You are here

Dr Alex Robertson

Junior Research Fellow in Materials


I studied for an MPhys degree at the University of Durham and then moved to Oxford to complete a PhD in Materials Science. Graduating in 2013, I spent a further few years as a post-doctoral researcher in Oxford, co-funded by the Korea Institute for Energy Research, followed by a post-doc in the Pacific Northwest National Lab in the USA. I secured a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to help found my own research group, taking it up in Oxford at the start of 2018, following which I joined Queen’s as a JRF.


As a research fellow I undertake limited teaching, however I do currently supervise crystallography examples classes and lecture complex numbers plus integrals to first-year Materials Science undergraduates. I also supervise PhD students in my research group.


My background was in the synthesis and characterisation of two-dimensional materials, focussing on this as both a student and for my first post-doc. These materials include graphene, which is a single atomic layer of carbon atoms that has a suite of impressive properties. Using a powerful type of microscopy – transmission electron microscopy (TEM) – I was able to directly image their atomic structure, which had important implications for understanding the fundamental processes that govern material behaviour.

I have now established a research group that uses similar TEM techniques to understand the latest materials for rechargeable batteries. These materials undergo complex chemistry during their charge and discharge of the battery, leading to their degradation and potential failure (e.g. fire!).


I have over 70 publications in peer-reviewed journals and more than 3,000 citations. Highlighted papers:

Robertson, A. W.†; Zhu, G.; Mehdi, B. L.; Jacobs, R. M. J.; De Yoreo, J. J.; Browning, N. D. Nanoparticle Immobilization for Controllable Experiments in Liquid-Cell Transmission Electron Microscopy. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 2018, 10, 22801-22808.

Fan, Y. Robertson, A. W.†; Zhou, Y.; Chen, Q.; Zhang, X.; Browning, N. D.; Zheng, H.; Rummeli, M. H.; Warner, J. H. Electrical Breakdown of Suspended Mono- and Few-Layer Tungsten Disulfide via Sulfur Depletion Identified by in Situ Atomic Imaging. ACS Nano. 2017, 11, 9435-9444.

Robertson, A. W.†; Lee, G. –D.; He, K.; Fan, Y.; Allen, C. S.; Lee, S.; Kim, H.; Yoon, E.; Zheng, H.; Kirkland, A. I.; Warner,J. H. Partial Dislocations in Graphene and their Atomic Level Migration Dynamics. Nano Lett. 2015, 9, 5950-5955.

Kim, H.; Robertson, A. W.†; Kim, S. O.; Kim, J. M.; Warner, J. H. Resilient High Catalytic Performance of Platinum Nanocatalysts with Porous Graphene Envelope. ACS Nano. 2015, 9, 5947–5957. Front cover. Featured in Research Highlights of Nature Nanotechnology.

Robertson, A. W.; Warner, J. H. Hexagonal Single Crystal Domains of Few-Layer Graphene on Copper Foils. Nano Lett. 2011, 11, 1182–1189.

See my websites at and for a full list.