PROFESSOR MERVYN MILES – Nanoscience Quantum Information Centre

Professor Mervyn Miles FRS is head of the Nanophysics Group and Nanophysics of the Nanoscience & Quantum Information Centre at the University of Bristol.

Mervyn and his research team are inventing new ways of ‘seeing’ and interacting with the nanoworld in natural and intuitive ways, opening up exploration in biology and medicine. Nanotechnology has huge potential for transformation in many aspects of our lives.

For more information visit the Nanoscience & Quantum Information Centre, online at :


Mervyn Miles is distinguished for the development of a number of revolutionary new techniques of scanning-probe microscopy and demonstrating their potential for breaking into new areas of research in the study of biomolecular and polymer systems.

One of these permits, for the first time, the study of dynamic changes in many systems of critical interest achieved through imaging rates of more than 100 frames per second, fast enough to follow previously inaccessible biomolecular processes and to fabricate nanoscale structures.

A second is a unique form of force microscopy that senses the specimen surface through a few atomic layers of water molecules without mechanical contact, ideal for studying delicate biological structures at high resolution.

A third involves adjustment of the damping of an atomic force cantilever in a liquid environment so as to improve sensitivity, significantly enhancing the rate of imaging and reducing the damage caused to soft materials.

This year Mervyn Miles and colleagues took elements from their research into the novel scanning probe microscopy and probe dynamics to develop an idea for an affordable Atomic Force Microscope. Their business plan for the production, marketing and distribution of the new microscope won them £10,000 towards the establishment of their spin-out company, Spyglass Technology.


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