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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory


Stafford Withington has held various positions in the Cavendish Laboratory since 1985. He is currently a Professor of Physics and Head of the Quantum Sensors Group. He is also a Visiting Professor in the School Physics Astronomy at the University Oxford (2011-present), and was formally a Visiting Professor at the University of Manchester (2007-2012). He is an Emeritus Fellow of Downing College Cambridge (1990-2013), and previously held Visiting Fellowships at The Queen’s College Oxford, and also All Souls College, Oxford. Early in his career he held a Royal Society Fellowship in Chalmers University, Gothenberg, Sweden. He studied for his PhD at the famous Jodrell Bank Observatory, University of Manchester, and prior to 1985 worked for various companies including, Rolls Royce Engines (1971) Ltd, Marconi Space and Defence Systems Ltd, Thorn Electronics Ltd, and Ferranti Microwave Electronics. Stafford has been a member of many national and overseas committees (EPSRC, STFC, ESA, SFI, NASA, NSF) assessing major science projects, grant applications, fellowships and studentships. He is fully involved in graduate and undergraduate teaching, and currently lectures Quantum Mechanics.


Stafford Withington works on the development of advanced instrumentation and ultra-low noise quantum electronics and sensors for fundamental physics. Most of the Group’s work is carried out in the millimetre-wave, submillimetre-wave, and infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, but the team also has interests in x-ray and particle sensing. For example, the Group is currently developing the superconducting imaging arrays for the ESA/JAXA far-infrared space telescope SPICA, and is developing millimetre-wave chip spectrometers for space-based Earth observation. The Quantum Sensors Group runs a major superconducting detector fabrication facility, and is interested in many aspects of superconducting device physics, non-equilibrium superconductivity, heat transport in low-dimensional structures, solid-state noise mechanisms at low temperatures, and the materials science associated with fabricating complex science grade devices and microcircuits. Stafford has considerable experience in the optical physics and numerical modelling of submillimetre-wave systems, infrared bolometers, imaging arrays, interferometers, phased arrays, and pulsed optical systems.



Key publications: 

D. Tihon, S. Withington, C.N. Thomas and C. Craeye, Identification of the absorption processes in periodic plasmonic structures using energy absorption interferometry, J. Opt. Soc. Am. A, 36, 12 (2019).

S. Zhao, S. Withington, D.J. Goldie, and C.N. Thomas, Electromagnetic models for multilayer superconducting transmission lines, Supercond. Sci. Tech. 31, 085012 (2018)


S. Zhou, D. J. Goldie, C.N. Thomas, and S. Withington, Calculation and measurement of critical temperature in thin superconducting multilayers, Supercond. Sci. Tech. 31, 105004 (2018)

University Professor in Analytical Physics
Emeritus Professorial Fellow of Downing College
Professor Stafford  Withington

Contact Details

Room 816B Rutherford Building,
Cavendish Laboratory,
JJ Thomson Avenue
+44 (0)1223 337393