Department of Materials


Professor Steven Kenny BSc, PhD

Photo of Professor Steven Kenny

Professor of Mathematical and Computational Modelling


Steven read for a degree in Physics at Imperial College between 1989 and 1992. He then carried out his PhD in the Department of Physics at Cambridge University, between 1992 and 1995. Following his PhD he held the position of PDRA in the Department of Earth Sciences in Oxford University for a year, followed by two years as a Research Fellow and three years as a Departmental Lecturer in the Department of Materials, Oxford University. In May 2001 he took up a Lectureship at Loughborough University. In June 2005 he was promoted to a Senior Lecturer, in February 2008 to a Reader and in June 2014 to a personal chair.


  • BSc, Physics, Imperial College
  • PhD, Cambridge


Outline of main research interests:

Steven’s main research area is the development and application of materials modelling techniques, particularly at the atomic scale. Work includes the simulation of the growth of thin films, and in particular those of relevance to thin film photovoltaic devices. The interest is to model the growth of the thin films on realistic timescales so that the influence of parameters such as the deposition energy and the composition on the morphology of the film can be understood. Other areas include the modelling of radiation damage in materials; this is of critical importance for the next generation of fission reactors and to address the issue of materials for fusion reactors. Here the interest is to understand the long timescale evolution of radiation damage in these systems, to enable the design of new more radiation tolerant materials to enable longer reactor lifetimes.

Grants and contracts:

  • “Atomistic Modelling of the Effect of Hydrogen on Steel Ductility”, TWI & EPSRC, 2015-2019 
  • “A Network for Regional e-Infrastructure Centres”, EPSRC, 2015-2017 
  • “Modelling the deposition of thin film coatings to improve production methods in the Glass industry” AGC Glass Europe, 2015-2019 
  • “A Midlands Centre for Excellence for high performance computing – HPC Midlands”, EPSRC, 2012-2016 
  • “Performance and Reliability of Metallic Materials for Nuclear Fission Power Generation”, EPSRC, 2010-2015 


Selected publications: 

Scott, C., Blackwell, S., Vernon, L., Kenny, S., Walls, J. M., & Smith, R. (2011). Atomistic surface erosion and thin film growth modelled over realistic time scales. Journal of Chemical Physics135(17), 174706. doi:10.1063/1.3657436

Blackwell, S., Smith, R., Kenny, S. D., Vernon, L. J., & Walls, J. M. (2012). Modeling evaporation, ion-beam assist, and magnetron sputtering of TiO 2 thin films over realistic timescales. Journal of Materials Research27(5), 799-805. doi:10.1557/jmr.2011.380

Blackwell, S., Smith, R., Kenny, S. D., Walls, J. M., & Sanz-Navarro, C. F. (2013). Modelling the growth of ZnO thin films by PVD methods and the effects of post-annealing. Journal of Physics Condensed Matter25(13). doi:10.1088/0953-8984/25/13/135002

Lazauskas, T., Kenny, S. D., Smith, R., Nagra, G., Dholakia, M., & Valsakumar, M. C. (2013). Simulating radiation damage in a bcc Fe system with embedded yttria nanoparticles. Journal of Nuclear Materials437(1-3), 317-325. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2013.02.016

Robinson, M., Kenny, S. D., Smith, R., & Storr, M. T. (2014). He migration and bubble formation in Ga stabilised δ-Pu. Journal of Nuclear Materials444(1-3), 493-500. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2013.10.017

Gai, X., Lazauskas, T., Smith, R., & Kenny, S. D. (2014). Helium bubbles in bcc Fe and their interactions with irradiation. JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS462, 382-390. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2014.10.027

Yu, M., & Kenny, S. D. (2016). Using atomistic simulations to model cadmium telluride thin film growth. JOURNAL OF PHYSICS-CONDENSED MATTER28(10), 11 pages. doi:10.1088/0953-8984/28/10/105002

 View central publications database


External Collaborators:

  • AGC Glass Europe
  • Atomic Weapons Establishment
  • Imperial College
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Newcastle University
  • TWI
  • University College London
  • University of Auckland
  • University of Mons
  • University of Oxford
  • Xidian University