Alexander Lunt (EP/UCM)


I am currently a senior fellow at CERN who is responsible for managing and operating the new Zeiss XB540 Focused Ion Beam (FIB) / Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) laboratory. The laboratory has been designed to facilitate high resolution (nanoscale) imaging and manipulation (milling and deposition) of a broad range of samples. I collaborate closely with many departments within CERN and perform studies on a diverse range of samples including thin films, pressure vessels, bulk assemblies, electrical components, insulating materials, beam interaction samples… to name a few.

About me

My background is based in materials engineering and I have recently (May 2016) finished my PhD at the University of Oxford. My thesis was entitled:

“Mechanical Microscopy of the Interface between Yttria-Partially-Stabilised Zirconia and Porcelain in Dental Prostheses.”

I have a broad range of academic interests however these can primarily be grouped into two main categories:

  • Synchrotron and neutron spallation research
    • Strain mapping, tomography, SAXS, WAXS, PDF analysis, SANS and WANS.
  • Microscopy and nanomechanics
    • SEM, FIB techniques, EDS, EBSD, STEM, TEM, nanoindentation, micropillar compression and splitting.

A list of my publications can be found on my google scholar page:

My ResearchGate profile can be found here: 

My LinkedIn profile can be found here:

Please send me an email for a copy of my CV if you are interested.

The XB540 FIB/SEM Laboratory

A recent article about the XB540 FIB/SEM laboratory can be found here:

The current system is capable of performing:

  • A broad range of SEM and FIB imaging techniques including:
    • Secondary Electron Secondary Ion (SESI) imaging for conventional sample imaging
    • InLens secondary electron imaging for high resolution (0.8 nm) imaging.
    • Energy selective Backscattered (EsB) imaging for threshold variable backscattered imaging.
    • A 4 quadrant BackScattered Detector (BSD) to facilitate topographical and elemental contrast imaging.
    • Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM) for very high resolution imaging (0.1 nm) of Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) lamellas.
  • A 4 axis Kleindiek micromanipulator for TEM lamella preparation and microscale manipulation.
  • An Oxford instruments Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) – Xmax 50 mm2 for Energy Dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy. Potential capabilities include:
    • Line, point and 2D surface mapping of elemental variation.
    • Transmission EDX of TEM lamellas for high resolution analysis.
    • Multi-layer thin film characterisation.
  • A gallium FIB source to facilitate:
    • Microscale cross sectional milling and surface treatment.
    • Platinum and carbon deposition through 2 independent gas injection systems.
    • 3D FIB tomography to reveal insight into the complete elemental and microstructural variation inside a microscale gauge region.
    • Microscale residual stress analysis using the ring-core FIB milling and digital image correlation technique (
  • ATLAS 5
    • For large area (up to cm) high resolution SEM imaging and automated stitching.

Within the laboratory we also have facilities for sample preparation including:

  • A Gatan Ilion+ II ion polishing machine for preparing high quality cross sections and planar milling
  • An Agar Scientific Low speed diamond saw for gentle sample sectioning
  • A well-equipped sample mounting workstation

Please get in touch if you have any requests or questions.

Last update: 14 May 2019

You are here