Prof. Colm Durkan is the founder and head of the Scanning Probe Microscopy and Nanoelectronics group at the Nanoscience centre of the University of Cambridge. He is a fellow of Girton College, Cambridge.
Originally from Dublin, Colm obtained his primary degree in Physics from Trinity College Dublin, with first class honours. He was also a Trinity College Foundation scholar, and was the recipient of the Fitzgerald medal in 1992.
Colm obtained his PhD in Physics, also from Trinity College, on the topic of Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy (SNOM), and built the first SNOM in the country. After spending a postdoctoral period at Konstanz University in Germany, during which time he was awarded an Alexandar von Humboldt visiting fellows scholarship, he came to work in Cambridge in August 1997 as a postdoc in Mark Welland’s group.
Colm has been a University lecturer with full tenure since July 2000, a Reader in Nanoscale Engineering since October 2010 and a full professor since October 2020. He is also Deputy head of the Engineering Department. He is on the editorial board of the journals Microscopy and Imaging and the Nature journal Scientific Reports.
As well as around 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals, Colm is in the process of putting the finishing touches on a textbook on analogue electronics for Cambridge University Press, and recently completed a book on Nanotechnology for the layperson, Size really does matter- the nanotechnology revolution. He has also written a textbook on nanoscale electronics, Current at the Nanoscale, now in it’s second edition. In an attempt to help beleaguered schoolchildren, Colm has written a short ebook on electrical circuits – Electricity without the tears. Colm’s research is focused on understanding the fundamentals of the link between form (size & shape) and function in Nanomaterials, with an emphasis on advanced modes of microscopy and surface analysis, as applied to both highly-applied everyday problems as well as working on the underpinning science.