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Professor Sohini Kar-Narayan wins Royal Microscopical Society AFM & SFM Award

3 July 2024 Fellows

Congratulations to Professor Sohini Kar-Narayan, Professorial Fellow of Clare Hall, who has been awarded the Royal Microscopical Society Award for outstanding progress made in the field of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM).

As shared in the RMS award announcement, Professor Kar-Narayan has made outstanding contributions to the field of scanning probe microscopy (SPM) through her studies of nanoscale electromechanical properties of novel functional polymer and semiconducting nanostructures.

Currently Professor of Device Materials in the Department of Materials Science at the University of Cambridge, she is internationally renowned for her pioneering research on functional materials for energy and biomedical applications. She has extensively used SPM techniques to uncover new functionalities of polymeric materials in particular, at the nanoscale.

Among her many achievements, she led the development of a unique non-destructive piezo-response force microscopy (PFM) technique applicable to soft nanomaterials, enabling the first direct characterization of nanoscale piezoelectricity using PFM in self-assembled cellulose nanofibers and cross-linked collagen bundles.

Her research group also introduced a novel time-resolved, open-circuit conductive atomic force microscopy (cAFM) technique as a new SPM methodology for direct electromechanical characterisation of semiconducting nanomaterials.

Professor Kar-Narayan is a world-renowned expert in the use of advanced SPM modes to understand structure-property and functionality relationships in novel polymer-based piezoelectric nanostructures. She has pioneered the use of piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM), Kelvin probe force microscopy (KPFM) and quantitative nanomechanical mapping (QNM) to reveal the electromechanical properties and lamellar structure of a range of different piezoelectric polymers at the nanoscale, with implications for specific applications in energy harvesting and sensing. 

Professor Kar-Narayan’s work has earned her numerous prestigious accolades and awards, including the Royal Society of Chemistry Peter Day Prize (2023) and the 2023 Institute of Physics Lee Lucas Business Award for early-stage medical and healthcare companies. She is a founding Director of ArtioSense Limited (, and was recognised as one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering of 2021, by the Women’s Engineering Society.

We wish Professor Kar-Narayan all the best with her future endeavours!