the APSL itself. We also perform a range of other spectroscopic techniques including soft and hard X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (SXPES and HAXPES) as well as X-ray emission and absorption (XES and XAS). Recently we have started to use angle-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy (ARPES) to map the band structure of heavy transition metal oxides, such as IrO2. We perform these experiments  at a number of national and international synchrotron radiation facilities including the Diamond & ISIS (for neutrons) (U.K.), Elettra (Italy), ESRF (France), Max-Lab (Sweden), ALS (U.S.A.) and Spring8 (Japan). We synthesise our materials using a variety of different physical and chemical methods. This ranges from the growth of single crystalline thin films using metal evaporators and an oxygen plasma in ultra-high vacuum (UHV) conditions, to sol-gel wet-chemical methods of synthesising nanoparticles, and traditional solid-state chemical methods. We also utilise X-ray diffraction (XRD) (synchrotron- and lab-based), atomic force microscopy (AFM), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).