Thomas Connolley


Thomas Connolley is Senior Beamline Scientist for I12. He joined Diamond in 2006, with a maor role in the design, construction and commissioning of the I12 JEEP beamline. He has previously worked for British Aerospace in the UK, Materials Performance Technologies in New Zealand and The National Centre for Biomedical Engineering & Science in Ireland.

Tel: +44 (0) 1235 778485

Research Interests

  1. Current Research Activity
  2. Collaborations
  3. Publications
Current Research Activity -

1. Imaging & Tomography of Solidification and Semi-Solid Processing

If you've ever tried to make ice-cream at home, you'll know that careful preparation and mixing is important for good results! Understanding freezing and solidification processes is also vital for casting of metals like aluminium alloys and steels. I'm currently collaborating with research groups at the University of Manchester, University of Oxford, University of Hull and Brunel University on various projects which use high speed, in-situ X-ray imaging and tomography to study solidification and semi solid processing. We're experimenting with novel mixing processes, such as ultrasound and pulsed electromagnetic fields, to control the size and shape of the crystals which form as a metal solidifies. The microstructure which forms during freezing has an effect on all downstream mechanical and physical properties, for example strength and fatigue resistance. We're also studying how impurity elements like iron affect the microstructure of aluminium alloys. This is very important if we want to imporve the quality of alloys made from recycled aluminium.

2. High Energy Small Angle X-ray Scattering

Small Angle X-ray Scattering is generally used to study soft condensed matter, but it can also be applied to "hard" engineering materials like steels and superalloys. We  take advantage of the high photon energies and long sample-detector distances available on Beamline I12 to perform HE-SAXS experiments. The technique is still under development at I12, and is not yet optimised, but we're working on it!

The HE-SAXS teschnique has potential for studying solution treatment, precipitation and ageing in nickel-base superalloys, where the size and volume fraction of strengthening precipitates is critical for optimum materials performance. For example, we can heat treat an alloy in-situ on the beamline, while observing the changes in preciptiate size distribution using SAXS.


Collaborations - +

I'm very fortunate to be collaborating with the following people and their research groups. Please click the links to find out more.

University of Hull and Brunel University

Dr. Jiawei Mi

Professor Dmitry Eskin

We started a project in 2014 called "Ultra Cast" to develop ultrasound processing of metal alloys during solidification. The work will include high speed radiography experiments.

University of Manchester X-ray Imaging Facility

Professor Peter D. Lee

We're  collaborating informally on various in-situ processing and testing experiments, thanks to the close links between Diamond and the Manchester X-ray Imaging Facility.

University of Oxford, Department of Materials

Professor Patrick Grant

Collaboration on high speed radiography of solidification processes, with researchers Dr. Enzo Liotti, Dr. Andrew Lui and Dr. S. Kumar.

Science & Technology Facilities Council

Dr. Matthew Wilson

Dr. Matthew Veale

Collaboration on applications of the HEXITEC pixellated CdTe "hyperspectral" detector in fluorescence and diffraction modes for studying materials processing and microstructural changes.




Publications - +



B. Cai, S. Karagadde, D. Rowley, T. J. Marrow, T. Connolley, P. D. Lee (2015) “Time-resolved synchrotron tomographic quantification of deformation-induced flow in a semi-solid equiaxed dendritic Al-Cu alloy” Scripta Materialia, 103: 69-72.

doi: 10.1016/j.scriptamat.2015.03.011

M. Drakopoulos, T. Connolley, C Reinhard, R. C. Atwood, O. Magdysyuk, N. Vo, L. Connor, R.  Humphreys, G. Howell, S. Davies, T. P. Hill, M. Hart, G. Wilkin, U. Pedersen, A.  Forster, N. De Maio, M. Basham, K. Wanelik (2015) “The Joint Engineering, Environment & Processing (JEEP) Beamline at Diamond Light Source” Journal of Synchrotron Radiation, ­ 22: IN PRESS.

doi: 10.1107/S1600577515003513

D.M. Collins, M. Mostafavi, R.I. Todd, T. Connolley, A.J. Wilkinson (2015) “A synchrotron X-ray diffraction study of in situ biaxial deformation” Acta Materialia 90: 46-58

doi: 10.1016/j.actamat.2015.02.009

K.M. Kareh, P.D. Lee, R.C. Atwood, T. Connolley, C.M. Gourlay (2014) “Pore behaviour during semi-solid alloy compression: Insights into defect creation under pressure” Scripta Materialia 89: 73-76

doi: 10.1016/j.scriptamat.2014.06.033

K.M. Kareh, P.D. Lee, R.C. Atwood, T. Connolley, C.M. Gourlay (2014) “Revealing the micromechanisms behind semi-solid metal deformation with time-resolved X-ray tomography” Nature Communications 5: 4464

doi: 10.1038/ncomms5464

Y. Huang, J. C. Khong, T. Connolley, J. Mi (2014) “The onset of plasticity of a Zr-based bulk metallic glass” International Journal of Plasticity 60: 87-100

doi: 10.1016/j.ijplas.2014.05.003

E. Liotti ,A. Lui, R. Vincent, K. Sundaram ,Z. Guo, T. Connolley, I. Dolbnya, L. Arnberg, R. Mathiesen, P. Grant (2014) “A synchrotron X-ray radiography study of dendrite fragmentation induced by a pulsed electromagnetic field in a Al-15Cu alloy” Acta Materialia 70C: 228-239

doi: 10.1016/j.actamat.2014.02.024

J. H. Tutt, D. J. Hall, M. R. Soman, A. D. Holland, A. J. Warren, T. Connolley, A. M. Evagora (2014) “Comparison of EM-CCD and scientific CMOS based camera systems for high resolution X-ray imaging and tomography applications” Journal of Instrumentation 9: P06017

doi: 10.1088/1748-0221/9/06/P06017

B. Cai, S. Karagadde, L. Yuan, T.J. Marrow, T. Connolley, P.D. Lee (2014) “In situ synchrotron tomographic quantification of granular and intragranular deformation during semi-solid compression of an equiaxed dendritic Al–Cu alloy” Acta Materialia 76: 371-380

doi: 10.1016/j.actamat.2014.05.035


C. Puncreobutr, P. D. Lee, K. M. Kareh, T. Connolley, J. L. Fife, A. B. Phillion (2014) “Influence of Fe-rich intermetallics on solidification defects in Al–Si–Cu alloys” Acta Materialia 68, 42–51

doi: 10.1016/j.actamat.2014.01.007

X. Song,  M. Xie, F. Hofmann, T. Illston, T. Connolley, C. Reinhard, R. C. Atwood, L. Connor,M. Drakopoulos, L. Frampton, A. M. Korsunsky (2014) “Residual stresses and microstructure in Powder Bed Direct LaserDeposition (PB DLD) samples” International Journal of Metal Forming 8: 245-254

doi: 10.1007/s12289-014-1163-1

C. K. Egan, S. D. M. Jacques, T. Connolley, M. D. Wilson, M. C. Veale, P. Seller, R J. Cernik (2014) “Dark-field hyperspectral X-ray imaging” Proceedings Royal Society A, 470: 20130629

doi: 10.1098/rspa.2013.0629


Y. Huang, J. C. Khong, T. Connolley, J. Mi (2014) “Understanding the deformation mechanism of individual phases of a ZrTi-based bulk metallic glass matrix composite using in situ diffraction and imaging methods”  Applied Physics Letters 104: 031912

doi: 10.1063/1.4863095



M. Kaye, C. Puncreobutr, P.D. Lee, D.S. Balint, T. Connolley, D. Farrugia, J. Lin (2013) “A new parameter for modelling three-dimensional damage evolution validated by synchrotron tomography” Acta Materialia 61,7616–7623

doi: 10.1016/j.actamat.2013.08.065

A. J. Warren, W. Armour, D. Axford, M. Basham, T. Connolley, D. R. Hall, S. Horrell, K. E. McAuley, V. Mykhaylyk, A. Wagner, G. Evans (2013) “Visualization of membrane-protein crystals in the lipid cubic phase using X-ray imaging.” Acta Crystallographica D, 69, 1252-1259.

doi: 10.1107/S0907444913011359

X. Song, M. Xie, F. Hofmann, T. S. Jun, T. Connolley, C. Reinhard, R. C. Atwood, L. Connor, M. Drakopoulos, S. Harding, A. M. Korsunsky (2013). “Residual Stresses In Linear Friction Welding Of Aluminium Alloys.” Materials and Design 50: 360-369.

doi: 10.1016/j.matdes.2013.03.051

Y. J. Huang, J.C. Khong, T. Connolley, J. Mi (2013). “In situ study of the evolution of atomic strain of bulk metallic glass and its effects on shear band formation.” Scripta Materialia, 69, 207-210.

doi: 10.1016/j.scriptamat.2013.03.016

N. Baimpas, M. Drakopoulos, T. Connolley, Xu Song, C. Pandazaras, A. M. Korsunsky (2013). “A feasibility study of dynamic stress analysis inside a running internal combustion engine using synchrotron X-ray beams” Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 20: 316-323

doi: 10.1107/S0909049513000885

C. Puncreobutr, R. Hamilton, B. Cai, T. Connolley, P. D. Lee (2012). “Synchrotron Tomographic Characterization of Damage Evolution During Aluminum Alloy Solidification” Metallurgical And Materials Transactions A 44: 5389-5395

doi: 10.1007/s11661-012-1563-0


Á. N. Bhreasail, P. D. Lee, C. O’Sullivan, C. H. Fenton, R. Hamilton, P. Rockett, T. Connolley  (2012). "In-Situ Observation of Cracks in Frozen Soil using Synchrotron Tomography." Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 23(2): 170-176.

doi: 10.1002/ppp.1737


M. R. Rowles, M. J. Styles, I. C. Madsen, N. V. Y. Scarlett, K. McGregor, D. P. Riley, G. A. Snook, A. J. Urban, T. Connolley, C. Reinhard (2012) "Quantification of passivation layer growth in inert anodes for molten salt electrochemistry by in situ energy-dispersive diffraction." Journal of Applied Crystallography 45(1): 28-37.

doi: 10.1107/S0021889811044104


D. R. Merrifield, V. Ramachandran, K. J. Roberts, W. Armour, D. Axford, M. Basham, T. Connolley, G. Evans, K. E. McAuley, R. L. Owen, J. Sandy (2011). "A novel technique combining high-resolution synchrotron X-ray microtomography and x-ray diffraction for characterization of micro particulates." Measurement Science and Technology 22(11): 115703.

doi: 10.1088/0957-0233/22/11/115703


A.B. Phillion, R.W. Hamilton , D. Fuloria , A. C. L. Leung , P. Rockett , T. Connolley, P. D. Lee (2011) “In situ X-ray observation of semi-solid deformation and failure in Al–Cu alloys” Acta Materialia 59: 1436–1444. Work also featured in 2011 Diamond Annual Review.

doi: 10.1016/j.actamat.2010.11.005


A. Kyrieleis, V. Titarenko, M. Ibison, T. Connolley, P. J . Withers (2011)Region-of-interest tomography using filtered backprojection: assessing the practical limits” Journal of Microscopy, 241(1): 69–82.

doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2818.2010.03408.x


A. M. Korsunsky, X. Song, F. Hofmann, B. Abbey , M. Xie, T. Connolley, C. Reinhard, R. C. Atwood, L. Connor, M. Drakopoulos (2010). “Polycrystal deformation analysis by high energy synchrotron X-ray diffraction on the I12 JEEP beamline at Diamond Light Source” Materials Letters 64: 1724–1727.

doi: 10.1016/j.matlet.2010.04.023


T. Connolley, S. Hanks, M. Drakopoulos, T. Hill (2009) “Bonding of single crystal silicon to Cu and AlN:trial results” Science and Technology of Welding and Joining 14(1): 1-3.

doi: 10.1179/174329308X319208


J. P. Sutter, T. Connolley, T. P. Hill, H. Huang, D. W. Sharp, M. Drakopoulos (2008). "Obtaining local reciprocal lattice vectors from finite-element analysis." Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 15: 584-592.

doi: 10.1107/S090904950802801X


T. Connolley, D. Nash, J.-Y. Buffière, F. Sharif, P. E. McHugh (2007). "X-ray micro-tomography of a coronary stent deployed in a model artery". Medical Engineering & Physics 29: 1132–1141. Work also featured in the 2005 ESRF Science Highlights.

doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2006.10.016


E. Donnelly, M. Bruzzi, T. Connolley, P. E. McHugh (2007). “Finite element comparison of performance related characteristics of balloon expandable stents” Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering 10(2): 103–110.

doi: 10.1080/10255840601086234


X. You, T. Connolley, H. Cuddy, P. E. McHugh & C. Motz (2006) "A combined experimental and computational study of deformation in grains of 316LVM stainless steel".  Acta Materialia 54: 4825-4840.

doi: 10.1016/j.actamat.2006.06.021


B. P. Murphy, H. Cuddy, F. J. Harewood, T. Connolley, P. E. McHugh (2006). "The influence of grain size on the ductility of micro-scale stainless steel stent struts" Journal of Materials: Materials in Medicine, 17: 1-6.

doi: 10.1007/s10856-006-6323-5


T. Connolley, P. E. McHugh, M. Bruzzi (2005). "A review of deformation and fatigue of metals at small size scales" Fatigue & Fracture of Engineering Materials & Structures. 28: 1119-1152.

doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2695.2005.00951.x


T. Connolley, M. J. Starink & P. A. S. Reed (2004). "Effect of broaching on high temperature fatigue behaviour in notched specimens of INCONEL® 718" Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A,  35A: 771-783.

doi: 10.1007/s11661-004-0005-z


H. Toda, I. Sinclair, J-Y Buffière, E. Maire, T. Connolley, M. Joyce, K-H Khor, P. Gregson  (2003). "Assessment of the fatigue crack closure phenomenon in damage-tolerant aluminium alloy by in-situ high-resolution synchrotron x-ray microtomography" Philosophical Magazine 83: 2429-2448.

doi: 10.1080/1478643031000115754


T. Connolley, P.A.S. Reed, M.J. Starink (2003). "Short crack initiation and growth at 600oC in notched specimens of Inconel 718" Materials Science & Engineering A, 340: 139-154.

doi: 10.1016/S0921-5093(02)00169-7




Graeme Horne, Matthew J. Peel, Danie G. Hattingh,Thomas Connolley, Mike Hart, Joe Kelleher, Shu Yan Zhang, David J. Smith (2014). “An experimental procedure to determine the interaction between applied loads and residual stresses” Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Residual Stresses: Materials Science Forum 768-769: 733-740.

doi: 10.4028/


 E. Liotti, A. Lui, R. Vincent, S. Kumar, Z. Guo, T. Connolley, M. Hart, L. Arnberg, R.H. Mathiesen and P.S. Grant (2013). “A Synchrotron X-ray Radiography Investigation of Induced Dendrite Fragmentation in Al-15wt%Cu” Proceedings 6th International Light Metals Technology Conference 2013: Materials Science Forum 765: 210-214

 C. Puncreobutr, P. D. Lee, M. Kaye, D. Balint, D. Farrugia, T. Connolley, J Lin (2012). “Quantifying damage accumulation during the hot deformation of free-cutting steels using ultra-fast synchrotron tomography” IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering 33: 012038

 R. W. Hamilton, A. Leung, A. B. Phillion, P. Rockett, T. Connolley, and P. D. Lee (2011). “In Situ High Speed X-Ray Observation of the Solidification of AL15CU with and without Al2O3 Composite Addition” Proc. Shape Casting: 4th International Symposium 2011, Eds. M.Tiryakio─člu,  J. Campbell, P. N. Crepeau, Wiley: 87-93.

J. P. Sutter, T. Connolley, M. Drakopoulos, T. P. Hill, D. W. Sharp (2008): “Ray traces of an arbitrarily deformed double-crystal Laue X-ray monochromator” Proc. SPIE 7077: 70771N-1

 E. Donnelly, T. Connolley, M. S. Bruzzi, P. E. McHugh (2005). "Finite element comparison of performance related characteristics of cardiovascular stents" Proc. 6th International Symposium on Computer Methods in Biomechanics & Biomedical Engineering. Madrid. Spain, February 25-28 2004. 94H.

T. Connolley, Mark Bruzzi, Peter McHugh  (2004). "Fatigue analysis of cardiovascular implants" Proc. 10th Annual Conference, Section of Bioengineering, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland. Eds. D. P. FitzPatrick, B. A. O. McCormack, T. M. McGloughlin, Castleconnell, Limerick, 30-31 January 2004, 66.

E. W. Donnelly, T. Connolley, M. S. Bruzzi, P. E. McHugh (2004). "Modelling the post-deployment stress states in vascular stents" Proc. 10th Annual Conference, Section of Bioengineering, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, Eds. D. P. FitzPatrick, B. A. O. McCormack, T. M. McGloughlin, Castleconnell, Limerick, 30-31 January 2004, 65.

H. Cuddy, T. Connolley, B. P. Murphy, M. Bruzzi, P. E. McHugh, D. F. Quinn (2004) "Experimental analysis of size impact on mechanical properties of fine wires for vascular implants" Proc. 10th Annual Conference, Section of Bioengineering, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, Eds. D. P. FitzPatrick, B. A. O. McCormack, T. M. McGloughlin, Castleconnell, Limerick, 30-31 January 2004, 67.

T. Connolley, G. Scrase, A. Klumpers, D. Firth (2002). "Behaviour of anodized magnesium coatings under creep and tensile loading." Proc. Inaugural New Zealand Metals Industry Conference, Rotorua, 31 October - 2 November 2002, HERA.

T. Connolley, M. J. Starink, P. A. S. Reed (2002). "Effect of Oxidation on High Temperature Fatigue Crack Initiation and Short Crack Growth in Inconel 718" Proc. Superalloys 2000, Eds. T. M. Pollock, R. D. Kissenger, R. R. Bowman, K. A. Green, M. Mclean, S. Olson & J. J. Schirra, TMS, Warrendale, PA, USA, pp. 435-444.

T. Connolley, P. A. S. Reed, M. J. Starink  (2000). "A Study of the Role of (Nb,Ti)C Carbides in Fatigue Crack Initiation in Inconel 718 at 20oC and 600oC" Proc. Parsons 2000, Eds. A. Strang, W. M. Banks, R. D. Conroy, G. M. McColvin, J. C. Neal & S. Simpson, IOM, London pp. 982-998.

P. A. S. Reed, F. Hachette, D. Thakar, T. Connolley, M. J. Starink (1999). "Creep-fatigue initiation and early crack growth in Inconel 718" Proc. 8th International Conference on Mechanical Behaviour of Materials (ICM8), Eds. Ellyin F. & Provan J.W., Fleming Printing Ltd. Victoria, BC, Canada, vol. 1 pp. 418-423.