Professor David Keeble

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My major areas of expertise and experience are the application of Electron Magnetic Resonance methods and Positron Annihilation Techniques to the study of problem in Materials Physics. These probes give a diverse range of fascinating insights on the local atomic scale environment, from measuring distances between single spin probe molecules to detecting the presence of missing atom defects, vacancies. To this end I run a Materials Physics research group at University of Dundee, which has interests both in electronic materials and biomolecules.

The methods we employ allow the identification and local structure determination of atomic scale defects in materials, for example vacancy defects, other native point defects, and impurity atom defects. The group also increasingly uses Density Functional Theory and other electronic structure calculation methods to aide interpretation of the experimental results. We also collaborates with structural biochemists, at Dundee and elsewhere, exploring biophysical applications of EMR for nanometre scale distance measurements in biomolecules and have an interest in local structure determinations at magnetic metal ion sites.

The group enjoys strong local, UK, and international, collaborations. It has joint funding, and shares EMR facilities, with Dr. Graham Smith's mm-Wave and ESR group at University of St Andrews. The group also collaborates with Dr. David Norman from the Nucleic Acid Structure Research Group here at Dundee. We are also fortunate to be able to work closely with Professor Paul Coleman at the University of Bath where we use his low energy positron beam facilities. Positron measurements on thin film samples are also made using the high flux positron beam at the research reactor FRMII at Munich Technical University.

The group has developed particular expertise in the characterisation of technologically relevant point defects in perovskite oxide materials, mainly Ferroelectric materials.

Before joining University of Dundee I was a member of the Physics Faculty at Michigan Technological University for eight years, and maintained an Adjunct Associate Professor position for a period after my move to Dundee. During my time at Michigan Tech I was awarded and National Research Council Senior Fellowship to study point defects in materials and was a visiting scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. My BSc and PhD degrees in Physics were obtained from Keele University and I held a postdoctoral position with Professor M.C.R. Symons FRS, University of Leicester.

I have recently served a term as chair of the IOP Materials and Characterisation Group, and currently am the group secretary. I serve on the IOP in Scotland committee as Tayside local organiser, and am shortly also taken on the position of treasurer. I am the IOP Higher Education Representative for University of Dundee. I was on the EPSRC Ferroelectrics Network steering committee, and organised, along with Dr Finlay Morrison, University of St Andrews, the Ferroelectrics UK 2007 meeting here in Dundee. The group hosted the 2006 UK Positron Physics Workshop. We are also active members of the EU COST P15 action "Advanced paramagnetic resonance methods in molecular biophysics", and I currently serve on the RSC Electron Spin Resonance Group committee.

Professional biography

  • Ph.D. Physics, Keele University "Electron paramagnetic resonance studies of spin-labelled ethidium bromide DNA interactions"
  • B.Sc.(Hons) Physics, Keele University


  • Materials Physics
  • Electron magnetic resonance methods
  • Positron annihilation techniques
  • Ferroelectric and related materials
  • Semiconductors
  • Biophysics
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PhD Projects

Principal supervisor