Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Materials

Professor of Materials



+44 (0)20 7594 6724n.alford




Ms Karen Murphy +44 (0)20 7594 3330




2..05 (in RSM)Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus






Neil Alford received his BSc from St Andrews University and spent three years working in SE Asia and S America in the Oil Exploration Industry.  He returned to the UK to carry out his PhD at Queen Mary College in the area of fracture mechanics of cement mortars. He carried out post doctoral work at Oxford University in collaboration with ICI developing high strength cement. He joined ICI Corporate Laboratory in 1981 and was involved with projects concerning macro defect free cement, viscous processing of ceramics and the properties of perovskite ceramics, specifically High Temperature Superconductors (HTS). The application of HTS to microwave devices was a major area and part of this activity has been now transferred to industry for cellular communications. He joined London South Bank University in 1994 and developed HTS Magnetic resonance receive coils, microwave dielectrics, novel signal transformers and ferroelectric thin films. His work on microwave dielectric materials has resulted in the development of ultra low loss alumina resonators and an understanding of the defect chemistry of TiO2 which has allowed the production of very high Q and high dielectric constant materials. This technology has been patented and transferred to industry.

Technology transfer is a key focus and Neil’s discoveries have been applied widely in industry, including cellular communications. His research on low loss microwave dielectrics and functional materials led to the development of the first room temperature, earth’s field MASER (a Microwave laser).    At Imperial he has served as Head of Department of Materials, Vice Dean for Research in the Faculty of Engineering and Associate Provost.  In 2013 he was awarded the MBE for services to Engineering.


Link for:

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Breeze JD, Salvadori E, Sathian J, et al., 2018, Continuous-wave room-temperature diamond maser, Nature, Vol:555, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:493-496

Salvadori E, Breeze JD, Tan K-J, et al., 2017, Nanosecond time-resolved characterization of a pentacene-based room-temperature MASER, Scientific Reports, Vol:7, ISSN:2045-2322

Breeze J, Tan K-J, Richards B, et al., 2015, Enhanced magnetic Purcell effect in room-temperature masers, Nature Communications, Vol:6, ISSN:2041-1723, Pages:1-6

Appleby DJR, Ponon NK, Kwa KSK, et al., 2014, Experimental observation of negative capacitance in ferroelectrics at room temperature, Nano Letters, Vol:14, ISSN:1530-6984, Pages:3864-3868

Oxborrow M, Breeze JD, Alford NM, 2012, Room-temperature solid-state maser, Nature, Vol:488, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:353-+

Breeze JD, Perkins JM, McComb DW, et al., 2009, Do Grain Boundaries Affect Microwave Dielectric Loss in Oxides?, Journal of the American Ceramic Society, Vol:92, ISSN:0002-7820, Pages:671-674

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