Dr Hugo K. Christenson
(Reader in the MNP group)

Office: E.C.Stoner Building 8.36
School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Leeds
Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 113 343 3879
Fax: +44 (0) 113 343 3900
Email: h.k.christenson@leeds.ac.uk

I am a Reader in the Molecular and Nanoscale Physics Group at the University of Leeds. I started my research at the Australian National University in Canberra, where I spent 20 years with the Surface Force Apparatus (above right).


My current research centres on heterogeneous nucleation and crystal growth. I am particularly interested in the effects of confinement and topography on crystallisation. My background in experimental measurements of surface forces and studies of matter in confinement has inspired much of this work.Studies of capillary condensation in different systems have led to the identification of crystal nucleation in supercooled liquid capillary condensates as a nucleation mechanism of far-reaching implications. This has parallels with protein nucleation from dense liquid phases and the nucleation of biominerals from amorphous precursor phases, and is described in my Highlight article in CrystEngComm.


I am also interested in crystallisation phenomena in thin films, including surface patterning with crystals and the bizarre structures growing in thin films of solidifying menthol. Ever since my early days with the SFA I have retained a special fondness for mica. Much of my work is the result of collaboration with Fiona Meldrum.


Crystals of camphor (left) and ice (right) nucleating from vapour on Si patterned with submicron grooves.