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About Prof Graham Smith, BSc, PhD, F.Inst.P. C.Phys.

Graham joined the University to act as Founding Head of the former Department of Natural Sciences, developing physics- and chemistry-based programmes with emphasis on practical skills, employability and industry relevance.

Before joining the University he 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. Graham has also worked at the UK National Physical Laboratory and with a small scientific instrument company.

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

Graham is a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society and was previously a long-standing committee member and former chair of the UK Surface Analysis Forum. See his full profile on LinkedIn and follow his research on ResearchGate, ORCID and Google Scholar.


  • 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.
  • PhD project supervision



Graham's 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. This 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. Also using electron microscopy to investigate topography and element spatial distributions.

These techniques have been used 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, correction procedures have beend developed 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 his recent work, the use of these techniques has been extended to study the biological properties of surfaces and the interaction of medical device materials with the human bodily environment.

Follow Graham's research on Google Scholar, ORCID and Research Gate.

Published Work

Selected journal publications and conference presentations

  • “Magnetic cationic liposomal nanocarriers for the efficient drug delivery of a curcumin-based vanadium complex with anticancer potential”, Eleftherios Halevas, Barbara Mavroidi, Claudia Swanson, Spyros Hadjispyrou, Athanasios Salifoglou, Alexandra Moschona, Maria Pelecanou, Graham Smith, Anastasia Pantazaki, George Litsardakis, J. Inorganic Biochemistry 199, 110778 (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio2019.110778.

  • “Next-Generation Additive Manufacturing of Complete Standalone Sodium-Ion Energy Storage Architectures”, Michael P. Down, Emiliano Martínez-Periñán, Christopher W. Foster, Encarnación Lorenzo, Graham. C. Smith, and Craig E. Banks, Advanced Energy Materials 9, 1803019 (2019). DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201803019.

  • “Additively Manufactured Graphitic Electrochemical Sensing Platforms”, Foster, Christopher; Mamdouh, Hadil; Down, Michael; Keefe, Edmund; Smith, Graham; Banks, Craig, Chemical Engineering Journal (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2019.122343

  • "Next Generation Additive Manufacturing: Tailorable Graphene / Polylactic(acid) Filaments allow the Fabrication of 3D Printable Porous Anodes for Lithium-ion Batteries", Christopher William Foster, PhD; Guo-Qiang Zou; Yunling Jiang; Michael P. Down; Christopher M. Liauw; Alejandro Garcia-Miranda Ferrari; Xiaobo Ji; Graham C. Smith; Peter J. Kelly; Craig E. Banks, Batteries & Supercaps 2, 1 – 7 (2019) DOI: 10.1002/batt.201800148

  • “Fibre laser treatment of beta TNZT titanium alloys for load-bearing implant applications: Effects of surface physical and chemical features on mesenchymal stem cell response and Staphylococcus aureus bacterial attachment”, Clare Donaghy, Ryan McFadden, Graham Smith, Sophia Kelaini, Louise Carson, Savko Malinov, Andriana Margariti and Chi-Wai Chan, Coatings 9(3) 186 (2019). DOI: 10.3390.coatings9030186.

  • “The Physicochemical Investigation of Hydrothermally Reduced Textile Waste and Application within Carbon-Based Electrodes”, Edward P. Randviir, Omar Kanou, Christopher M. Liauw, Gary J. Miller, Hayley G. Andrews and Graham C Smith, RSC Advances 9, 11239-11252 (2019) DOI: 10.1039/c9ra00175a

  • "MoS2-graphene-CuNi2S4 Nanocomposite an Efficient Electrocatalyst for Hydrogen Evolution Reaction", Adarakatti, Prashanth; Mahanthappa, Mallappa; Hughes, Jack; Rowley-Neale, Samuel; Smith, Graham; Siddaramanna, Ashoka; Banks, Craig, submitted to International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (2019)

  • “A novel ‘bottom-up’ synthesis of few- and multi-layer graphene platelets with partial oxidation via cavitation”, Richard Price, Paul Ladislaus, Graham C. Smith and Trevor Davies, Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 56, 466-473 (2019) DOI: 10.1016/j.ultsonch.2019.03.020

  • “Nanodiamond based surface modified screen-printed electrodes for the simultaneous voltammetric determination of dopamine and uric acid”, Marina Baccarin, Samuel Rowley-Neale, Eder T.G. Cavalheiro, Graham C. Smith and Craig Banks, Microchimica Acta 186(3) 200 (2019) DOI: 10.1007/s00604-019-3315-y.

  • “High performing AgNWs transparent conducting electrodes with 2.5 Ω Sq-1 based upon Roll-to-Roll compatible post processing technique”, Dinesh Kumar, Vasil Stoichkov, Emmanuel Brousseau, Graham C. Smith and Jeff Kettle, Nanoscale (2019) Advance Article. DOI: 10.1039/c8nr07974a.

  • “In-depth synthetic, physicochemical and in vitro biological investigation of a new ternary V(IV) antioxidant material based on curcumin”, Eleftherios Halevas, Theodoros Papadopoulos, Claudia H. Swanson, Graham C. Smith, Antonios Hatzidimitriou, Georgios Katsipis, Anastasia Pantazaki, Ioannis Sanakis, George Mitrikas, Konstantinos Ypsilantis, George Litsardakis, Athanasios Salifoglou, J. Inorganic Biochemistry 191 94-111 (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2018.10.010.

  • “Exploring the Electrochemical Performance of Graphite and Graphene Paste Electrodes Composed of Varying Lateral Flake Sizes”, Anthony Slate, Dale Brownson, Ahmed Abo Dena, Graham C. Smith, Kathryn Whitehead and Craig Banks, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 20, 20010 – 20022 (2018). DOI 10.1039/c8cp02196a.

  • “Fibre Laser Treatment of Martensitic NiTi Alloys for Load-bearing Implant Applications: Effects of Surface Chemistry on Inhibiting the Staphylococcus Aureus Biofilm Formation”, Chi-Wai Chan, Louise Carson and Graham C. Smith, Surface and Coatings Technology 349, 488-502 (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2018.06.015

  • “Fabrication of graphene oxide supercapacitor devices”, Michael Down, Samuel James Rowley-Neale, Graham C. Smith and Craig Banks, ACS Applied Energy Materials, 1(2) 707-714 (2018). DOI: 10.1021/acsaem.7b00164

  • “A preliminary study to enhance the tribological performance of CoCrMo alloy by laser remelting for articular joint implant applications”, Chi-Wai Chan, Graham C. Smith and Seunghwan Lee, Lubricants , Special Issue Biolubrication and Biomimetic Lubrication, 6, 24 - 40 (2018). DOI: 10.3390/lubricants6010024

  • “Using sub-micron silver-nanoparticle based films to counter biofilm formation by Gram-negative bacteria”, A.R. Gillett; S.N. Baxter, S.D. Hodgson, G.C. Smith and P.J. Thomas, Applied Surface Science 442, 288-297 (2017). DOI 10.1016/j.apsusc.2018.02.116

  • “Graphene oxide electrochemistry: The electrochemistry of graphene oxide modified electrodes reveals coverage dependent beneficial electrocatalysis”, Dale Brownson, Graham C. Smith & Craig Banks, Royal Society Open Science 4: 171128 (2017). DOI 10.1098/rsos.171128.

  • "Mass Producible 2D-MoS2 Impregnated Screen-Printed Electrodes that Demonstrate Efficient Electrocatalysis towards the Oxygen Reduction Reaction", Authors: Rowley-Neale, Samuel; Smith, Graham; Banks, Craig, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces 9(27) 22539-22548 (2017) doi 10.1021/acsami.7b05104

  • "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

  • “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

  • "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.

  • “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).



  • BSc in Applied Physics and Electronics from the University of Durham
  • PhD in Experimental Surface Physics from the University of Leicester
  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics (F.Inst.P.)
  • Chartered Physicist (C.Phys.)
  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (M.R.S.C.)
  • Chartered Chemist (C.Chem.)
  • Chartered Scientist (C.Sci.)
  • Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society (F.R.M.S.)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (F.H.E.A.)