Following graduation in 1975, Bob went on to gain a PhD at the University of Leicester on the basis of his thesis "Electronic transport properties of some liquid metals and alloys". He arrived at the University of Kent in 1985 to take the post of Lecturer in Condensed Matter Physics, having spent the intervening years as a postdoctoral researcher, and then as Senior Scientific Officer at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory working on the development of their pulsed neutron source - part of which involved secondment to a national neutron facility in the USA during 1983/4. He has played a central role in several University developments since then, including the creation of one of the first Graduate Schools on campus and the definition of early web-site strategies. In 1997 he became the founding Head of Department for the new School of Physical Sciences, and continued in that role until 2000.
Bob, unusually, has been elected a Fellow of both the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Chemistry, and was a Leverhulme Research Fellow for the year 1995/6. In 2007 he was awarded the higher research degree, a DSc, by the University of Leicester on the basis (in their words) of his 'eminence in his field and his published work, which constitutes a sustained, original and distinguished contribution to knowledge, including seminal publications which have led to significant developments in the area of research'. He has been a member of or has chaired several national research panels/committees, in the UK and in France, and has been consulted by, or has taught at, universities and companies in Sweden, Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia and the USA. He has chaired the Science & Technology Facilities Council's Physical & Life Sciences Committee and been a member of their Science Board; until the end of 2014 he will be a member of the Science Advisory Committee of the Diamond Light Source.
back to top
Office: Room 213, Ingram Building
The available routes to view his publications are:
http://scholar.google.co.uk/ (search "Robert Newport")
back to top
Pickup, D., Moss, R. and Newport, R. (2014). NXFit: A program for simultaneously fitting X-ray and neutron diffraction pair-distribution functions to provide optimized structural parameters. Journal of Applied Crystallography [Online] 47:1790-1796. Available at: http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-84907483962&partnerID=40&md5=8c3e930ceb9067d39bf3fb61cde00335.
Abstract | View in KAR | View Full Text
NXFit is a program for obtaining optimized structural parameters from amorphous materials by simultaneously fitting X-ray and neutron pair-distribution functions. Partial correlation functions are generated in Q space, summed and Fourier transformed for comparison with the experimental data in r space. NXFit uses the Nelder-Mead method to vary a set of 'best guess' parameters to achieve a fit to experimentally derived data. The output parameters from NXFit are coordination number, atomic separation and disorder parameter for each atomic correlation used in the fitting process. The use of NXFit has been demonstrated by fitting both X-ray and neutron diffraction data from two quite different amorphous materials: a melt-quenched (Na2O) 0.5(P2O5)0.5glass and a (TiO2)0.18(SiO2)0.82sol-gel.
Pickup, D. et al. (2014). Characterisation of phosphate coacervates for potential biomedical applications. Journal of Biomaterials Applications [Online] 28:1226-1234. Available at: http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-84898995926&partnerID=40&md5=c7d27c6b9e6b116b3ecfbedfc2ec0a3c.
Abstract | View in KAR
In this study, amorphous (Na2O)x(CaO)0.50-x(P2O5)0.50ÂyH2O (where x = â0.15 and y = â3) samples were prepared by a coacervate method. Thermal analysis showed that two types of water molecules were present in the coacervate structures: one type loosely bound and the other part of the phosphate structure. Structural studies using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray total diffraction revealed the samples to have very similar structures to melt-quenched glasses of comparable composition. Furthermore, no significant structural differences were observed between samples prepared using calcium nitrate as the calcium source or those prepared from calcium chloride. A sample containing â1 mol% Ag2O was prepared to test the hypothesis that calcium phosphate coacervate materials could be used as delivery agents for antibacterial ions. This sample exhibited significant antibacterial activity against the bacterium Psuedomonas aeruginosa. FTIR data revealed the silver-doped sample to be structurally akin to the analogous silver-free sample. Â© The Author(s) 2013 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/ journalsPermissions.nav.
Smith, J. et al. (2013). Structural study of Al2O3-Na2O-CaO-P2O5 bioactive glasses as a function of aluminium content. The Journal of chemical physics [Online] 138:34501-34501. Available at: http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-84879229369&partnerID=40&md5=4d01a70315a6ca6d288120ac1fba3877.
Abstract | View in KAR | View Full Text
Calcium phosphate based biomaterials are extensively used in the context of tissue engineering: small changes in composition can lead to significant changes in properties allowing their use in a wide range of applications. Samples of composition (Al(2)O(3))(x)(Na(2)O)(0.11-x)(CaO)(0.445)(P(2)O(5))(0.445), where x = 0, 0.03, 0.05, and 0.08, were prepared by melt quenching. The atomic-scale structure has been studied using neutron diffraction and solid state (27)Al MAS NMR, and these data have been rationalised with the determined density of the final glass product. With increasing aluminium concentration the density increases initially, but beyond about 3 mol. % Al(2)O(3) the density starts to decrease. Neutron diffraction data show a concomitant change in the aluminium speciation, which is confirmed by (27)Al MAS NMR studies. The NMR data reveal that aluminium is present in 4, 5, and 6-fold coordination and that the relative concentrations of these environments change with increasing aluminium concentration. Materials containing aluminium in 6-fold coordination tend to have higher densities than analogous materials with the aluminium found in 4-fold coordination. Thus, the density changes may readily be explained in terms of an increase in the relative concentration of 4-coordinated aluminium at the expense of 6-fold aluminium as the Al(2)O(3) content is increased beyond 3 mol. %.
Cramer, A. et al. (2013). Effects of rare-earth co-doping on the local structure of rare-earth phosphate glasses using high and low energy X-ray diffraction. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics [Online] 15:8529-8543. Available at: http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-84878330097&partnerID=40&md5=f2fecc0f3acd8b3d52c38e5dd45bff05.
Abstract | View in KAR | View Full Text
Rare-earth co-doping in inorganic materials has a long-held tradition of facilitating highly desirable optoelectronic properties for their application to the laser industry. This study concentrates specifically on rare-earth phosphate glasses, (R2O3) x(Râ2O3)y(P2O 5)1-(x+y), where (R, Râ) denotes (Ce, Er) or (La, Nd) co-doping and the total rare-earth composition corresponds to a range between metaphosphate, RP3O9, and ultraphosphate, RP 5O14. Thereupon, the effects of rare-earth co-doping on the local structure are assessed at the atomic level. Pair-distribution function analysis of high-energy X-ray diffraction data (Qmax = 28 Ã-1) is employed to make this assessment. Results reveal a stark structural invariance to rare-earth co-doping which bears testament to the open-framework and rigid nature of these glasses. A range of desirable attributes of these glasses unfold from this finding; in particular, a structural simplicity that will enable facile molecular engineering of rare-earth phosphate glasses with 'dial-up' lasing properties. When considered together with other factors, this finding also demonstrates additional prospects for these co-doped rare-earth phosphate glasses in nuclear waste storage applications. This study also reveals, for the first time, the ability to distinguish between P-O and PO bonding in these rare-earth phosphate glasses from X-ray diffraction data in a fully quantitative manner. Complementary analysis of high-energy X-ray diffraction data on single rare-earth phosphate glasses of similar rare-earth composition to the co-doped materials is also presented in this context. In a technical sense, all high-energy X-ray diffraction data on these glasses are compared with analogous low-energy diffraction data; their salient differences reveal distinct advantages of high-energy X-ray diffraction data for the study of amorphous materials. Â© 2013 The Owner Societies.
Smith, J. et al. (2013). Structural characterisation of hypoxia-mimicking bioactive glasses. Journal of Materials Chemistry B [Online] 1:1296-1303. Available at: http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-84876536683&partnerID=40&md5=04dbee093ea211674b9dfad8ec6c8b71.
Abstract | View in KAR | View Full Text
Nickel and cobalt are both known to stimulate the hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1Î), thus significantly improving blood vessel formation in tissue engineering applications. We have manufactured nickel and cobalt doped bioactive glasses to act as a controlled delivery mechanism of these ions. The resultant structural consequences have been investigated using the methods of isotopic and isomorphic substitution applied to neutron diffraction. The structural sites present will be intimately related to their release properties in physiological fluids such as plasma and saliva, and hence the bioactivity of the material. Detailed structural knowledge is therefore a prerequisite for optimising material design. Results show that nickel and cobalt adopt a mixed structural role within these bioactive glasses occupying both network-forming (tetrahedral) and network-modifying (5-fold) geometries. Two thirds of the Ni (or Co) occupies a five-fold geometry with the remaining third in a tetrahedral environment. A direct comparison of the primary structural correlations (e.g. Si-O, Ca-O, Na-O and O-Si-O) between the archetypal 45S5 BioglassÂ® and the Ni and Co glasses studied here reveal no significant differences. This indicates that the addition of Ni (or Co) will have no adverse effects on the existing structure, and thus on in vitro/in vivo dissolution rates and therefore bioactivity of these glasses. Â© 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
Bob's team has been focused on understanding the atomic-scale structure of novel amorphous (non-crystalline) materials of contemporary interest such as non-linear optical glasses and "sol gel" glasses which may be catalytically or biologically active. His most recent research interests centred primarily on the synthesis and basic understanding of a wide range of bioactive glasses, which have a range of potential applications including bone regeneration, antibacterial materials and drug delivery systems. The structure of a given material is arguably the key factor in determining its macroscopic properties: the ethos of his work derives from his central interest in explaining why novel amorphous materials behave in the way they do: in other words to provide the research that will underpin a full understanding of their technologically useful attributes. His firm belief is that complex materials or systems can rarely, if ever, be fully understood at the atomic/molecular or mesoscopic level if only a single experimental technique is used. He therefore sought to adopt, and to develop, a research methodology which embraces a wide range of traditionally disparate structural probes in an attempt to provide a more complete, and hence robust and widely applicable, picture. These include the use of a number of X-ray and neutron scattering techniques, together with computer simulation and modelling and many other complementary methods such as IR and Raman spectroscopy, ... . His team's work has been truly interdisciplinary, involving experimental and theoretical work in, and links with chemistry, engineering, materials science and bio/medical-engineering. back to top
PH025 - Waves and Vibrations
- PH026 - Properties of Matter
- PH027 - Physics Tutorial
- PH603 - Group Project
- PH700 - Research Project
The Refreshing Physics Project
Bob's teaching has covered a wide spectrum. Innovation has been a continual theme in his approach to teaching, for instance he led a successful curriculum development project aimed at moving suitable lecture courses into a hypertext media; these early interests are now evident through his University/Faculty-leading role in e-learning. Currently, he is exploring the use of FLIPped lectures within the physical sciences via his PH026 module. He was a leading member of the "Refreshing Physics" project, which attracted much interest nationally (www.kent.ac.uk/physical-sciences/RePh/index.htm). He has served as Chief Examiner, as Director of Undergraduate Studies for Physics, as Director of Learning and Teaching and as Senior Tutor for the School of Physical Sciences. He was the founding chair of the University's Senior Tutor Network, which he chaired until 2010. Bob served as the Chief External Examiner for Physics at the University of Leicester, 2005-2008. He was awarded the Faculty's Teaching Prize for 2009-2010 for his work in engaging Foundation Year students. back to top