Dr Paul Howes

photoLecturer in Nano-Physics

MA (Cantab), PhD (Leicester)

Tel: 0116 252 3587

Email: Paul.Howes@le.ac.uk

Office: Room F51


Dr Howes studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, specialising in Physics with Theoretical Physics. His research career began with a PhD from the University of Leicester, studying the atomic structure of metal-semiconductor surface reconstructions using the, at the time, new technique of surface x-ray diffraction at Daresbury Laboratory. Two, successive, postdoctoral positions, (Cardiff University and Risø National Laboratory, Denmark) gave him a broad range of expertise in x-ray scattering from surfaces and led to his own particular interest in developing the technique to measure the atomic structure of buried interfaces. In 1998 Howes was awarded an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship. This allowed him to return to Leicester to develop his own research programme. During the course of the Fellowship he was appointed to a Lectureship in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Research interests

Dr Howes is an expert in x-ray scattering from surfaces, interfaces and nano-scale systems. Almost all of his research has involved the use of hard or soft x-rays at synchrotron radiation facilities such as the Diamond Light Source. The range of science that he has explored using this tool is large and interdisciplinary and involved collaboration with scientists from a broad range of disciplines. The major research themes include:

  • The atomic structure of ultra-clean surfaces: Semiconductor surfaces, Metal-induced reconstructions, epitaxial growth
  • The atomic structure and morphology of internal interfaces: Metal-semiconductor interfaces, semiconductor grain boundary interfaces, under cooling during aluminium casting
  • Langmuir layers - a very wide range of organic surfactant monolayers at the water-air interface: long-chain alcohols, lipids, surface proteins, pre-ocular film (meibum),
  • Medical applications of nanotechnology: toxicology of nanoparticles, modelling the deposition of nanoparticles onto ice.

Howes has collaborated with engineers, chemists, materials scientists, biologists and clinicians.


  • Biophysics 2602
  • Advanced Materials 3637
  • 3rd Year Industrial Group Research Project: Overwintering bees - thermal loss from beehives

Administrative Duties

Paul Howes is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Science Centre and its Natural Sciences degree programme. He is a member of both the Physics and Astronomy and I-Science teaching committees and of the College Academic Committe.

Selected Publications

C Binns, MT Qureshi, D Peddis, SH Baker, PB Howes, A Boatwright, SA Cavill, SS Dhesi, L Lari, R Kröger, and S Langridge, Exchange bias in Fe@Cr core-shell nanoparticles, Nano Letters: a journal dedicated to nanoscience and nanotechnology 13 (2013), 3334.

PB Howes, S Rhead, M Roy, CL Nicklin, JL Rawle, and CA Norris, Silicon Σ13 501 grain boundary interface structure determined by bicrystal bragg rod x-ray scattering, Acta Materialia (2013), 5694-5701. [ DOI ]

C Binns, P Prieto, S Baker, P Howes, R Dondi, G Burley, L Lari, R Kröger, A Pratt, S Aktas, and JK Mellon, Preparation of hydrosol suspensions of elemental and core-shell nanoparticles by co-deposition with water vapour from the gas-phase in ultra-high vacuum conditions, Journal of Nanoparticle Research.

JB Simonsen, K Kjaer, P Howes, K Norgaard, T Bjornholm, N Harrit, and BW Laursen, Close columnar packing of triangulenium ions in langmuir films, Langmuir 25 (2009), no. 6, 3584-3592, entrydate: 2013/02/22. [ DOI ]

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Fax: +44 (0)116 252 2770

Department of Physics & Astronomy,
University of Leicester,
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