Arthur Blackburn, Principal Investigator

Arthur is the Hitachi High-Tech Canada Research Chair, Co-Director of the Advanced Microscopy Facility and Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Victoria. Prior to joining the University of Victoria, he was a Senior Research Scientist in the Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory, embedded with the University of Cambridge, Cavendish Laboratory, where he progressed to this role after completing his PhD within the University of Cambridge, Department of Physics.

He moved to the University of Victoria in 2015 as a research scientist, to expand his research and its reach, and strengthen the collaboration and involvement of Hitachi High-Tech (HHT) with research at the University of Victoria. This involvement is allowing the most to be gained from one of HHT’s most advanced electron microscopes which is housed at UVic and allows fundamental research to be done to advance the field. This is performed within a strong and open collaborative environment at the University. HHT in Canada recognized the strong value to both their long-term commitment to advanced electron microscopy and their near-term development plans given by this collaboration, through generously supporting a research chair for Dr. Blackburn at the University.

Cristina Cordoba, Post Doctoral Fellow

Cristina joined the group in September 2020 after receiving a PhD from Simon Fraser University, where she studied compound semiconducting nanowires using electron holography, amongst other techniques. This ignited her interest and desire to expand the frontiers of electron microscopy through developing applications and methodology to advance new high-speed scanning electron diffraction, or 4D-scanning transmission electron microscopy (4D-STEM), techniques.

Matthew Fitzpatrick, Post Doctoral Fellow

 Matthew joined the group in October 2021 after working as a Mitacs Post Doctoral Researcher at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in partnership with D-Wave, following receiving his PhD from SFU in 2019. He brings to the group detailed theoretical knowledge of some of the systems we are now studying using electron microscopy, and strong expertise in programming, modelling and analysis that is being applied to the vast experimental datasets that are produced from our 4D-STEM experiments.

Michael Watson

Michael Watson, Co-Supervised PhD Student

Under co-supervision with Prof Brolo (Chemistry), Michael investigates the novel surface treated noble metal based catalyst systems, using electron microscopy to make detailed surfaces studies of the produced nanoparticles. 

Zekun Fang, MSc Student

Zekun joined the group in 2022, and and is embarking on research related to exploring and utilizing non-linearity in low electron-dose degradation of sample structures using high-speed pixelated detectors.

Past Students


Adriaan Frencken

Studied and developed novel lanthanide based nanoparticles and characterized these particles using advanced electron microscopy techniques, under co-supervision with Prof. Frank Van Veggel. 


Saba Yasaei

Studied and developed novel characterization methods for surface oxide layers, using electron energy loss spectroscopy. This was applied to characterization of niobium materials, with applications in quantum computing and particle accelerators.

Undergraduate Students

Reece Boulanger

Reece worked with us as an undergraduate Co-op student from Sept – Dec 2022 to develop hardware and software for experiments on the electron microscope. His main project was to develop a control system for our 360 electron tomography holder. He is also kindly volunteered some of his time to help us in the final stages of implementing this system in 2023 while he completed his undergraduate studies in ECE at UVic

Ryland MacMahon

Completed an NSERC USRA pursuing the optimization of micron-scale geometry for electro-static elements to produce electron vortex beams  in the electron microscope. He also completed an honours project developing algorithms and software to allow the optimal setup of multiple bi-prism systems for electron holography.

Noah Gorgichuk

Carried out an honours project looking at the modelling and mapping of vortex-beam excited plasmon modes of nanoparticles  in the electron microscope.

Daniel Hedji

Co-supervized with Tobias Junginger, Daniel performed detailed EDX and SIMS analysis of niobium samples with a view towards correlating superconducting state behaviour with surface properties.

Aniruddh Sawant

Prototyped an Arduino based system for controlling our electron tomography holder permitting the system to be controlled through a Python based interface over a remote ethernet connection.

(See also ‪Arthur Blackburn – ‪Google Scholar)

  1. Zhang, H., Moazzezi, P., Ren, J., Henderson, B., Cordoba, C., Yeddu, V., Blackburn, A. M., Saidaminov, M. I., Paci, I., Hughes, S. and Gordon, R., 2022, Coupling Perovskite Quantum Dot Pairs in Solution using a Nanoplasmonic Assembly, Nano Letters 22, 5287-5293.
  2. Frencken, A. L., Blackburn, A. M. and Van Veggel, F. C. J. M., 2022, The Internal Structure of Lanthanide-Doped Nanoparticles and the Effect of High-Temperature Annealing on Their Luminescent Properties, The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 126, 16341-16348.
  3. Blackburn, A. M., Fitzpatrick, M. and Cordoba, C., 2022, Assisting Phase Unwrapping in Ptychography Through Minimal Phase Accumulation for Low Energy Electron Ptychography, Microscopy and Microanalysis 28, 430-432
  4. Zhang Y, Shaikh H, Sneyd A J, Tian J, Xiao J, Blackburn A, Rao A, Friend R H and Manners I (2021) Efficient Energy Funneling in Spatially Tailored Segmented Conjugated Block Copolymer Nanofiber–Quantum Dot or Rod Conjugates. Journal of the American Chemical Society 143, 7032-7041.
  5. Zhang Y, Pearce S, Eloi J-C, Harniman R L, Tian J, Cordoba C, Kang Y, Fukui T, Qiu H, Blackburn A, Richardson R M and Manners I (2021) Dendritic Micelles with Controlled Branching and Sensor Applications. Journal of the American Chemical Society 143, 5805-5814.
  6. Reidy K, Varnavides G, Thomsen J D, Kumar A, Pham T, Blackburn A M, Anikeeva P, Narang P, Lebeau J M and Ross F M (2021) Direct imaging and electronic structure modulation of moiré superlattices at the 2D/3D interface. Nat. Commun. 12, 1290.
  7. Hayashida M, Paraguay-Delgado F, Ornelas C, Herzing A, Blackburn A M, Haydon B, Yaguchi T, Wakui A, Igarashi K, Suzuki Y, Motoki S, Aoyama Y, Konyuba Y and Malac M (2021) Nanoparticle size and 3D shape measurement by electron tomography: An Inter-Laboratory Comparison. Micron 140, 102956.
  8. Ellis C E, Fukui T, Cordoba C, Blackburn A and Manners I (2021) Towards scalable, low dispersity, and dimensionally tunable 2D platelets using living crystallization-driven self-assembly. Polymer Chemistry 12, 3650-3660.
  9. Egerton R, Blackburn A, Herring R, Wu L and Zhu Y (2021) Direct measurement of the PSF for Coulomb delocalization–a reconsideration. Ultramicroscopy 230, 113374.
  10. Cordoba C, Zhang Y, Ellis C, Mcleod R, Manners I and Blackburn A (2021) Low Dose 4D Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy of Block Copolymers and Homopolymers at 30 keV in an SEM. Microscopy and Microanalysis 27, 2488-2489.
  11. Reidy K, Varnavides G, Thomsen J D, Blackburn A, Pham T, Kumar A, Lebeau J and Ross F (2020) Forbidden Reflection Moiré Patterns in Metal-2D Material Interfaces. Microscopy and Microanalysis 26, 860-863.
  12. Hoang A, El Sawy E, Blackburn A, Ketabi S, Goledzinowski M, Comeau F J E and Birss V (2020) Effect of Synthesis Conditions on the Physical and Electrocatalytic Properties of Ru@Pt Nanoparticles. ACS Applied Energy Materials 3, 8423-8436.
  13. Blackburn A M and Sasaki T (2020) Particle diameter, signal-to-noise ratio and beam requirements for extended Rayleigh resolution measurements in the scanning electron microscope. Microscopy 69, 248-257.
  14. Blackburn A M and Mcleod R A (2020) Practical implementation of high-resolution electron ptychography and comparison with off-axis electron holography. Microscopy 70, 131-147.
  15. Moradi V, Jun M B-G, Herring R, Blackburn A and Ahmed F (2019) Acid-treated Fe-doped TiO2: a high performance photocatalyst used for degradation of phenol under visible light irradiation. Journal of Environmental Sciences 83, 183- 194.
  16. Hayashida M, Cui K, Homeniuk D, Phengchat R, Blackburn A M and Malac M (2019) Parameters Affecting the Accuracy of Nanoparticle Shape Measurement in 3D. Micron 122, 102680.
  17. Egerton R, Blackburn A, Herring R, Wu L and Zhu Y (2019) Measurement of the Point Spread Function for Low-Loss Inelastic Scattering. Microscopy and Microanalysis 25, 676-677.
  18. Brady B, Steenhof V, Nickel B, Blackburn A M, Vehse M and Brolo A G (2019) Plasmonic Light-Trapping Concept for Nanoabsorber Photovoltaics. ACS Applied Energy Materials 2, 2255-2262.
  19. Blackburn A M and Mcleod R A (2019) Assessing the Phase Accuracy of ePIE Reconstructions of Crystalline Materials. Microscopy and Microanalysis 25, 70-71.
  20. Blackburn A M (2019), Patent: Aberration Correction Device and Charged Particle Beam Device, WO 2019/021455 A1
  21. Moradi V, Jun M B G, Blackburn A M and Herring R A (2018) Significant improvement in visible light photocatalytic activity of Fe doped TiO2 using an acid treatment process. Applied Surface Science 427, 791-799.
  22. Blackburn A M and Frencken A (2018) Sample Thickness Limitations in Defocused Electron Probe Ptychography. In: Microscopy and Microanalysis, pp. 188-189, Baltimore).
  23. Blackburn A M (2017), Patent: Charged particle beam apparatus and phase plate, US10504695B2; PCT/JP2015/086277 ; WO/2017/109948; US20180330916A1
  24. Blackburn A M (2016) Observation of an Electron Vortex Beam Created from a Self-Charging Rod. In: Microscopy and Microanalysis, pp. 1710-1711, (Cambridge University Press, Columbus, OH, USA).
  25. Blackburn A M, Loudon J C, Herring R, Hrabec A and Hoyle D (2015) At-Focus Observations of High Quality Electron Vortex Beams Created from Ferromagnetic Rods. In: Microscopy and Microanalysis, pp. 501-502, (Cambridge University Press, Portland, OR, USA).
  26. Blackburn A M and Loudon J C (2014) Vortex beam production and contrast enhancement from a magnetic spiral phase plate. Ultramicroscopy 136, 127-143.
  27. Blackburn A M (2014) Optimum Support Width of Annular Apertures in the Presence of Edge Charging. In: Charged Particle Optics 9, eds. Mika F and Pokorná Z, (Institute of Scientific Instruments of the ASCR, 2014, Brno, Czech Republic).
  28. Blackburn A M (2014), Patent: Phase plate, EP 2624278 B1/ US 9076562 B2
  29. Wang K Y, Blackburn A M, Wang H F, Wunderlich J and Williams D A (2013) Spin and orbital splitting in ferromagnetic contacted single wall carbon nanotube devices. Applied Physics Letters 102, 093508.
  30. Blackburn A M, Okita A and Kitagawa M (2013) Stress Balancing with Sacrificial Chromium for Buckle Free Compressed SiO2 Micro-Lens Spacer Membranes. In: Micro and Nano-Engineering 2013, Imperial College, London).
  31. Blackburn A M and Loudon J C (2013) Production of Vortex Beam Modes from a Magnetic Spiral Phase Plate. In: Microscopy and Microanalysis, pp. 1168-1169, (Cambridge University Press, Indianapolis, IN, USA).
  32. Kitagawa M and Blackburn A M (2012) Micro-Lenses with SiO2 / Si-rich SiNx / SiO2 Spacer for Low Energy Electron Microscopy. In: Micro and Nano-Engineering 2012, Toulouse, France).
  33. Edgcombe C J, Ionescu A, Loudon J C, Blackburn A M, Kurebayashi H and Barnes C H W (2012) Characterisation of ferromagnetic rings for Zernike phase plates using the Aharonov–Bohm effect. Ultramicroscopy 120, 78-85.
  34. Blackburn A M (2010), Patent: Guiding nanowire growth, EP 1973179 B1
  35. Blackburn A M (2010), Patent: Electrostatic lens unit, EP 2023372 B1
  36. Jorgensen H I, Grove-Rasmussen K, Wang K Y, Blackburn A M, Flensberg K, Lindelof P E and Williams D A (2008) Singlet–triplet physics and shell filling in carbon nanotube double quantum dots. Nature Physics 4, 536.
  37. Blackburn A M (2008) Electrostatic micro-lens within an AFM cantilever for LEEM. Physics Procedia 1, 537-543.
  38. Pisana S, Jungen A, Zhang C, Blackburn A M, Sharma R, Cervantes-Sodi F, Stampfer C, Ducati C, Ferrari A C, Hierold C, Robertson J and Hofmann S (2007) Flying and Crawling Modes during Surface-Bound Single Wall Carbon Nanotube Growth. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 111, 17249-17253.
  39. Alvarez L S E, Burnell G, Marrows C H, Wang K Y, Blackburn A M and Williams D A (2007) Nucleation and propagation of domain walls in a Co/Pt multilayer wire. Journal of Applied Physics 101, 09F508.
  40. Cantoro M, Hofmann S, Pisana S, Scardaci V, Parvez A, Ducati C, Ferrari A C, Blackburn A M, Wang K-Y and Robertson J (2006) Catalytic Chemical Vapor Deposition of Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes at Low Temperatures. Nano Letters 6, 1107-1112.
  41. Blackburn A M, Hasko D G and Williams D A (2006) Electron-beam induced deposition of a nanotip within a nano-aperture structure. Microelectronic Engineering 83, 1241-1244.
  42. Blackburn A M, Hasko D G and Williams D A (2005) In-Vacuum Resonant Tunneling in the Nanopentode. In: International Vacuum Microelectronics Conference, ed. Huq S E, pp. 180-181, (IEEE, Oxford).
  43. Blackburn A M, Hasko D G and Williams D A (2004) Improved nanotriode fabrication process for multiple gates and reduced leakage current. Microelectronic Engineering 73-74, 797-802.
  44. Blackburn A M, Hasko D G, Ahmed H and Williams D A (2004) Tungsten pedestal structure for nanotriode devices. Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B 22, 1298-1302.