Professor Beverley J Inkson

MA PhD (Cantab) FIMMM

School of Chemical, Materials and Biological Engineering

Professor of Nanostructured Materials

Beverley Inkson
Profile picture of Beverley Inkson
+44 114 222 5925

Full contact details

Professor Beverley J Inkson
School of Chemical, Materials and Biological Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

Beverley Inkson is Professor of Nanostructured Materials and Director of the Sheffield NanoLAB. Previously she obtained her MA (Physics) and PhD (Aerospace Alloys) at The University of Cambridge, was a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute, Germany, and a Royal Society URF in Nanomechanics at the University of Oxford.

Beverley is currently Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences section of The Royal Microscopical Society, and Director of the PicoFIB International Network for Gas-Ion Microscopy.

Research interests

Advanced structural materials
We focus on improving the microstructure of structural/functional materials down to the nanoscale, generating better mechanical strength and tribology (low friction and reduced wear), and thereby improving product lifetime and energy consumption. Applications include ceramic/metal composites (e.g. bearings, hips, oral implants), additive manufactured components and hierarchical battery electrodes.

In-situ/in Operando Materials Characterisation
We are pioneering research into new technologies that enable materials to be tested inside electron/ion microscopes (FIB/SEM/TEM), so that their mechanical and electrical properties can be measured at the same time as they are imaged with detail 1000x better than the human eye. These in-situ/in operando methods (sometimes called ‘4D’ = 3D + time) give us new information on how materials and devices behave, stick together (welding) and fail in the micro-nanoscale dimensions, leading to opportunities for better system design e.g. of electronics and batteries.

Advanced Materials Characterisation
We are continually developing materials characterisation techniques to evaluate the 3D structure of materials for a wide range of industrial and environmental applications. We have particular expertise in 3D imaging/tomography (FIB, TEM), nanomechanics (manipulation, nanoindentation), nano-microscale tribology (friction, wear, surface profilometry/interferometry), and advanced electron/ion microscopy (FIB/SEM/TEM). We lead the PicoFIB International Network for development of Gas-Ion Microscopy.

Key projects/applications

  • 3D FIB/Xray tomography of defect geometries in structural ceramics (EPSRC/SKF Ltd)
  • Dynamical mechanisms of particle flow and tribological processes (EPSRC Friction Programme Grant
  • Solving the puzzle of friction variability in semiconductor chip manufacturing (EPSRC iT-CDT/ASML Ltd)
  • Improving the surface condition and tribology of Additive Manufacture alloys (Turkish Government)
  • The PicoFIB International Network for Gas-Ion Microscopy (Leverhulme Trust)
  • Nanoscale evaluation of air pollution particulates (The Grantham Institute)
  • Nanostructured Li-ion Battery anodes (EPSRC ESA-CDT)
  • Nanostructured Li-ion Battery cathodes (EPSRC ESA-CDT/Johnson Matthey)
  • Tribology of oral care products (EPSRC/Unilever Plc)

Research Links


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Research group


  • Adam Baggott (FIB/Xray Tomography of structural ceramics)
  • Dr Mingwen Bai (Mechanics/in-situ SEM of structural composites)
  • Arron Bird (Mechanics/in-situ SEM of ceramics)
  • Carlos Brambila Renteria (Lead Dr Moebus)
  • Idris Gulenc (Tribology of Additive Manufacture alloys)
  • Kirsi Leinonen (Co-ordinator PicoFIB)
  • Maria del Carmen Redondo Bermudez (Lead Prof Jorgenson)
  • Connor Smyth (Nanostructured Li-ion Battery anodes)
  • Laura Wheatcroft (Nanostructured Li-ion Battery cathodes)

Project students:

  • Jiayu Li (Surface patterning of ceramics)
  • Lun Luo (Surface patterning of ceramics)
  • Harry Unsworth (Processing of Li-ion Battery cathodes)
Professional activities and memberships
  • Director of International PicoFIB network – Gas-Ion Beam Microscopy (2017-)
  • Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences section of The Royal Microscopical Society (2015-)
  • Governing Council Member, The Royal Microscopical Society (2015-)
  • Scientific Organising Committee mmc2017, mmc2019
  • EPSRC Peer Review College
  • Director of MSE Bronze Athena Swan Award (2013) & MSE Silver Athena Swan Award (2016)
  • Visiting Distinguished Professor, School of Physical Science and Technology Lanzhou University (2013-2016)
  • Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal Materials Characterisation (2007-19)
  • Member: RMS, IOM3, IOP
  • Director of the RCUK Basic Technology programme in Nanorobotics (2005-13)
  • Director of the Sheffield NanoLAB
  • IOM3 Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology committee
  • Director UK NanoFIB network – Focused Ion Beam Microscopy (2001-07)
Women in Engineering

We interviewed Beverley for the Faculty of Engineering's Wall of Women about how she found herself working in an Engineering discipline. Here's Beverley's interview:

The Wall of Women profiles were taken over a 4/5 year time period and are a snapshot of what our engineers were doing at that time.