Portrait of Dr Francis Sweeney Dr Francis Sweeney

f.sweeney@hud.ac.uk | 01484 471643


I started my position as a Post-doctorial Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield in Novemeber 2011 and am a member of the EMMA Group. My primary role is to promote the use of electron microscopy in research areas where electron microscopy and its associated techniques can add value. At the university we have a Quanta 250 FEG SEM, Quanta 3D FIB, JEOL 3010F TEM, JEOL 200 TEM and JEOL 6060LV SEM. Currently I am using the microscopes to investigate wear in CrCo hip joints; investigate the chemical composition of break disks and pads; investigate the size distribution of Cobalt nanoparticles and also look at the failure mechanisms of V-Clamps used in the Automotive and Aircraft Industry.

I spent five years as a post-doc at the University of Sheffield where with Prof. John Rodenburg I worked on a new and innovative way of going beyond the standard resolution limit of transmission electron microscope. During the coarse of the project I gained extensive expertise in TEM and STEM. My main achievements were to identify the main experimental/instruementation hurdles related to the modification of a standard TEM which makes ptychography challenging i.e. probe positioning, drift and scanning instruementation problems.

During my first one year post-doc at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. I modified a FEI  Sirion SEM to carry out Electron Channelling Contrast Imaging (ECCI). I obtained and acquired the first ECCI images of dislocations in Gallium Nitride at the Strathclyde. During my PhD I characterised both the structural and optical properties of III-V nitride semiconductors using Electron Backscattered Diffraction and Cathodoluminescence Spectroscopy respectfully. 

Research and Scholarship

The main areas of research is materials characterisation using Transmission Electron Microscopy; Scanning Electron Microscopy and Focused Ion Beam processing. Currently I am working on investigating nanoparticles with TEM, looking wear in hip joints, investigating wear and fatigue in automotive parts such as break discs and pads and V-Clamps. I am also interested in photo-voltaic materials and semiconducting materials. My main research interests lye in technique development.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Laity, P., Asare-Addo, K., Sweeney, F., �upuk, E. and Conway, B. (2015) ‘Using small-angle X-ray scattering to investigate the compaction behaviour of a granulated clayApplied Clay Science , 108, pp. 149-164. ISSN 01691317


Elrawemi, M., Blunt, L., Fleming, L., Bird, D., Robbins, D. and Sweeney, F. (2014) ‘Modelling water vapor permeability through atomic layer deposition coated photovoltaic barrier defectsThin Solid Films , 570A, pp. 101-106. ISSN 00406090

Rout, S., Radford, J., Laws, A., Sweeney, F., Elmekawy, A., Gillie, L. and Humphreys, P. (2014) ‘Biodegradation of the Alkaline Cellulose Degradation Products Generated during Radioactive Waste Disposal.PLoS ONE , 9 (9), p. e107433. ISSN 1932-6203

Hinks, J., Haigh, S., Greaves, G., Sweeney, F., Pan, C., Young, R. and Donnelly, S. (2014) ‘Dynamic Microstructural Evolution of Graphite under Displacing IrradiationCarbon , 68, pp. 273-284. ISSN 0008-6223


Elrawemi, M., Blunt, L., Fleming, L. and Sweeney, F. (2013) ‘Further Development of Surface Metrology Methods for Predicting the Functional Performance of Flexible PV Barrier FilmsSurface Topography: Metrology and Properties , 1 (1), p. 015006. ISSN 2051-672X

Blunt, L., Elrawemi, M., Fleming, L. and Sweeney, F. (2013) ‘Correlation of micro and nano–scale defects with WVTR for aluminium oxide barrier coatings for flexible photovoltaic modulesInternational Journal of Precision Technology , 3 (3), pp. 290-302. ISSN 1755-2060


Claus, D., Maiden, A., Zhang, F., Sweeney, F., Humphry, M., Schluesener, H. and Rodenburg, J. (2012) ‘Quantitative phase contrast optimised cancerous cell differentiation via ptychographyOptics Express , 20 (9), p. 9911. ISSN 1094-4087


Angelsky, O., Claus, D., Schluesener, H., Maiden, A., Zhang, F., Sweeney, F., Humphry, M. and Rodenburg, J. (2011) ‘Ptychography: a powerful phase retrieval technique for biomedical imaging’. In: Tenth International Conference on Correlation Optics. Chernivtsi, Ukraine: SPIE. p. 83381G-83381G.

Claus, D., Maiden, A., Costa, M., Zhang, F., Hurst, A., Edo, T., Sweeney, F., Rodenburg, J., Schluesener, H. and Humphry, M. (2011) ‘Ptychography: a novel phase retrieval technique, advantages and its application’. In: Proceedings of SPIE 8001, International Conference on Applications of Optics and Photonics. Braga, Portugal: SPIE. pp. 800109-800109.


H�e, F., Rodenburg, J., Maiden, A., Sweeney, F. and Midgley, P. (2010) ‘Wave-front phase retrieval in transmission electron microscopy via ptychographyPhysical Review B , 82 (12). ISSN 1098-0121

Atkinson, K., Sweeney, F. and Rodenburg, J. (2010) ‘Solving for the phase of STEM probes in real spaceJournal of Physics: Conference Series , 241 (1), p. 012064. ISSN 1742-6596


Atkinson, K., Sweeney, F. and Rodenburg, J. (2008) ‘STEM probe characteristics at large defoci for use in ptychographical imagingJournal of Physics: Conference Series , 126 (1), p. 012092. ISSN 1742-6596

Research Degree Supervision

I currently supervising PhD students working on the scanning electron microscope and also the transmission electron microscope. I am currently helping Katie Gammon on here project with Sue Kilcoyne and Borg Warner looking at fatigue of components used in the automotive industry. Also I am helping Glynn and Jeremy Hoopwood with the TEM analysis of particulate found in the water pipes.

Current opportunities

  • Please contact this member of staff to discuss possible opportunities.

Enterprise Activities

I am currently working on a project that involves a company called Diodes which are based in Oldham. The hope is we may enter a KTP together at some point in the near future.

Teaching and Professional Activities

I am responsible for setting up the SEM coffee club meetings here at the University. I am also a module tutor for Foundation Mathmatics CPM4005. I also train individuals in the use of TEM/SEM and FIB as part of my duties.