skip to primary navigationskip to content

The Nanoscience Centre

Cambridge University nanofabrication and characterisation facility

Studying at Cambridge

Dr Colm Durkan

Dr Colm Durkan

University Reader in Nanoscale Engineering

Fellow of Girton College

Office Phone: 60301


Colm Durkan is a Reader in Nanoscale Engineering at the University of Cambridge. He obtained his degree and PhD in Physics from Trinity College Dublin during which time he designed and constructed the first scanning near-field optical microscope (SNOM) in the country, and made significant advances in our understanding of the mechanisms behind image formation in such systems. He then spent a year in Konstanz, Germany working in collaboration with ZEISS on the construction of a commercial microscope system.

In 1997 he moved to the University of Cambridge, initially as a research associate in the Nanoscale Science group, and since 2000, as a faculty member. During this time he has led a research group consisting of around 10 members, been head of the Nanoscience centre for two years (2009-2010), published over 60 papers, given over 100 talks, written a successful textbook on Nanoelectronics, and developed several scanning-probe microscopes and new measurement techniques.

Colm has secured funding from and collaborated with several leading companies as well as government funding agencies, to the tune of over £3 Million in the past few years. He lectures and teaches in electronics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics and nanotechnology. He is on the editorial board of Ultramicroscopy and Imaging & Microscopy, and is a fellow of Girton College, Cambridge and the Institute of Physics.

Departments and Institutes

University Reader in Nanoscale Engineering

Research Interests

My group carries out research at the heart of Nanoscience. We develop novel imaging and measurement techniques for probing the properties of matter at the nanometre scale. We also explore the effect of nanoscale patterning on the electrical and magnetic properties of materials, and are working on the development of molecular electronic device architectures.


  • Nano-ferroelectrics
  • Scanning Probe Microscopy

Key Publications