Mark S'ari


After completing my undergraduate degree in Nanotechnology I started a PhD in 2014 at the University of Leeds funded by EPSRC and AstraZeneca. In 2018 I successfully completed my PhD thesis titled "Structural Integrity of  Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in Formulation by Electron Microscopy Techniques." and then started a job as an Experimental Officer for Leeds EPSRC Nanoscience and Nanoequipment Facility (LENNF) and the Sir Henry Royce Institute.

Research interests

My PhD research focused on using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to detect low-levels of crystalline materials within pharmaceutical drug formulations to assist in drug formulation development. TEM is a characterisation method that is more sensitive than commonly used methods such as X-ray diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.

However, one problem associated with TEM is the damage the electron beam can cause to the sample which can structurally alter the sample, for example, altering crystalline drugs to the amorphous phase. Therefore, understanding the effects of electron beam damage, how it occurs, using ways to reduce damage and measuring the electron beam sensitivity was important in identifying crystalline material in formulations before the sample had been excessively damaged. In addition, I also started to use more advanced microscopy techniques to obtain further information regarding the crystal structures, these being, scanning moiré fringes and scanning electron diffraction.

My current research interest mainly involves analysis of soft matter systems such as hybrid organic/inorganic systems through LENNF. LENNF is an open access user facility that allows external users to use a variety of different instrumentation including an analytical cryo-TEM, a cryo-FIB, a low kV FEGSEM, and a near ambient pressure (NAP)-XPS, together with EBL and clean room capabilities. Academic and technical expertise is also provided to users as well as assistance with appropriate data analysis methods.


  • BSc (Hons, 1st Class)
  • PhD

Research groups and institutes

  • Materials Characterisation