Accessibility statement

Dr Laura Clark

Royal Society University Research Fellow


Areas of Expertise: 

    • (Scanning) Transmission Electron Microscopy
    • Ptychography and Differential Phase Contrast imaging
    • Image simulations for (S)TEM
    • Beam shaping and aperture design
    • Low-dose imaging for beam sensitive materials, modelling and analyses
    • Fourier optics analysis






I am a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the School of Physics, Engineering and Technology at the University of York.  My research focuses on technique development to improve the imaging capabilities of (scanning) transmission electron microscopes.

I currently hold committee roles within both the Institute of Physics Electron Microscopy and Analysis Group (IOP-EMAG) and the Royal Microscopical Society (RMS). Supporting my collaborations with other research groups, I also hold visiting researcher positions at the University of Oxford (Materials department), the University of Leeds (Chemical Engineering department) and the electron Physical Science Imaging Centre (ePSIC) at the Diamond facility in Harwell.

Having completed my undergraduate and MSc degrees here in York, I moved to the EMAT laboratory at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) to undertake my PhD research, developing beam shaping techniques in the (S)TEM. I then moved to Monash University (Australia) to work with Scott Findlay on phase-contrast methods. Returning to the UK via a couple of short-term positions (including working with the Nellist and Kirkland groups at Oxford Materials), I held a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship (2020-2022) as part of the LEMAS group at the University of Leeds before taking up my Royal Society University Research Fellowship at York in November 2022.



My up-to-date publication list is maintained on Google Scholar: 

Particular highlights include:

  • European Microscopy Society Outstanding Paper 2020 (Materials Science) Rothmann, M.U., Kim, J.S., Borchert, J., Lohmann, K.B., O’Leary, C.M., Sheader, A.A., Clark, L., Snaith, H.J., Johnston, M.B., Nellist, P.D. and Herz, L.M., 2020. Atomic-scale microstructure of metal halide perovskite. Science, 370(6516), p.eabb5940.
  • Clark, L., Brown, H.G., Paganin, D.M., Morgan, M.J., Matsumoto, T., Shibata, N., Petersen, T.C. and Findlay, S.D., 2018. Probing the limits of the rigid-intensity-shift model in differential-phase-contrast scanning transmission electron microscopy. Physical Review A, 97(4), p.043843.
  • Physical Review Letters Cover Image and Editors’ Highlight
    Clark, L., Béché, A., Guzzinati, G., Lubk, A., Mazilu, M., Van Boxem, R. and Verbeeck, J., 2013. Exploiting lens aberrations to create electron-vortex beams. Physical Review Letters, 111(6), p.064801.



My research group focuses on pushing electron microscopes beyond their current limits – enabling higher-resolution images, more information-rich data, and quantitative analyses.  This work includes theoretical modelling, computational simulation and experimental development of advanced methods on (scanning) transmission electron microscopes ((S)TEMs).

Modern scanning transmission electron microscopes, such as those in the York Nanocentre, can routinely form atomic-resolution images of some stable materials. However, many societally important materials – such as components of solar cells, or new battery materials – as well as softer pharmaceutical and biological systems cannot be imaged so clearly, as the electron beam used to form the image also damages these softer materials during the imaging process. 

One aspect of my work involves finding ways around this beam damage, enabling clear images of these valuable materials – which my materials science collaborators can then use to further improve the functional properties of the materials they are developing. Other focuses of my work include developing quantitative imaging and analysis pipelines for (S)TEM data, and enabling simultaneous imaging of the structural and functional structures of complex samples.