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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory


I completed an MChem at the University of Oxford (2011), staying on for a DPhil in the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Department, awarded in 2015. This focused on the use of colloidal model hard sphere systems to probe the structure, dynamics and phase behaviour of two-dimensional materials and culminated in the first experimental elucidation of the two-dimensional melting of hard disks. For this work I was awarded the 2019 Young Scientist award from the Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics Group, Royal Society of Chemistry. I moved to the Cavendish Laboratory in 2016, first as a postdoc in the group of Prof. Ulrich Keyser, before beginning my independent research career in the department as an Oppenheimer Research Fellowship (2018-2021) and, from 2021, a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. 


My research uses novel experimental model systems at the mesoscale and nanoscale to study fundamental problems drawn from a wealth of fields, from condensed matter physics to biology. Currently my focus is to use these systems to study fluctuations and transport phenomena in non-equilibrium soft systems built from colloids, microfluidics, nanopores, and DNA. 


Key publications: 
  • Stuart F. Knowles, Nicole E. Weckman, Vincent J. Lim, Douwe J. Bonthuis, Ulrich F. Keyser and Alice L. Thorneywork, 'Current fluctuations in nanopores reveal the polymer-wall adsorption potential', Phys. Rev. Lett., 127, 137801, (2021) 
  • Alice L. Thorneywork, Jannes Gladrow, Marc Rico-Pasto, Felix Ritort, Yujia Qing, Hagan Bayley, Anatoly B. Kolomeisky and Ulrich F. Keyser, ‘Direct detection of molecular intermediates from first passage times’, Sci. Adv., 6 (18), eaaz4642, (2020)
  • Stuart F. Knowles, Ulrich F. Keyser and Alice L. Thorneywork, ‘Noise properties of rectifying and non-rectifying nanopores’, Nanotechnology, 31, 10LT01, (2019)
  • Alice L. Thorneywork, Joshua L. Abbott, Dirk G. A. L. Aarts and Roel P. A. Dullens, ‘Two dimensional melting of colloidal hard spheres’, Phys. Rev. Lett, 118, 158001, (2017)
  • Alice L. Thorneywork, Roberto E. Rozas, Roel P.A. Dullens, Jürgen Horbach, “Effect of hydrodynamic interactions on the self-diffusion of quasi-two-dimensional colloidal hard spheres”, Phys. Rev. Lett., 115, 268301, (2015)
  • Alice L. Thorneywork, Roland Roth, Dirk G. A. L. Aarts and Roel P. A. Dullens, ‘Radial distribution functions in a two-dimensional binary colloidal hard sphere system’, J. Chem. Phys. 140, 161106, (2014)
Royal Society University Research Fellow

Contact Details

Room 1.96 Maxwell Centre
Cavendish Laboratory
JJ Thomson Avenue,
Cambridge, CB3 0HE