Dr James Bowen MEng, PhD, MRSC, MIoP, AMIChemE

School of Chemical Engineering
Visiting Academic (University of Birmingham)
Lecturer (The Open University)

An interdisciplinary scientist and engineer whose research interests include surface modification, particle technology, polymers, rheology & complex fluids, adhesion, and the liquid/solid interface.

James has expertise in applying Atomic Force Microscopy to a variety of research areas, including Advanced Materials, Healthcare (Medical and Dental), and Personal Care.

He has particular interests in nanolithography, nanomachining, nanometrology, intermolecular & interparticle interactions, biomaterial degradation, and innovative methods of characterising complex materials. He also explores structure-property relationships in natural materials.


  • PhD in Chemistry, University of Birmingham, 2006
  • MEng(Hons) in Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, 2001


2001: MEng (Hons), Chemical Engineering with Management

2006: PhD, Chemistry (NanoAdhesion - Investigating Nanoscale Adhesion Using Self-Assembled Monolayers)

2006: Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham

2009: Designed and commissioned the Science City Advanced Materials Laboratory in the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham.

2014: Director at Bowen Instruments Ltd, which designs and manufactures bespoke scientific instruments and accessories.

2015: Lecturer in Materials Engineering at The Open University


  • Chemical Nanoengineering (Nanocharacterisation; Nanofluidics and Nanoreactors; Nanoparticles; Self Assembly; Supramolecular Chemistry; Thin Films).
  • Colloids and Rheology (Colloid and Interface Science; Rheology; Rheology of Ultrathin Liquid Films; Rheometry).
  • Measurement Techniques (Atomic Force Microscopy; Density and Porosity; Ellipsometry and Surface Plasmon Resonance; Indentation).
  • Multiphase Systems (Intermolecular Forces; Interparticle Forces; Colloid Stability; Liquid-Gas and Liquid-Liquid Interfaces; Liquid-Solid Interfaces).
  • Powder Handling and Processing (Mechanical Properties; Particle-Particle Interactions; Size and Size Distribution).


Research themes

  • Adhesion, contact mechanics and tribology
  • Materials characterisation
  • Microscopy and spectroscopy
  • Surface and interface analysis
  • Thin film systems

Other activities

ResearcherID profile: www.researcherid.com/rid/B-9874-2011

Academia.edu profile: bham.academia.edu/JamesBowen




  • Nano/biomaterials science, conventional materials science, collaboration with life and medical sciences
  • Surface modification via self-assembly, plasma treatment, and physical vapour deposition
  • Thin film characterisation using ellipsometry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
  • Nanomechanics, adhesion and microstructure via atomic force microscopy, confocal Raman microscopy, and interferometry
  • Complex fluids and soft solids including polymer melts (lubrication), hydrogels (tissue engineering), and solid/liquid suspensions (surface modification)
  • Business engagement with the automotive, chemical, fast-moving consumer goods, pharmaceutical and technology sectors