Please note that all members of the Experimental Micromechanics Research Group are expected to uphold our Code of Conduct.

If you are interested in joining the group, please see the opportunities page.

Principal Investigator:

Associate Professor & Associate Head (Graduates), UBC-Vancouver & Visiting Reader in Metallurgy and Microscopy-Imperial College London

Ben focuses on getting trying to understand materials using advanced characterization techniques, typically focusing on expanding our understanding of the strength - property - performance relationship of real alloys used in high value engineering applications such as nuclear power, aerospace, and oil & gas applications. He combines a range of appropriate techniques, such as digital image correlation, electron backscatter diffraction and micro-mechanical testing to understand processes such as fatigue crack initiation, plastic deformation and microstructural evolution in metallic and metallic / ceramic materials.

 UBC Faculty Page / Imperial People PageORCIDFlockademic / 

 Email: ben.britton@ubc

Post Doctoral Researchers:

Ruth is working to develop new 3D microstructure characterization methods, using plasma focussed ion beam - scanning electron microscopy (pFIB-SEM) methods and advanced analytical methods (EBSD, EDS and BSE). Ruth focusses her work on engineering materials such as steels and aluminium alloys. Ruth is co-supervised with Dr Warren Poole.


Jacqueline is working to develop new in situ deformation approaches to understand the performance of advanced aluminium alloys as part of a NSERC alliance grant. Jacqueline is co-supervised with Dr Warren Poole.

Simon is working to develop microstructural characterisation approaches and support the development of the pFIB-SEM. He will be working especially on 3D and nano-scale characterisation of metals and alloys, with a view to develop quantitative metrology. Simon is co-supervised with Dr Warren Poole.

PhD Candidate Researchers:

Yusen is working to develop understanding of creep mechanisms in solder based materials. Yusen is co-supervised by Dr Giuliani.

Mitra is working to develop new methods to understanding and classify failure in aeroengine components.

Mitra is on the Advanced Characterisation Centre for Doctoral Training. Mitra is co-supervised by Dr Britton, Dr Marquardt and Prof Angus Wilkinson (Oxford).

Sarah is working to understand hydrogen in steels, sponsored by Shell. She is co-supervised by Dr Ben Britton, Dr Stella Pedrazzini, and Dr Thibaut Dessolier.

Tianbi is working to develop new methods of characterising materials in the scanning electron microscope using direct electron detectors. Tianbi is currently funded from a NSERC Discovery Grant.

ORCID: 0000-0002-0035-9289; tw: @billytbzubc

Shuheng is working on understanding magnesium and its alloys deformation behaviour at ambient and elevated temperatures using instrumented indentation and EBSD.

Shuheng is primarily supervised by Professor Warren Poole (UBC-V) and co-supervised by Dr Ben Britton.

Bita is working on our Rio-Tinto Aluminium-NSERC Alliance project to improve understanding of aluminum alloys, using advanced characterization techniques. Bita is co-supervised with Professor Warren Poole (UBC-V).

Graeme is working on developing 3D characterization of aerospace materials and our robot SEM (funded via the CFI-JELF/BCKDF program). Graeme is currently funded from a NSERC Discovery Grant.

Haroon is working to develop advance electron imaging methods, including electron channeling contrast imaging (ECCI). Haroon is funded primary via the PEEF International Scholarship, Pakistan.

Masters Researchers:

Ebru is exploring stresses and cracking in ceramic materials. Ebru has a scholarship from the Turkish Ministry of Education for her MASc studies.

Undergraduate / Masters Researchers

MEng in Materials Science:

Jiyu Jiang (2020-2021) - Jiyu is studying localised deformation with new DIC methods in zirconium. Jiyu is co-supervised by Dr Thibaut Dessolier.

Oliver Ezra (2020-2021) - Ollie is studying localised deformation with new DIC methods in Ni-based alloys. Ollie is co-supervised by Dr Yi Guo.

Alessandro Previero (2018-2019) - Alessandro is developing new machine learning approaches for EBSD analysis.

Yusen Wang (2018-2019) - Yusen focussed on understanding additive repair technologies, and is now a PhD student in the group

Chengang Xu (Danny) (2016-2017) - Danny focused on understanding the role of blocky alpha in zirconium alloys

Yi Qiu (2015-2016) - now a PhD student in Brunel - Yi focused on developing virtual microstructures for FFT based simulations and understanding property bounds.

Leanne Johnstone (2014-2015) - now working for Rolls-Royce - Leanne focused on understanding delayed hydride cracking in zirconium alloys though controlled atmosphere mechanical testing and electrochemical hydriding techniques.

Maximilian Schleupen (2014-2015, Aachen ERASMUS) - now a PhD student in Aachen - Max focused on understanding deformation in polycrystalline materials with elasto-viscoplastic fast crystal plasticity solvers based upon the fast Fourier transform (FFT) spectral solver.

Yannick Naunheim (2013-2014, Aachen ERASMUS) - now a PhD student in MPIE, Dusseldorf - Yannick focused on understanding deformation in polycrystalline materials with a viscoplastic fast crystal plasticity solvers based upon the fast Fourier transform (FFT) spectral solver.

MSc in Advanced Nuclear Engineering:

Ning Fang (2019) - now a Phd Student in the group - Ning developed approaches to measure carbide distributions in Ni based alloys.

Ruth Birch (2017) - now a PhD student in the group - Ruth focused on understanding hydrides in zirconium alloys.

Monojit Roy (2016) - Monojit focused on characterising machine damage in advanced metallic alloys using HR-EBSD

William White (2015) - Completed his PhD within the group - William focused on understanding of solute-dislocation interactions in steels using dislocation dynamics models.

Robert Vale - hosted at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (2015) - Robert focused on understanding of hydrogen storage in fusion reactor engineering components.

MSc in Advanced Materials:

Guillaume de Certaines (2019) - Guillaume is developing new machine learning algorithm approaches for EBSD analysis.

Aditya Chandrasekhar (2018) - Aditya Worked to develop crystal plasticity simulations of synthetic microstructures.

Cobi Allen (2019) - Cody worked to develop crystal plasticity simulations of synthetic microstructures.

Jiahui Dong (2017) - Jiahui is focused on DIC methods for high resolution strain analysis

Rocco D'agostino (2017) - Rocco is developing methods to refine microstructure in two phase Zr alloys

Siyang Wang (2016) - Siyang focused on understanding the deformation of hydrides in zirconium alloys

Qinmeng Luan (2016) - Qinmeng focused on understanding the macroscopic strain rate sensitivity of Ti alloys

Tianhan Yang (2015) -Tianhan started developing an approach to fabricate nanostructured metallic materials through accumulated roll-bonding.

BEng in Materials Science:

Grey Chen (2016-2017) -Grey worked on creep testing of lead free solders

Chaoyi Zhu (2014-2015) -Chaoyi focussed on developing an improved understanding of high resolution electron backscatter data, particular with respect to lattice curvature.

Group Photos

Group/alum bowling (17/11/2021)

From left to right: Vivian, Ning, Yusen, Chris, Ben, Ruth, Mitra

Group @ the Engineering Alloys Summer Party (Imperial College London)

From left to right: Sarah, Ning, Yusen, Mitra, Ruth, Jiyu

Group lunch (10/06/2016)

From left to right: Simon, Suki, Yi, Tianhong, Solene, Qinmeng, Siyang, Jim, Monojit, Giorgio, Vivian and Ben

(William and Terry were away)

Group lunch (11/08/2017)

From left to right: Rocco, Ruth, Vivian, Jim, Josie, Simon, Giorgio, Tianhong, Siyang, Alex and Ben

(Suki and William were away)

Former Group Members

Dafni Daskalaki Mountanou 

Dafni worked to develop understanding of stress relaxation cracking in Ni-based alloys for oil and gas applications. Dafni was a student within the Shell AIMS UTC and was co-supervised by Professor Mary Ryan.

Dr Ning Fang

Ning worked to develop understanding of the deformation of zirconium alloys, especially at high rate. Ning was co-supervised by Dr Giuliani.

Dr Martin Heller 

Martin was a MITACS/NRC/RWTH Aachen funded visiting graduate student with us. He was visiting from the Institute for Physical Metallurgy and Materials Physics (IMM) and supervised by Prof. Dr. Sandra Korte-Kerzel. Martin was working with us to develop new methods of electron microscopy characterisation of materials, including Lorentz microscopy to image magnetic domains and electron channelling contrast imaginge (ECCI) microscopy to image crystallographic defects, both were applied in electrical grade steels.

Dr Max Emmanuel

Max completed his PhD focussing on characterising the fracture of WC composites using a combination of micromechanical testing and EBSD-based characterisation of the grain boundary structure. Max was primarily supervised by Dr Finn Giuliani, with co-supervision from Dr Ben Britton and Dr Katharina Marquardt.

Dr Ruth Birch

Ruth completed her PhD looking at hydrides and grain growth in zirconium alloys. Chris was funded by EPSRC with support from Rolls-Royce plc. Ruth was co-supervised by Dr Katharina Marquardt.

Dr Chris Bilsland

Chris completed his PhD and developed methods to study surface degradation in Ni-based alloys for nuclear power applications, using combined EBSD and EDS analysis. Chris was a student on the ICO CDT in Nuclear Energy and was part funded by Rolls-Royce plc. Chris was co-supervised by Dr Stella Pedrazzini.

Xinping Fan

Xinping explored strain localisation in titanium alloys using digital image correlation. Xinping was co-supervised by Professor Fionn Dunne.

David Shepherd

David was a PhD candidate at Imperial London, using interdisciplinary methods to study macrozones including materials characterisation with Digital Image Correlation, Electron Backscatter Diffraction and ultrasonics. David quit his PhD to join Max Fordham LLP as a Graduate Engineer. 

Dr Yi Guo

Research Associate 2019-2021

Yi focused on understanding fatigue crack growth and initiation in NI-based superalloys, and develops new characterisation methods. Yi was funded by BIAM.

Currently a research group leader at IMR, China.

Dr Thibaut Dessolier  

Research Associate 2018-2021, Imperial College London

Thibaut developed new characterisation methods for measuring creep damage in cast pipes for oil & gas applications, and understanding deformation in zirconium. He was funded as part of the MIDAS Programme Grant and the Shell AIMS UTC.

Currently working as an Application Scientist with Thermofisher.

Dr Tianhong Gu

Research Associate 2019-2021

Tianhong developed new in-situ approaches to understand deformation and failure of solder materials, used in microelectronic devices. Tianhong was co-supervised by Dr Finn Giuliani (for her PDRA) and is funded by EPSRC.

PhD 2015-2019 - "Observations of Microstructure evolution and damage of SAC305 solder alloys during thermal and mechanical loadings" supervised by Dr Ben Britton and Dr Chris Gourlay. Examined by Prof Joe Robson (Manchester) and Dr Minh-Son Pham.

Currently at the University of Birmingham

Dr Alex Foden

PhD 2016-2020

Alex developed new HR-EBSD approaches for improved microstructural characterisation. He has developed a new template matching algorithm and continues to develop new approaches for EBSD analysis.

Alex is currently working as an engineer in industry (find out more via his LinkedIn profile).

Dr Tom McAuliffe

PhD 2016-2020

Tom's investigated the deformation mechanisms to aid development of novel Co/NI-based dual phase polycrystalline superalloys for use in jet engines, in collaboration with Rolls-Royce. New methods of EBSD-based microstructural characterisation were created, including machine learning methods. Tom was supervised by Professor David Dye and co-supervised by Dr Britton.

Now working in Quant/Finance (find out where via LinkedIn)

Dr Simon Wyatt

PhD 2016-2020 

Simon developed new understanding of micromechanical deformation and texture evolution of two phase (hexagonal + body centred cubic) alloys, which are commonly used in aerospace and nuclear industries. This work used combination of crystal plasticity FFT modelling and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD).

Now working in IT Engineering (find out where via LinkedIn)

Dr Siyang Wang

PhD 2017-2020 "Microstructural characterisation and mechanical testing of zirconium alloys and hydrides" co-supervised by Dr Ben Britton and Dr Finn Giuliani. Examined by Prof Mark Daymond (Queen's University, Canada) and Dr Minh-Son Pham.

Siyang is now working on the MAPP project with Dr Finn Giuliani (find out more via his Imperial profile).

Dr Giorgio Sernicola

PhD 2014-2018 "Developing small scale fracture tests for polycrystalline diamond" co-supervised by Dr Finn Giuliani and Dr Ben Britton. Examined by Prof Bill Clegg (Cambridge) and Prof Eduardo Saiz.

Now working as an Engineering in Industry (find out where via Linkedin).

Dr Vivian Tong

PhD 2013-2016 - "EBSD Characterisiation of Heterogeneous Microstructures in Zirconium Alloys" supervised by Dr Ben Britton. Examined by Prof John Wheeler (Liverpool) and Dr Vandeperre.

PDRA 2016-2018 - HexMat & HEFI funded.

Now at the National Physical Laboratory as a Higher Research Scientist (find some of her work via Google Scholar).

Dr Suki Adande

PhD 2014-2018 - "The micromechanical testing of Ni-based superalloys" supervised by Dr Ben Britton as part of the BIAM project.. Examined by Prof Cathy Rae (Cambridge) and Dr Chris Gourlay.

Dr William White

PhD 2015-2019 "The influence of solute diffusion and anisotropic elasticity on the deformation of iron: a study using planar discrete dislocation plasticity" supervised by Dr Ben Britton and  Dr Daniel Balint (Mechanical Engineering). Examined by Dr Ed Tarleton (Oxford) and Prof Fionn Dunne. Funded by the ICO CDT in Nuclear Energy and AWE plc.

Currently with the group conducting a short Post Doc.

Dr Tea-Sung (Terry) Jun, Post Doctoral Research Associate

Terry worked to develop understanding of strain rate sensitivity in titanium alloys, mainly using micropillar compression and analysis of crystal plasticity. His Post Doc was funded by HexMat. He was co-supervised by Dr Ben Britton and Prof Fionn Dunne

Dr Jun is now a Professor at Incheon National University.

Dr Jun Jiang, Post Doctoral Research Associate

Jun worked to develop integrated understanding of fatigue crack initation, including development of high resolution digital image correlation methods. He was funded by AVIC-BIAM and co-supervised by Dr Ben Britton and Prof Fionn Dunne.

Dr Jiang is now a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London.

Group lunch (10/06/2016)

From left to right: Simon, Suki, Yi, Tianhong, Solene, Qinmeng, Siyang, Jim, Monojit, Giorgio, Vivian and Ben

(William and Terry were away)