Professor Graham Smith

Associate Dean, Head of Natural Sciences.

I am Associate Dean for Science and Engineering, and Head of the Department of Natural Sciences at Thornton Science Park. Before joining the University I had extensive industrial experience as team leader and project leader with Shell Research Ltd in the UK and with Shell International Chemicals B.V. In Amsterdam. I have also worked at the UK National Physical Laboratory and with a small scientific instrument company.


B.Sc. Ph.D. M.Inst.P. C.Phys. MRSC. C.Chem. C.Sci. FRMS FHEA

I am a strong believer in the value of professional bodies, and am a member of the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Chemistry.  I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and hold a Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher education.

I am a long standing committee member and current Chair of the UK Surface Analysis Forum, and a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society.  I also represent the UK Surface Analysis Forum on the British Vacuum Council.


  • Curriculum design and validation for the B.Sc. Physics and B.Sc. Chemistry courses.
  • Lectures and laboratory classes in a number of areas of physical and materials science.
  • Programme Leader for Masters by Research (M.Res) in Applied Science
  • PhD project supervision


My research has focused on the development and application of advanced methods of surface and materials imaging, micro-analysis and characterisation, primarily using electron beam and X-ray beam techniques. The work has included the theoretical development of the techniques, and stretching their applications into new and challenging areas.

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and related methods are used to determine the composition and chemistry of surfaces and thin films, down to single molecule thickness, and to construct profiles of composition against depth within a solid specimen. We also use electron microscopy to investigate topography and element spatial distributions.

We have been using these techniques to study the properties of organic photovoltaic cells, to investigate the nature of deposits in diesel fuel injectors from internal combustion engines, to study surface corrosion effects after exposure to hydrocarbon liquids, to optimise the tribological properties of diamond-like carbon films for automotive applications, to help understand environmental effects on carbon surfaces, and to investigate novel applications of low-dimensional materials. During this work, we have developed correction procedures for hydrocarbon contamination, investigated the effect of X-ray energy on quantification of XPS data, and shown how to obtain optimal non-destructive composition depth profile data.

In recent work, we have extended the use of these techniques to study the biological properties of surfaces and the interaction of medical device materials with the human bodily environment.

Follow my research on Google Scholar and Research Gate.

Published work

Selected journal publications and conference presentations

  • "Mixed-dimension silver nanowires for solution-processed, flexible, transparent and conducting electrodes with improved optical and physical properties", D. Kumar, V. Stoichkov, S. Ghosh; G.C. Smith and J. Kettle. Flexible & Printed Electronics, 2 015005 (2017). DOI: 10.1088/2058-8585/aa6011
  • "Modification of physicochemical properties to control bacterial attachment to laser engineered surfaces", Alice R. Gillett, Simon D. Hodgson and Graham C. Smith, presentation at Synposium U: Engineered Surfaces to Control and Elucidate Cellular Response, E-MRS Conference, Warsaw, September (2017)
  • “3D printed graphene based energy storage devices”, Christopher. W. Foster, Michael. P. Down, Yan Zhang, Xiaobo Ji, Samuel J. Rowley-Neal, Graham C. Smith, Peter J. Kelly and Craig E. Banks, Nature Scientific Reports 7, 42233 (2017). DOI 10.1038/srep42233.
  • “X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy Analysis of Biochar”, G.C. Smith, Chap. 20 of “Biochar: A Guide to Analytical Methods”, Ed. B. Singh, M.C. Arbestain and J. Lehman. CRC Press / CSIRO Publishing, pp226 - 244, ISBN 9781486305094 (2017).
  • "A simluated gastric environment to model nitinol failure in oesophageal stents", Connor Weaver, Reace Edwards, Harriet Ball, Steven J. Black, Graham C. Smith, derek Edwards, Wasat Mansoor and Hans-Ulrich Laasch, presented at 11th Meeting Society of Gastrointestinal Intervention, Incheo, Korea, September (2017).
  • “Enhancing the antibacterial performance of orthopaedic implant materials by fibre laser surface engineering”, Chi-Wai Chan, Louise Carson, Graham C. Smith, Alessio Morelli and Seunghwan Lee, Applied Surface Science, 404, 67-81 (2017). DOI 10.1016/j.apsusc.2017.01.233.
  • “XPS Analysis of the chemical degradation of PTB7 polymers for organic photovoltaics”, J. Kettle, Z. Ding, M. Horie and G.C. Smith, Organic Electronics 39, 222-228 (2016).  DOI: 10.1016/j.orgel.2016.10.016
  • “Pencil It In: Exploring the Feasibility of Hand-drawn Pencil Electrochemical Sensors and their Direct Comparison to Screen-printed Electrodes”, Elena Bernalte, Christopher W. Foster, Dale A.C. Brownson, Morgane Mosna, Graham C. Smith and Craig E. Banks, Biosensors, 6, 45 (2016). DOI: 10.3390/bios6030045
  • “Mass-Producible 2D-MoSe2 Bulk Modified Screen-Printed Electrodes Provide Significant Electrocatalytic Outputs towards the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction”, Samuel J. Rowley-Neale, Dale A.C. Brownson, Christopher W. Foster, Graham C. Smith and Craig E. Banks, Sustainable Energy Fuels, 1, 74-83 (2017). DOI 10.1039/C6SE0015G
  • “2D Molybdenum Disulphide (2D-MoS2) Modified Electrodes Explored Towards the Oxygen Reduction Reaction”, , Samuel Rowley-Neale, Jamie Fearn, Dale A.C. Brownson, Graham C. Smith, Xiaobo Ji, and Craig Banks Nanoscale 8 14767-14777 (2016). DOI: 10.1039/C6NR04073J
  • “Fibre laser joining of dissimilar materials: Commercially pure Ti and PET hybrid joint for medical device applications”, C-W Chan and Graham C. Smith, Materials and Design 103, 278-292 (2016) DOI: 10.1016/j.matdes.2016.04.086
  • “In vitro mesenchymal stem cell response to a CO2 laser modified polymeric material”, D.G. Waugh, I. Hussain, J. Lawrence, G.C. Smith, D. Cosgrove and C. Toccaceli, Materials Science & Engineering C67, 727-736 (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.msec.2016.05.055
  • “Efficient solar cells are more stable: The impact of polymer molecular weight on performance of organic photovoltaics”, Z. Ding, J. Kettle,M. Horie, S.W. Chang, G.C. Smith,A. I. Shames and E. A. Katz, J. Mater. Chem. A DOI 10.1039/C6TA00721J (2016).
  • “Enhancement of Wear and Corrosion Resistance of Beta Titanium Alloy by Laser Gas Alloying with Nitrogen”, Chi-Wai Chan, Seunghwan Lee, Graham Smith, Gianluca Sarri, Chi-Ho Ng, Hau-Chung Man, Applied Surface Science 367, 80-90 (2016), DOI 10.1016/j.apsusc.2016.01.091
  • “Alternative selection of processing additives to enhance the lifetime of OPVs”, J. Kettle, H. Waters, M. Horie and G.C. Smith. J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. Vol. 49, 085601 (2016), DOI 10.1088/0022-3727/49/8/085601 
  • “2D nanosheet molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) modified electrodes explored towards the hydrogen evolution reaction” Samuel J. Rowley-Neale, Dale A. C. Brownson, Graham C. Smith, David A. G. Sawtell, Peter J. Kelly and Craig E. Banks. Nanoscale 7, 18152 (2015). DOI: 10.1039/c5nr05164a
  • “Development in laser peening of advanced ceramics”, P. Shukla, G.C. Smith, D.G. Waugh and J. Lawrence, Proceedings of the SPIE, 9657, 77-85 (2015).
  • "Graphite Screen-Printed Electrodes Applied for the Accurate and Reagentless Sensing of pH", Flávia E. Galdino, Jamie P. Smith, Sophie I. Kwamou, Dimitrios K. Kampouris, Jesus Iniesta, Graham C. Smith, Juliano. A. Bonacin and Craig E. Banks. Analytical Chemistry 87 (23), pp 11666–11672 (2015). DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b01236.
  • “Laser surface treatment of polyamide and NiTi alloy and the effects on mesenchymal stem cell response”, D.G. Waugh, J. Lawrence, P. Shukla, C. Chan, I. Hussain, H.C. Man and G.C. Smith, Proceedings of the SPIE, 9657, 86-92 (2015).
  • “Surface Studies of Anthropogenic Carbon”,G.C. Smith,Invited talk, UK Surface analysis Forum, Chester, 1 July 2015.
  • "Chemical changes in PCPDTBT:PCBM solar cells using XPS and TOF-SIMS and use of inverted device structure for improving lifetime performance", J. Kettle, H. Waters, Z. Ding, M. Horie and G.C. Smith, Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells, 141, 139-147 (2015) .
  • "Understanding the impact of cavitation on hydrocarbons in the middle distillate range". R.J. Price, D. Blazina, G.C. Smith and T.J. Davies. Fuel, 156, 30-39 (2015).
  • “X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy of surface films formed during the ASTM D-130 / ISO 2160 copper corrosion test”.  D.G. Reid and G.C. Smith. Petroleum Sci. Technol., 32(4), 387-394 (2014); DOI.10.1080/10916466.2011.588635
  • “Micro- and Nano-Analysis in Petroleum Production & Processing – Applications & Challenges”. G.C. Smith. Invited talk presented at Nano-Molecular Analysis for Emerging Technologies V”, Teddington, UK, 14-15 November 2012.
  • “Crude Oil Residues and Asphaltenes Studied by XPS, Ag L-a XPS, X-AES, R-EELS and EPES”. G.C. Smith. Poster presentation at 14th European Conference on Applications of Surface and Interface Analysis (ECASIA-11), Cardiff, September 2011.
  • “X-rays, Electrons and Crude Oil”. G.C. Smith. Invited talk at UK Surface Analysis Forum meeting, Bristol, 13 January 2010.
  • “Powder X-ray diffraction for process and product support in Shell Global Solutions”.G.C. Smith.  Invited talk at British Crystallographic Association Industry Group meeting, St. Helens, 5 November 2009.
  • “The influence of friction modifiers on ZDDP films”. S.M. Lundgren, R.I. Taylor and G.C. Smith.  Contributed talk at “Additives 2009: Fuels and Lubricants for Energy Efficient and Sustainable Transport”, Royal Society of Chemistry, York, 27-30 April 2009
  • “Friction and wear performance of diamond-like carbon and Cr-doped diamond-like carbon coatings in contact with steel surfaces.” H. Renondeau*, R.I. Taylor, G.C. Smithand A.A. Torrance. Proc. 34th Leeds-Lyon Symposium on Tribology, Lyon, 4-7 September 2007, published in Proc. I.Mech.E. Vol. 222 Part J: J. Eng. Tribology, 231-240 (2008), DOI: 10.1243/13506501JET336.
  • “Effects of low energy argon ion irradiation on the carbon 1s photoelectron line of highly oriented pyrolytic graphite.” R.A.P. Smith, G.C. Smith and P. Weightman. J. Electron Spectrosc. Relat. Phenom., 152(3), 152-157 (2006)
  • “SIMS depth profiling of rubber – tyre cord bonding layers prepared using 64Zn depleted ZnO”. W.S. Fulton, D.E. Sykes and G.C. Smith.  Proc. SIMS XV, Manchester, September 2005, Appl. Surf. Sci. 252, 7047-7077 (2006)
  • “Evaluation of a simple correction for the hydrocarbon contamination layer in quantitative surface analysis by XPS”. G.C. Smith.  J. Electron Spectrosc. Relat. Phenom., 148, 21-28 (2005).