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Dr Chris Steer

Lecturer - Applied Physics

About Research

Chris graduated from the University of Oxford graduating with a MPhys in 2000 and subsequently a Doctorate in 2003, specializing in the application of muons to the study of a special class of magnetic materials. Fascinated by the interplay of magnetic, vibrational and electronic degrees of freedom in materials, Chris then held a Post-doctoral Research Fellowship position the University of Warwick, utilising powerful X-rays at large central facilities such as the ERSF, near Grenoble, and SPring-8, in Japan, to perform detailed studies of the role of electrons in magnetism. Alongside this, Chris developed experimental high pressure laboratory facilities at the University of Warwick in order to examine the role of pressure in helping or hindering magnetic material phase to form.

After the postdoctoral position in 2006, Chris moved into industry taking up a role as a consultant engineer with Waterfall Solutions, near Guildford. The role comprised the development of statistical models of vegetation in order to improve segmentation in satellite images and detect anomalous features in hyperspectral datasets, and the development of image fusion methods, combing of visible and infra-red band images to support effective human decision-making from these.

Chris then moved to AWE taking up a Senior Scientist position in 2008, researching radiographic image analysis and Bayesian methods of predictive modelling. Additionally, he applied mathematics of image formation in high speed cameras to correct for artefacts and improve the quantification of image measurements.

In 2013, Chris became a Principal Physicist at AWE and developed a deeper interest in novel radiation detection techniques for applications in the Homeland Security and Nuclear Treaty Verification areas. This enabled a fruitful research period, working at the intersection between particle physics instrumentation and nuclear security. For several years, and building on earlier experiences, Chris led AWE’s research into the area of muon tomography for Border Monitoring, scientifically advising UK and US Government departments on its benefits and limitations.

In 2017, following an enjoyable two years in a Visiting Lectureship position, Chris joined St Mary’s University full-time to hold a Lectureship in Applied Physics. Chris teaches modules in Electromagnetism and Electronics, Solid State Physics, Additive Manufacturing, Mathematics and Computing. Chris presently supervises a Masters by Research student, developing a cosmic ray muon radiography system for the imaging large industrial and natural structures.

Chris also maintains an active twitter profile https://twitter.com/DrChrisSteer and research pages at https://casteer.github.io/.


Research

Chris’ research interests include:

  • The development of radiation instrumentation and algorithms for diverse applications such as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Civil Nuclear sector.
  • Radiographic and tomographic imaging using background cosmic ray muons for applications to volcanology, reactor condition monitoring and mineralogy.
  • The application of antineutrino monitoring to reactors and their role in treaty verification
  • The use of particle transport simulations such GEANT4 and Garfield++ detector interaction codes and their application to the development of gaseous particle detectors
  • Using emerging design and manufacturing technologies, such as additive manufacturing, in order to prototype and develop instrumentation 

If you are interested in studying for a Masters by Research or PhD in any of these areas, please feel free to get in touch with Chris and he’ll be happy to talk further.

Publications

Refereed Full Papers

J. Burns, T. Crane, A.C. Ezeribe, C.L. Grove, W. Lynch, A. Scarff, N.J.C. Spooner and C. Steer. Characterisation of large area THGEMs and experimental measurement of the Townsend coefficients for CF4.Journal of Instrumentation, 12(10):T10006

L Frazao, J. Velthuis, C. Thomay, and C. A. Steer. Discrimination of high-Z materials in concrete-filled containers using muon scattering tomography. Journal of Instrumentation, 11(07):P07020, 2016.

J. Burns, S. Quillin, M. Stapleton, C. A. Steer, and S. Snow. A drift chamber tracking system for muon scattering tomography applications. Journal of Instrumentation, 10(10):P10041, 2015.

P. Baesso, D. Cussans, C. Thomay, J. Velthuis, J. Burns, S. Quillin, M. Stapleton, and C. A. Steer. Degradation in the efficiency of glass Resistive Plate Chambers operated without external gas supply. Journal of Instrumentation, 10:6001P, June 2015.

C. Thomay, J. Velthuis, P. Baesso, D. Cussans, C. A. Steer, J. Burns, S. Quillin, and M. Stapleton. A Novel Markov Random Field-based Clustering Algorithm to Detect High-Z Objects with Cosmic Rays. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, 62(4):1837, July 2015.

M. Stapleton, J. Burns, S. Quillin, and C. A. Steer. Angle statistics reconstruction: a robust reconstruction algorithm for muon scattering tomography. Journal of Instrumentation, 9(11):P11019, 2014.

P. Baesso, D. Cussans, C. Thomay, J. J. Velthuis, J. Burns, C. A. Steer, and S. Quillin. A high resolution resistive plate chamber tracking system developed for cosmic ray muon tomography. Journal of Instrumentation, 8(08):P08006, 2013.

D. Cussans, P. Baesso, J. Burns, S. Quillin, C. A. Steer, C. Thomay, and J. J. Velthuis. A readout system for a cosmic ray telescope using resistive plate chambers. Journal of Instrumentation, 8(03):C03003, 2013.

C. Thomay, J. J. Velthuis, P. Baesso, D. Cussans, P. A. W. Morris, C. A. Steer, J. Burns, S. Quillin, and M. Stapleton. A binned clustering algorithm to detect high-z material using cosmic muons. Journal of Instrumentation, 8(10):P10013, 2013.

P. Baesso, D. Cussans, J. Davies, P. Glaysher, C. Thomay, C. Vassallo, J. Velthuis, S. Quillin, S. Robertson, and C. A. Steer. High resolution muon tracking with resistive plate chambers. Journal of Instrumentation, 7(11):P11018, 2012.

P. Baesso, D. Cussans, C. Thomay, J. J.Velthuis, S. Quillin, S. Robertson, and C. A. Steer. Muon scattering tomography with resistive plate chambers. Proceedings of IEEE NSS/MIC, Anaheim USA, 2012.

C. J. Benton, N. D. Smith, S. Quillin, and C. A. Steer. Most probable trajectory of a muon in a scattering medium, when input and output trajectories are known. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, 693(0):154 – 159, 2012.

C. Thomay, P. Baesso, D. Cussans, J. Davies, P. Glaysher, S. Quillin, S. Robertson, C. A. Steer, C. Vassallo, and J. J. Velthuis. A novel technique to detect special nuclear material using cosmic rays. Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems, 1:235–238, 2012.

C. Shenton-Taylor, J. A. Duffy, J. W. Taylor, C. A. Steer, D. N. Timms, M. J. Cooper, and L. V. Blaauw. Magnetic compton scattering study of the magnetocaloric material Gd7Pd3. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 19(18):186208, 2007.

C. A. Steer. Time dependence of muon spin relaxation spectra and spin correlation functions. Phys. Rev. B, 73:012408, Jan 2006.

M. J. Cooper, J. A. Duffy, Z. F. Banfield, A. M. Bebb, L. Blaauw, C. Shenton-Taylor, C. A. Steer, and J. W. Taylor. Compton scattering studies of 4f ferromagnetism. Radiation Physics and Chemistry, 75(11):1638–1645, 2006.

M. L. Brooks, S. J. Blundell, C. A. Steer, T. Lancaster, F. L. Pratt, P. Vaqueiro, and A. V. Powell. Muon spin rotation study of magnetism in electron-doped chromium sulfide. Phys. Rev. B, 72:012419, Jul 2005.

Z. F. Banfield, J. A. Duffy, J. W. Taylor, C. A. Steer, A. Bebb, M. J. Cooper, L. Blaauw, C. Shenton-Taylor, and R. Ruiz-Bustos. Spin-resolved compton scattering study of RuSr2GdCu2O8. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 17(36):5533, 2005.

S. J. Blundell, J. A. Stride, M. L. Brooks, C. A. Steer, S. P. Nair, P. D. Battle, and M. J. Rosseinsky. The observation of magnetic excitations in a single layered and a bilayered brownmillerite. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 17(1):99, 2005.

P. D. Battle, S. J. Blundell, M. L. Brooks, M. Hervieu, C. Kapusta, T. Lancaster, S. P. Nair, C. J. Oates, F. L. Pratt, M. J. Rosseinsky. Ca2.5Sr0.5GaMn2O8: Diamagnetic Ga in control of the structural and electronic properties of a bilayered manganate. Journal of the American Chemical Society,126(39):12517–12527, 2004.

S. J. Blundell, T. Lancaster, F. L. Pratt, C. A. Steer, M. Brooks, and J-F. Letard. Dynamic and static muon-spin relaxation observed above and below the spin-crossover in Fe(II) complexes. In Journal de Physique IV (Proceedings), volume 114, pages 601–605. EDP sciences, 2004.

S. J. Blundell, F. L. Pratt, C. A. Steer, I. M. Marshall, and Jean-François Létard. A μsr study of the spin-crossover. Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids, 65(1):25–28, 2004.

S. J. Blundell, C. A. Steer, F. L. Pratt, I. M. Marshall, W. Hayes, and R. C. C. Ward. Detection of magnetic order in the s = 1 chain compound LiVGe2O6 using implanted spin-polarized muons. Phys. Rev. B, 67:224411, Jun 2003.

S. J. Blundell, F. L Pratt, T. Lancaster, I. M. Marshall, C. A Steer, S. L Heath, J-F. Létard, T. Sugano, D. Mihailovic, and A. Omerzu. μsr studies of organic and molecular magnets. Polyhedron, 22(14):1973–1980, 2003.

S. J. Blundell, F. L. Pratt, I. M. Marshall, C. A. Steer, W. Hayes, J-F. Létard, S. L. Heath, A. Caneschi, and D. Gatteschi. Muon study of molecular magnets, spin crossover and magnetic nanodiscs. Synthetic metals, 133:531–533, 2003.

A. I. Coldea, S. J. Blundell, C. A. Steer, F. L. Pratt, D. Prabhakaran, and J. F. Mitchell. Changes of the spin dynamics in perovskite and bilayer manganite. Physica B: Condensed Matter, 326(1):500–504, 2003.

D. J. Gallon, P. D. Battle, S. J. Blundell, A. I. Coldea, M. R. Rosseinsky, and C. A. Steer. Synthesis and characterisation of Sr1.2Nd0.8Mn0.6Rh0.4O4. Journal of Materials Chemistry, 13(5):1166–1172, 2003.

C. A. Steer, S. J. Blundell, A. I. Coldea, I. M. Marshall, T. Lancaster, P. D. Battle, D. Gallon, A. J. Fargus, and M. J. Rosseinsky. A μsr study of the spin dynamics in Ir-diluted layered manganites. Physica B: Condensed Matter, 326(1):513–517, 2003.

A. I. Coldea, S. J. Blundell, C. A. Steer, J. F. Mitchell, and F. L. Pratt. Spin freezing and magnetic inhomogeneities in bilayer manganites. Phys. Rev. Lett., 89:277601, Dec 2002.

P. D. Battle, A. M. T. Bell, S. J. Blundell, A. I. Coldea, D. J. Gallon, F. L. Pratt, M. J. Rosseinsky, and C. A. Steer. Crystal structure and magnetic properties of SrCaMnGaO5+d. Journal of Solid State Chemistry, 167(1):188–195, 2002.

D. J. Gallon, P. D. Battle, S. J. Blundell, J. C. Burley, A. I. Coldea, E. J. Cussen, M. J. Rosseinsky, and C. A. Steer. Synthesis and characterization of Ru-doped n= 1 and n= 2 Ruddlesden-Popper manganates. Chemistry of materials, 14(9):3976–3983, 2002.

I. Coldea, S. J. Blundell, I. M. Marshall, C. A. Steer, J. Singleton, F. L. Pratt, L. D. Noailles, M. J. Rosseinsky, L. E. Spring, and P. D. Battle. Evolution of the magnetic and magnetotransport properties of the Ga-substituted manganite compounds La2−xSrxMnGaO6. Phys. Rev. B, 65:054402, Dec 2001.

P. Vaqueiro, A. V. Powell, A. I. Coldea, C. A. Steer, I. M. Marshall, S. J. Blundell, J. Singleton, and T. Ohtani. Colossal magnetoresistance in the layered chromium sulphide Cr2S3−x (x = 0.08). Phys. Rev. B, 64:132402, Aug 2001.

P. D. Battle, A. M. T. Bell, S. J. Blundell, A. I. Coldea, E. J. Cussen, G. C. Hardy, I. M. Marshall, M. J. Rosseinsky, and C. A. Steer. Chemically induced magnetism and magnetoresistance in La0.8Sr1.2Mn0.6Rh0.4O4.Journal of the American Chemical Society, 123(31):7610–7615, 2001.

Conference Papers

J. Burns, C. A. Steer, S. Quillin, and M. Stapleton. Muon Scattering Tomography using Drift Chamber Detectors. In Proceedings of Technology and Instrumentation in Particle Physics 2014 (TIPP2014). 2-6 June 2014. Amsterdam, the Netherlands., page 291, 2014.

C. Angell, C. A. Steer, and J. Rogers. Image volume registration. In Third annual SEAS-DTC conference, 2008.

L. Cox, P. Adsley, J. O’Malley, S. Quillin, C. A. Steer, and C. Clemett. Detector requirements for a cosmic ray muon scattering tomography system. In Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record, 2008. NSS’08. IEEE, pages 706–710. IEEE, 2008.

C. A. Steer, J. Rogers, M. Smith, J. Heather, M. Bernhardt, and D. Hickman. Advances in image registration and fusion. In SPIE Defense and Security Symposium, pages 697404–697404. International Society for Optics and Photonics, 2008.

M.J. Cooper, C. Shenton-Taylor, J.A. Duffy, C.A. Steer, and L.V. Blaauw. A short history of magnetic compton scattering. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, 580(1):1 –7, 2007. Proceedings of the 10 th International Symposium on Radiation Physics (ISRP10).

D. Hickman, J. Heather, and C. A. Steer. Data and image volume registration. In Second annual SEAS-DTC conference, 2007.

C. A. Steer and M. Bernhardt. Hyperspectral clutter, phenomenology, and detection algorithms. In Remote Sensing, pages 67480F–67480F. International Society for Optics and Photonics, 2007.