Katharina (Tinka) Marquardt (she/her)

My research interests focus on ceramic and interface research, namely the evolution of microstructure, and grain boundary networks, and understanding this evolution as a result of changing external conditions, from deformation to reactions with the environment.

My group’s work stretches from understanding and characterization of interface population changes during material life cycles to (geo)materials interaction with the environment. Materials of key interest are those that find application for our transition to net-zero as well as materials for applications under extreme conditions, from advanced ceramics to rocks and minerals. We also develop new characterization protocols to enable comprehensive studies of desired and undesired properties of interfaces from the nm-scale to the full interface network and from chemistry to structural properties. We use various cutting-edge electron microscopy techniques ranging from X-ray fluorescence, electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), focused ion beam (FIB) machining, and high-resolution (scanning) transmission electron microscopy (HR(S)TEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and precession electron diffraction (PED).


Katharina Marquardt joined the University of Oxford in September 2023 as Associate Professor of Materials. She currently is a visiting Reader at Imperial College London. Before this, she was a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at Imperial College London, where she joined in 2018 as a Lecturer. Before joining Imperial, she was an Akademische Rätin at the University of Bayreuth (2013-2018) where she did her Habilitation (2019) in the field of “Experimental Geology“ at Bayerisches Geoinstitut, BGI, Bayreuth on  “nanoscale properties of materials”. Between 2014 –2016 she visited the materials science department at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA for several research stays. From 2010 –2013 she was a postdoctoral research fellow and held a Helmholtz Fellowship at the GFZ Potsdam, Germany. During her PhD at Technical Universität Berlin, Germany. She had a prolonged research stay at the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM), Berkeley, USA.

She obtained her PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) in 2010 in Mineral Physics, from the Technical Universität Berlin (FU Berlin). She also holds a Diploma (MSc) in “Petrology & Mineralogy” from Eberhard-Karls University Tübingen, where she worked on nm-scale corrosion and hydration of minerals.  




My research spans a wide range of challenges related to interfaces such as grain and phase boundaries in crystalline materials, from chemistry and physics to statistics of interface distributions and their adaptation during changing physical conditions. I combine experiments, state-of-the-art characterization, and theory to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the role of interfaces in geological and man-made materials for extreme condition applications as well as for the energy transition.

My recent focus has been on addressing fundamental scientific challenges that enable the design of new materials by tailoring their grain boundary populations and possibly accelerating our transition to a net-zero carbon society. Examples include (i) the role of interfaces to tailor interface properties, (ii) the role of grain boundaries in hard materials and materials for cladding in nuclear fusion reactors (iii) but also interfaces and their role in element partitioning in rocks. In my group, we also design new microstructures to enhance Na-Ion battery durability and performance, and (iv) develop new protocols for comprehensive characterization of the distribution of interfaces.


Selected Publications