Professor George Smith FRS
George Smith is a materials scientist who helped to develop atom probe tomography, a technique capable of imaging individual atoms in a solid to determine their arrangement as well as their chemical composition. George subsequently commercialised his instruments, which have been adopted for use by researchers around the world.
The technique was born of George’s research into the closely related field ion microscopy. Over many years, he built up a world-leading research group and atom probe facility, which transformed atom probe tomography into a powerful technique for the study of materials on the nanoscale in three dimensions.
By applying the atom probe to investigate alloys such as steel, George revealed structural changes that occur under conditions with relevance to industrial settings — heating and irradiation, for example. He also extended the technique to semiconductors by using laser pulsing to remove surface atoms for analysis, overcoming issues that previously limited their application.
Interests and expertise