Dr. Joe Smerdon

Guild Research Fellow

School of Physical Sciences and Computing

Leighton Building, LE006 and Maudland Building, MB028

+44 (0) 1772 89 2700 (office) 6415 (lab)

Subject Areas: Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science

Joe leads the Nanophysics research group. Our interests include scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy of molecules at surfaces, graphene growth and other atomic-scale science. He is interested in both blue-sky research and research with applications in energy science, e.g. photovoltaics (primarily organic) and catalysis.

Joe is research active within the area of physics. He leads the Experimental Nanophysics Group and is a member of the Nanophysics and Magnetic Materials Research Group and the Institute of Physics

Full Profile

Joe Smerdon started his Nanophysics/Surface Science career with a PhD in the group of Ronan McGrath at the University of Liverpool, thesis title ‘The formation and characterisation of aperiodic ultra-thin films on the surfaces of quasicrystals’. He stayed on in the group as postdoc for several years before moving to Argonne National Laboratory (Chicago, USA) to design and build a new type of atomic-resolution microscope that would incorporate lasers to achieve femtosecond temporal resolution simultaneously with picometre spatial resolution.

During this project he maintained output in basic research, focusing on archetypal organic semiconductors. This work led to several high-profile publications exploring the interactions between organic semiconductors at the atomic scale.

He returned to the University of Liverpool for a short time in 2012 before taking a Guild Research Fellowship in UCLan in early 2013. Following commissioning work, as of July 2015, the Nanophysics Research Laboratory – an ultra-high vacuum Surface Science laboratory - is working and producing results; our current focus is graphene precursor molecules on ideal metal substrates.


PhD Physics, University of Liverpool, 2006
BSc Physics, University of Liverpool, 2002



Undergraduate projects








Molecules on quasicrystals
Molecules on graphene
Molecules on insulating films
Molecular manipulation










Nanophysics, surface science, molecular electronics, graphene, nanoelectronics












Chiral ‘Pinwheel’ Heterojunctions Self-Assembled from C60 and Pentacene. J. A. Smerdon, R. B. Rankin, J. P. Greeley, N. P. Guisinger and J. R. Guest ACS Nano 7 3086-3094 2013

Structural and Electronic Decoupling of C60 from Epitaxial Graphene on SiC. J. Cho, J. A. Smerdon, L. Gao, O. Süzer, J. R. Guest and N. P. Guisinger Nano Lett. 12 3018-3024 2012

Monolayer and bilayer pentacene on Cu(111). J.A.Smerdon, M.Bode, N.P.Guisinger and J.R.Guest Phys. Rev. B, 84 165436 2011

The various growth modes of metals on quasicrystals invited review J.A.Smerdon J.Phys.:Condens. Matt. 22 433002 2010

More publications


Graphene: made to measure; Giant-rectification molecular Schottky diodes


SSD@UCLan, 22nd June 2015


UCLan Physics Wordpress


Honorary Fellow, University of Liverpool

External Activities

Honorary Fellow, University of Liverpool

MInstP (Member of the Institute of Physics)