Professor Richard Palmer

Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Office - 309
Third Floor
Engineering North
Bay Campus
Available For Postgraduate Supervision


At Cambridge: MA & PhD; 1851, Clare College & Royal Society Fellowships. At Birmingham: founded the UK's first nanoscience centre (1994). At Swansea: founded the Nanomaterials Lab (2017). Awards: IOP Boys Medal, dr. h.c. Hasselt University, BVC Yarwood Medal, EPSRC Fellowship. Fellow IOP, RSC, LSW. Published 400+ papers, >13,000 citations, h=58. 18 families of patent apps. Spin-outs: Inanovate, Irresistible Materials, Grove Nanomaterials. Editor in Chief, Advances in Physics: X (Taylor and Francis) and Frontiers of Nanoscience (Book Series, Elsevier).


2017-          Head, Nanomaterials Lab, Department of Engineering, Swansea University
2015-          Professor, School of Physics, Nanjing University, China
2014-          Editor-in-Chief, Advances in Physics: X (Taylor and Francis Journal)
2004-          Editor, Frontiers of Nanoscience (Elsevier Book Series)
2004-2017   Visiting Professor, University of Wales, Swansea
1994-2017   Professor of Experimental Physics & Head, Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory, University of Birmingham
1993-1994   College Lecturer, Clare College, Cambridge
1988-1994   Royal Society 1983 University Research Fellow, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge
1987-1993   Research Fellow, Clare College, Cambridge
1986-1988   Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellow, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge
1983-1986   PhD in Physics, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge
1980-1983   B.A. (1st Class) in Natural Sciences (Physics and Theoretical Physics), Trinity Hall, Cambridge
1973-1980   Olchfa Comprehensive School, Swansea

Visiting Positions

2010   Technical University of Denmark (Physics)
2000   Harvard University (Chemistry)
            Oxford University (Chemistry), also Visiting Fellow, St. Catherine’s College
1990   Cornell University (Physics)

Areas Of Expertise

  • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanoclusters and Nanoparticles
  • Nanocatalysts, Nanosensors, Nanophotonics
  • Neuromorphic Systems for Information Processing
  • Surface Science including Atomic Manipulation
  • Innovations in Instrumentation

Career Highlights


Research Themes of the Nanomaterials Lab

  • Nanoclusters (nanoparticles), including atomic structure with the aberration-corrected electron microscope, metastability and dynamics, and scale-up.
  • Surface physics, including atomic manipulation with the scanning tunnelling microscope.
  • Applications include catalysis, biomedicine, sensors, photonics, energy generation and storage, environment, semiconductor materials and devices.


4 nanoparticle beam sources, STEM, XPS, SEM, AFM, 4-probe UHV STM

Members of the Nanomaterials Lab

20 = 3 Faculty (REP, Richard Cobley, Thierry Maffeis), 3 Postdocs, 8 Grad Students, 6 Hon Staff 



Department of Engineering, Swansea University, Bay Campus & Centre for Nanohealth, Singleton Campus

Award Highlights Collaborations