Department of Materials


Dr Zhaoxia Zhou BEng, MSc, PhD

Photo of Dr Zhaoxia Zhou

Senior Research Fellow

TEM specialist - Loughborough Materials Characterisation Centre

LMCC Research Support


Specializing in transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Zhaoxia oversees TEM operations in the Loughborough Materials Characterisation Centre (LMCC), Department of Materials. She is also responsible for communicating LMCC’s research capabilities and supporting grant proposal costing to academic research across the campus and providing industrial consultancy services.

Zhaoxia joined Loughborough University in 2010 as an Experimental Officer after completing multiple EPSRC and European Framework projects as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Sheffield. She was promoted to Research Fellow in 2015 and to Senior Research Fellow in 2023. With over 20 years of experience in materials characterization and failure analysis using electron, ion, X-ray, and laser-based techniques, Zhaoxia has had regular access to Diamond Light Source and SuperSTEM national facilities since 2004.

Collaborating with academics in both physical and life sciences disciplines, Zhaoxia covers a wide range of materials of interest, including engineering alloys, functional ceramics, photovoltaic thin films, Li-ion batteries, semiconductors, tribological PVD coatings, nanoparticles, Pb-free solders, polymer composites, bacteriophages, and human muscle biopsies. With over 90 journal papers Zhaoxia also holds several UKRI research grants as an independent investigator.


  • PhD University of Sheffield entitled “Oxidation and Wear of TiAlN/VN Multilayer PVD Hard Coatings”
  • FRMS Fellow of the Royal Microscopy Society

Outline of main research interests:

Application of advanced electron microscopy and associated analytical techniques to investigate materials microstructure and properties.

This has included:

  1. Interfaces and surfaces: oxidation, wear and friction, wettability.
  2. Materials resilience in a system: heterogeneous integration of polymers, ceramics and metals and their mechanical, thermal and electrical reliability, as well as residual stress (in-situ characterisation at micron and nanometre scale).
  3. Microplastics and particulate matter: morphology, chemistry and statistics.
  4. Cathodoluminescence (CL) for photovoltaic & optoelectronic devices, and wide bandgap semiconductors. Find out more about the National Facility for High-resolution Cathodoluminescence.


  1. National facility for high resolution CL analysis of photovoltaic and optoelectronic devices, EP/X030245/1, 01/23-01/26.
  2. Microplastic entrainment, transport and fragmentation in atmospheric boundary-layer flows, 1/2023-12/2025.
  3. Underpinning Power Electronics 2017: Heterogeneous Integration. ERSRC, (EP/R004501/1), 11/2017-10/2020,
  4. Quasi-ambient bonding to enable cost-effective high temperature Pb-free solder interconnects. EPSRC (EP/R032203/1; EP/R031711/1; EP/R031770/1), 7/2018-6/2021.
  5. 3D CTE controlled integration supporting/encapsulation materials. EPSRC Challenge Network in Automotive Power Electronics, Feasibility Award from University of Nottingham EP/P00136X/1. 7/2018-3/2019.
  6. Santander mobility award, Loughborough University 2018.
  7. Diamond Light Source 12 shifts on proposals SP4591 and MG24151 and ePSIC facility 10 days on proposals EM18971 and MG22358, SuperSTEM regular visits since year 2004.

Current teaching:

  • MPP010 MSc project

Current administration responsibilities:

  • LMCC research capability

Recent publications:

  1. Robertson, S, McClintock, A, Jolley, K, Zhou, H, Davis, S, Wu, H, Liu, C, Doak, S, Zhou, Z(2024) Measuring coefficient of thermal expansion of materials of micrometre size using SEM/FIB microscope with in situ MEMS heating stageJournal of Microscopy, ISSN: 0022-2720. DOI: 1111/jmi.13290.
  2. Agyakwa, PA, Robertson, S, Dai, J, Mouawad, B, Zhou, Z, Liu, C, Johnson, CM (2024) Microstructural Response of Highly Porous Sintered Nano-silver Particle Die Attachments to Thermomechanical CyclingJournal of Electronic Materials, pp.1374-1398, ISSN: 0361-5235. DOI: 1007/s11664-023-10870-4.
  3. Wu, J, Aboulkhair, NT, Robertson, S, Zhou, Z, Bagot, PAJ, Moody, MP, Degano, M, Ashcroft, I, Hague, RJM (2023) Amorphous-crystalline nanostructured Nd-Fe-B permanent magnets using laser powder bed fusion: Metallurgy and magnetic propertiesActa Materialia, 259, pp.119239-119239, ISSN: 1359-6454. DOI: 1016/j.actamat.2023.119239.
  4. Venkat, G, Cox, CDW, Zhou, Z, Leo, N, Kinane, CJ, Caruana, AJ, Morrison, K (2023) Enhancement of spin Seebeck effect in Fe3O4/Pt thin films with α-Fe nanodropletsApplied Physics Letters, 123(17), 172408, ISSN: 0003-6951. DOI: 1063/5.0165851.
  5. Pattnaik, D, Ushakov, Y, Zhou, Z, Borisov, P, Cropper, M, Wijayantha-Kahagala-Gamage, U, Balanov, A, Saveliev, S (2023) Temperature control of diffusive memristor hysteresis and artificial neuron spikingPhysical Review Applied, 19(2), 024065, DOI: 1103/PhysRevApplied.19.024065.
  6. Bullard, J, Zhou, Z, Davis, S, Fowler, S (2022) Breakdown and modification of microplastics beads by aeolian abrasionEnvironmental Science and Technology, 57(1), pp.76-84, ISSN: 0013-936X. DOI: 1021/acs.est.2c05396.
  7. Chen, Y, Liu, C, Zhou, Z, Liu, C (2022) Transient liquid phase bonding with Ga-based alloys for electronics interconnectionsJournal of Manufacturing Processes, 84, pp.1310-1319, ISSN: 1526-6125. DOI: 1016/j.jmapro.2022.11.005.
  8. Inns, D, Pei, X, Zhou, Z, Irving, DJM, Kondrat, S (2022) The influence of phase purity on the stability of Pt/LaAlO3 catalysts in the aqueous phase reforming of glycerolMaterials Today Chemistry, 26(2022), 101230, DOI: 1016/j.mtchem.2022.101230.
  9. Ramachandran, S, Zhong, Y, Robertson, S, Panteli, C, Liang, S, Wu, F, Zhou, R, Marathe, S, Zhou, Z, Holmes, AS, Haigh, SJ, Liu, C, Mirihanage, W (2022) Fast in-situ synchrotron X-ray imaging of the interfacial reaction during self-propagating exothermic reactive bondingMaterialia, 23, 101444, DOI: 1016/j.mtla.2022.101444.
  10. Liang, S, Zhong, Y, Robertson, S, Liu, A, Zhou, Z, Liu, C (2021) Thermo-mechanical characteristics and reliability of die-attach through self-propagating exothermic reaction bondingIEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, 11(12), pp.2122-2129, ISSN: 2156-3950. DOI: 10.1109/TCPMT.2021.3108017

View central publications database

External collaborators:

  • SuperSTEM
  • University of Manchester
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Sheffield
  • The Manufacturing Technology Centre: MTC
  • Dynex Semiconductor Ltd