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Dr Lewis Owen

  • College positions:

    Research Fellow


MSci Natural Sciences (Chemistry) – University of Cambridge (2009-2013) PhD Materials Science and Metallurgy – University of Cambridge and ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (2013-2017)


Research Interests

My research focuses on the use of total scattering techniques for the study of local effects in alloy systems. Total scattering is a method where both the diffuse and Bragg scattering are considered simultaneously. This provides insight into the local effects occurring in alloys beyond the average structure that is obtainable from the Bragg data alone. Using a combination of X-ray and Neutron scattering, we are able to probe the short-range order in metallic compounds, understanding the material on the atomic scale. A combination of small (PDFGui) and large box modeeling (RMCProfile) modelling techniques are used to interpret the data. Of particular interest are the distortions in the local structure, and variations in order that occur prior to phase transitions in the system. The knowledge of the local structure is of key importance to the structure-property relationships of the material.

The systems I study range from simple binary alloys, to industrially relevant systems (e.g. Nickel superalloys) and novel materials (e.g. High-entropy alloys).


Teaching Interests

I lecture and supervise a mixture of Chemistry and Materials courses:

  • Materials Science Part IB (supervise)
  • Chemistry Part IB (supervise)
  • Chemistry Part II, C6 – Diffraction Methods in Chemistry (supervise)
  • Chemistry Part III, M3 – Advanced Diffraction Methods (lecture and supervise)



Beament Prize for outstanding Musical performance (Queens’ College, Cambridge, 2013) Norrish Prize for distinction in Physical Chemistry (University of Cambridge 2013) Cambridge Society for the Application of research (CSAR) award (2017) Malvern PANalytical Thesis Prize for Physical Crystallography (British Crystallographic Association, 2018).


Key Publications

H.Y. Playford, L.R. Owen, I. Levin, M.G. Tucker. “New insights into complex materials using Reverse Monte Carlo modeling.” Annual Reviews in Materials Research, 44 (2014), 429-449.

L.R. Owen, H.Y. Playford, H.J. Stone, M.G. Tucker, “A New Approach to the Analysis of Short-range Order in Alloys using total scattering”, Acta Materialia, 115 (2016) 155-166.

L.R. Owen, E.J. Pickering, H.Y. Playford, H.J. Stone, M.G. Tucker and N.G. Jones “An assessment of the lattice strain in the CrMnFeCoNi High-Entropy Alloy”, Acta Materialia, 122 (2017) 11-18.

L.R. Owen, H.Y. Playford, H.J. Stone and M.G. Tucker “Analysis of Short-Range Order in Cu3Au using X-ray Pair Distribution Functions”, Acta Materialia, 125 (2017) 15-26.


Other Interests

Music (singing and conducting), theatre, scientific outreach