Contact NeilProf Neil AlfordAssociate Provost (Academic Planning)

New energy materials and thin films for the design of future electronics

The 21st century will be dominated by communications and data. Future devices will need to handle ever larger quantities of data using less energy. They will also need to continue to work despite the rapidly growing numbers of connected devices. Breakthrough materials discoveries promise future electronics that will continue to function well in a world increasingly full of electronic 'noise'. Like the discovery of the laser, for which new applications continue to be discovered even fifty years later, the potential of these new materials has only just started to be explored. New energy materials and thin films will revolutionize fields ranging from sensing and medical imaging to radio astronomy and space communications.

I'm curious about..."how new materials can tackle pressing challenges in electronics and communications, such as the growing problem of electromagnetic noise."Neil Alford


Neil Alford received his science degree from St Andrews University before spending three years working in Southeast Asia and South America in the oil exploration industry. After his return to the UK, he completed his PhD at Queen Mary College and carried out postdoctoral work at Oxford University. He joined ICI Corporate Laboratory in 1981 and London South Bank University in 1994. Neil joined the Department of Materials at Imperial College in 2007 and in 2013 was awarded an MBE for services to Engineering.


Neil’s research interests include exploring the physical and mechanical properties of:

  • energy materials
  • microwave dielectric materials
  • ferroelectric materials
  • functional thin films, such as the new “super material” graphene.

Foresight and futures work

World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2016
The Future of Materials: The Imperial College London IdeasLab
London Diplomatic Science Club

Profile Credits

Kit Huckvale, Pete Papathanasiou