Professor Richard Palmer


Richard Palmer

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Job title: Senior Research Fellow, Head of the Nanomaterials Lab
Division: College of Engineering
Organisation: Swansea University
Tags: Fellowship: Established Career Fellowship, Fellowship: Previous Fellow, Swansea University
Related theme: Energy Engineering Healthcare technologies Manufacturing the future Physical Sciences Quantum technologies


Richard heads the Nanomaterials Laboratory in the College of Engineering at Swansea University's new Bay Campus. His awards include the CV Boys Medal of the IOP, the Yarwood Medal of the British Vacuum Council and an Honorary Doctorate from Hasselt University, Belgium. He is a Fellow of the IOP, RSC and Learned Society of Wales. He is also Professor of Physics at Nanjing University, China and Editor-in-Chief of Advances in Physics: X.

My Fellowship

My Fellowship aims to demonstrate novel technology which will enable massive scale-up of the rate of production of size-selected atomic clusters. The remarkable physical and chemical properties of such nano-clusters (or nanoparticles) depend on the number of atoms they contain and differ dramatically from the corresponding individual atoms and bulk solids.

They have many potential applications in catalysis, optoelectronic materials, biochips, radiotherapy, and so on; the field is currently limited by the modest cluster beam currents available. I have invented a new kind of source, the Matrix Assembly Cluster Source (MACS), which may be able to scale up cluster production by 6-7 orders of magnitude (from the microgram to gram scale and beyond).

The project aims to turn this vision into reality, creating the opportunities for radical advances in advanced technology, and also making possible new fundamental physical measurements which are not currently possible with dilute samples of these quantum systems.

Motivation to Apply

The most appealing features of the Fellowship are the freedom it brings to focus on research over an extended period and the consolidation of different research grants into one flexible award.

Career benefits of Fellowship

The Fellowship has allowed me to set out a very ambitious research program which has the potential (if things go well!) to transform my research field.

Advice for future applicants

Check whether your interests match one of the categories where fellowship applications are invited. Also be realistic, it's a very attractive award so competition is going to be strong - I say this as a panel member rather than as an award holder!