Felix Hofmann
Lecturer in Engineering


Most of my academic life has been closely linked with both Trinity College and the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford. I joined as an undergraduate in 2003 and stayed on to complete a doctorate, specialising in mechanical and materials engineering. Following this I spent a year as a postdoc at MIT, working on thermal transport in nano-structured materials. In 2013 I returned to Oxford to take up my present positions: an Associate Professorship in the Department of Engineering Science and a College Lectureship at Trinity. My research involves frequent experiments at other institutions, including close links in the US, Germany, France and Australia.


My tutorial teaching at Trinity covers engineering mathematics, providing essential tools that underpin the more applied aspects of the Engineering Science course. Tutorial teaching happens in groups of 2 or 3 students and is an excellent opportunity to discuss the material in detail and address challenging questions as they arise. In the Department of Engineering Science I give lecture courses on solid mechanics and materials, and organise laboratory sessions.


Atomic scale defects are central to the mechanical, physical and failure properties of almost all structural alloys. These defects may, for example, be introduced by mechanical deformation, chemical changes or irradiation. I am interested in characterising these defects and understanding the dramatic changes to material behaviour they may cause. To probe their structure and properties I use a wide range of experimental techniques, concentrating in particular on X-ray diffraction. The short wavelength of X-rays, similar to the distance between atoms in many metals, makes them ideal for probing crystal lattice defects. These experiments are combined with models that cover a wide range of length scales, from considering single atoms to macroscopic components. Two main topics I am currently working on are armour materials for future fusion reactors; and focussed ion beam machining for the manufacture of micro-mechanical systems.

Selected Publications

  • X-ray micro-beam characterization of lattice rotations and distortions due to an individual dislocation; F Hofmann, B Abbey, W Liu, R Xu, BF Usher, E Balaur, Y Liu, Nature Communications 4, 2774 (2013)
  • Intrinsic to extrinsic phonon lifetime transition in a GaAs-AlAs superlattice; F Hofmann, J Garg, AA Maznev, A Jandl, M Bulsara, EA Fitzgerald, G Chen, KA Nelson, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 25, 29 (2013)
  • High Energy Transmission Laue (HETL) micro-beam X-ray diffraction: A probe for intra-granular lattice orientation and elastic strain in thicker samples; F Hofmann, X Song, B Abbey, T-S Jun, AM Korsunsky, Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 19, (2012), pp. 307 – 318