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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory


Studied natural sciences as an undergraduate at St John's College, Cambridge, followed a Ph.D at the Cavendish on growth at surfaces studied with helium atom scattering. Became a type A (research) fellow at St John's College, and then moved to the Max Planck Institut fuer Stroemungsforschung, Goettingen with an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship. Returned to the Cambridge with a Lloyd's of London Tercentenary Fellowship and then an EPSRC 5 year fellowship to study dynamics at surfaces using quasielastic helium atom scattering. The fellowship was moved to the department of physics at the University of East Anglia with the aim of taking up a lectureship it its end. When the physics department at UEA shut, moved to the Cavendish as an Assistant Director of Research in 2000, and was appointed a teaching fellow at Gonville and Caius College, subsequently becoming one of the directors of studies for natural sciences (physical). 


Surface dynamics, Helium Spin Echo Spectroscopy at surfaces, Helium Atom Microscopy, ultra sensitive atom detection


Key publications: 

[1] Observation of jump diffusion of isolated sodium atoms on a Cu(001) surface by helium atom scattering.
J. Ellis and J.P. Toennies,  Phys. Rev. Lett. 70, 2118-2121 (1993)

[2] Quasielastic helium atom scattering from a two-dimensional gas of Xe atoms on Pt(111).
J. Ellis, A.P. Graham, and J.P. Toennies, Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 5072-5075 (1999).

[3] Ultrahigh-resolution spin-echo measurement of surface potential energy landscapes.
A.P. Jardine, S. Dworski, P. Fouquet, G. Alexandrowicz, D.J. Riley, G.Y.H. Lee, J. Ellis and W. Allison,  Science 304 1790-93 (2004)

[4] A thermal energy 3He spin-echo spectrometer for ultrahigh resolution surface dynamics measurements.
P. Fouquet, A.P. Jardine, S. Dworski, G. Alexandrowicz, W. Allison, J. Ellis. Rev. Sci. Inst. 76, 53109 (2005)

[5] Observation of uncorrelated microscopic motion in a strongly interacting adsorbate system.
G. Alexandrowicz, P. Kole, E. Lee, H. Hedgeland, R. Ferrando, A.P. Jardine, W. Allison and J. Ellis,
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 130, 6789 (2008)

[6] Helium-3 spin-echo: Principles and application to dynamics at surfaces.
A.P. Jardine, G. Alexandrowicz, H. Hedgeland, W. Allison and J. Ellis, Prog. Surf. Sci, 84 323 (2009)

[7] Measurement of single-molecule frictional dissipation in a prototypical nanoscale system.
H. Hedgeland, P. Fouquet, A. P. Jardine, G. Alexandrowicz, W. Allison and J. Ellis Nature Physics 5, 561 (2009)

[8] Probing the non-pairwise interactions between CO molecules moving on a Cu(111) surface. Kole, P. R., Hedgeland, H., Jardine, A. P., Allison, W., Ellis, J., & Alexandrowicz, G., J Phys Condens Matter, 24, 104016 (2012). 

[9] A design for a pinhole scanning helium microscope.  Barr, M., Fahy, A., Jardine, A., Ellis, J., Ward, D., MacLaren, D.A.,
Allison, W., and Dastoor, P.C., Nucl. Inst. and Methods in Phys. Res. Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms, 340 , 76 (2014)

[10] Coupling between diffusion and orientation of pentacene molecules on an organic surface. Paul Rotter, Barbara A. J. Lechner, Antonia Morherr, David M. Chisnall, David J.Ward,Andrew P. Jardine, John Ellis, William Allison, Bruno Eckhardt and Gregor Witte, Nature Mat. 15 398 (2016)


Professor of Surface Physics
Dr. John  Ellis

Contact Details

Email address: 
Room 318A Mott Building
Cavendish Laboratory
JJ Thomson Avenue
+44 (0)1223 337205