Dr Beau Webber - Personal home page

I am a research scientist who loves live music, photography, astronomy, reading, travel , swimming, surfing and scuba diving . I also enjoy programming and designing instrumentation. I document much of this on web pages :

Dr. Beau Webber


I am the director of a micro-sme nano-science and nano-metrology research company Lab-Tools Ltd. , that also develops cutting-edge instrumentation.

Research Home Pages
Home Pages
I research into matter that is structured on the nano-scale to micro-scale using NMR relaxation, NMR cryoporometry and neutron scattering and x-ray scattering. In particular, I study the properties of liquids in nano-metric pores - the small sizes greatly changes the properties of ordinary materials - i.e. water/ice may freeze and melt at -20C.

These properties can be used to probe the properties of ordinary materials like house roof tiles. (How frost durable are they ? What pore sizes do they have ?) These techniques can also be used to investigate subjects as diverse as the behaviour of oil and water in rocks, as well as the properties of the rocks themselves, the behaviour of high-performance (nano-material) batteries and the adsorption and release properties drug molecules in small pores. Important recent applications include both oil in sales and carbonate rocks, and studying the properties of biochars, for carbon sequestration and soil improvement.

I now have about 40 published papers, including two techniques papers published in Physics Reports, one on neutron scattering, one on NMR : The strength of the technical side has just resulted in my company Lab-Tools Ltd. aquiring a 1million EU FP7 grant, as part of a 7 strong international consortium. This project "Autonomous Reed Bed Installations (ARBI)"
will enable the consortium to develop ecologically sound and sustainable modular reed-bed installations for purifying waste-water. Multiple nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) installations, buried in the reed-beds,
will be used to monitor their life-cycle, so that corrective action can be taken to prevent clogging and extend their life.
Some of my research web pages are :

Research home page : www.kent.ac.uk/physical-sciences/publications/home/jbww.html
Company home page : www.lab-tools.com/

Nano-science pages : www.nano-science.co.uk/
(this page contains high resolution SVG graphs)
Instrumentation pages :
nano-science pages.
I also have just started a science blog in the Kentish on-line newspaper KentOnline :
The Science Blog, with Dr Beau Webber


I build and maintain a web page to promote live music in the county of Kent, UK :




where there are gig calenders and monthly news pages, so there is no need to miss an event.
So if you are putting on a gig or event in Kent, please do send me information about it and I will try and get the event listed on the web page calendar and news.

From time to time I put on music events, where possible in the Littlebourne Thatched Barn, and usually fiddle-led, see : FiddlersVarious.

Tommy Peoples in September !.gif

www.KentFolk.com music pages

Fiddlers Various Logo



I have fun with stitching together panoramic images from photos I have taken. There are a number of tools for this, but some of the more powerful are PanoTools and PTgui

Bluebells, Crundale woods, Kent, UK
Bluebells, Crundale woods, Kent, UK

        Soriano nel Cimino, Italy
Soriano nel Cimino, Italy.
Images Dr. Beau Webber

For some these and some others of my stretched and panorama pictures, pinned to their location on Google Earth maps, see : www.panoramio.com/user/1020456

Stereo Panoramas

I also have fun creating stereo images and panoramas
- I have written a viewer in which one can zoom into stereo panoramas, and then pan around, and change brightness and contrast to improve visibility.
Go to www.lab-tools.com/instrumentation/StereoPanorama/ to download a free viewer.
I created this at the time of the landing of the Mars rover "Spirit", to look at the 360 degree panoramas of the Mars landscape that it was sending back. There are lots of links on that page to a range of stereo panoramas. Here is an example from using StereoPanorama to give a stereo-view, into a photo-pair from an earlier Mars landing :

A view into part of a panoramic stereo image pair in colour from an early Pathfinder mission.
Images Nasa; stereo-images Dr. Beau Webber

Astronomy & Photography

I do not have a good camera mount on my Newtonian yet (no-longer have access to a metal workshop), but here is a photo obtained by just hand-holding a light-weight 5M pixel digital camera at the eyepiece :

A crescent moon
A crescent moon - 2004-03-26.

Image Dr. Beau Webber

Recently I have used StereoPanorama to look at full-colour stereo-pairs of comet P17/Holmes, that I have created from others' superb photos. The stereo-effect just comes from the comet motion, but it seems to help the brain separate the delicate comet corona and tail from the background stars.
Here is an example pair created from :
Left stereocomponent: spaceweather.com/comets/holmes/05nov07/Jack-Newton1.jpg

Right stereocomponent: http://spaceweather.com/comets/holmes/05nov07/Ivan-Eder1.jpg

17P/Holmes_2007-11-4+5 L+R zoom
A zoomed stereo-pair view into 17P/Holmes halo and tail structure. 2007-11-4+5.
Images Jack Newton (L), Ivan Eder (R); stereo-images Dr. Beau Webber

For more full-colour stereo-pair views of 17P/Holmes, including some of the ion-tail disconnection, see :

Swimming, Surfing and Scuba Diving

To learn more about scuba diving with a brilliant club, see :
Here are some links to a wonderful set of warm-water dives I made from the Eastern islands of Malaysia :

IMG_0627_dive-kit IMG_0584to9_clam-closing IMG_0596_dive-leader_corals
Diving in the Perhentian Isles, Malaysia. 2006-08-03.
Images Dr. Beau Webber


I study structured matter, mainly on the nano- to meso- to micro-scale: from about 1 up to a few m, primarily using techniques based on NMR and neutron scattering.

I do this both from a wish to study the novel properties of the matter, and also from a wish to apply this knowledge to the science of metrology over this nano-scale to micro-scale range.

In particular, I study the behaviour of liquids in confined geometry, both at and near the surfaces of substrates. In both cases the physical properties of liquids are modified, sometimes substantially.

First I study the properties of liquids in well characterised porous materials, such as sol-gel silicas, and the templated MCM and SBA-15 silicas.

Then I apply this understanding to investigate the properties of uncharacterised porous materials, such as porous carbons, biochar, fired or un-fired clays, marine sediments, oil-bearing rocks, meteorite fragments .... 

In my research, I specialise in combining results from different measuring techniques, using computer based models, and also in designing novel measurement protocols.

The prime experimental techniques I use are :

My research home page is at Research home and my publications are listed at Beau Webber's publications .

Nano-metrology - Pore size Analysis

        example pore size distributions, measured by NMR Cryoporometry.I am currently director of the micro/SME company Lab-Tools Ltd. www.Lab-Tools.com
- specialising in contract nano-to micro-scale analyses of structured liquids and solids (pore-size analysis).
The main technique used is NMR Cryoporometry, which is closely related to the technique of gas adsorption, but is measured using a liquid rather than a gas. The technique originated at Kent University and has been extensively developed by Lab-Tools : Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Cryoporometry J. Mitchell, J. Beau W. Webber and J.H. Strange. Physics Reports, 461, 1-36, 2008. DOI: 10.1016/j.physrep.2008.02.001

 2D Resolved Pore Sizes.  The studies we perform are relevant to :

A calibration transfer function for NMR
        Cryoporometry.     NMR
        Cryoporometry melting curve in SBA-15 Porous Silica     NMR poresize
        distribution for SBA-15 porous silica.     NMR
        Cryoporometry Pore size distribution : Shale, Carbonate and

Software and Instrumentation Design

For this scientific research work I have to design instrumentation that otherwise would not exist, thus the Lab-Tools company also has an instrumentation division .

I have been designing NMR and computerised instrumentation and their software since 1970. I designed and built NMR spectrometers in the 1970 and 1980s (sold in the UK and internationally, and some components still performing cutting edge research). I have worked with and built hardware and software interfaces for DEC PDP 8 and 11s, worked on an Apl to C compiler ( The APLc compiler project ) since the days of the VAX 11/750, designed and built a set of rack-mounted, modular Motorola 6802 based transient data capture/averager/processor microcomputers (using dual-ported memories) in the early 1980s, for NMR data capture and analysis. (Capturing transient data using a microprocessor based system. John Beausire Webber, Master of Science Dissertation, 80 p, 88 p of computer printout. Physics, University of Kent, UK, 1979.) In the 1990s I designed and built a dedicated scanning NMR Cryoporometer, using one of my NMR spectrometers, IEEE 448 instrumentation and LabVIEW software on a PC (only recently switched off). (Characterising Porous Media. John Beausire Wyatt Webber, Ph.D. Thesis, xvii, 305 p, Physics, University of Kent, UK, 2000. On the Web, PDF) I have been designing with FPGAs since 1990, and am currently rebuilding the instrumentation in my NMR lab using credit-card sized USB interfaced FPGA based modules of my own design. I am finding the credit-card Linux computer the Raspberry Pi quite useful for web serving applications, and am looking towards applying Dyalog's new free Apl interpreter for the Raspberry Pi. I am also working towards the next generation instrumentation,  and developing the next generation of digital NMR radio-frequency approaches based on the newly available of multiple processors on a chip, such as the XMOS devices and Adapteva's Parallella with multi-core Epiphany chip, again both credit card sized boards.

show_001006.jpgdod22 details

In my research I make heavy use of the array processing language Apl : I first met APL in the pages of Byte Magazine (August 1977, Working with APL), and realised that it was just what a research physicist needed for the interactive manipulation of arrays of experimental data. I made various improvements to Apl\11 on the VAX 750 and 1982 I added the multi-tasking facilities "Julian time stamp": 'jts' and 'pipe' to Apl\11, to give easy access to the Unix shell. (Pipe is now incorporated into IBM's APL2). I later added these and the more generic 'spawn' to the APL to C translator aplc, implementing in 1999 interactive screen-based neutron-scattering data analysis tools, interfacing the Apl to postscript and tcl/tk windows :   DoD22 : Show and Analyse Area Multidetector Data for ILL D22

Two NMR screens - screen dumpI now use APL (particularly APLX) for interactive multi-tasking control of my NMR apparatus and designing the GUI interfaces  - it is interactive which means both rapid development, and that it is ideal for day-to-day use in the lab, for controlling the instrumentation and analysing the data, with APL interacting directly with the FPGA based instruments.

I have recently re-http://www.element14.com/community/servlet/JiveServlet/showImage/38-7730-77302/1_CardStac_USB-to-3-Sub-Module_Bin-Mem_1.jpgdesigned an increasing amount of my laboratory instrumentation, and it is now mostly based on field-programmable gate-arrays (FPGAs), with APL interacting directly with the FPGA based instruments over the USB bus - see  APLX Version 4, from the viewpoint of an experimental physicist , http://www.lab-tools.com/instrumentation  and for videos and inside information on some of the techniques I use in my fpga designs see FPGA Modular Firmware Skeleton for multiple instruments - Morph-IC-II, YouTube videos.

Currently I am having good success in porting the APL to C translator aplc to soft processors such as the Altera Nios II, and a range of the new credit-card sized machines, including the Linux computer the Raspberry Pi, the multi-core XMOS devices and Adapteva's Parallella with multi-core Epiphany chip. I currently manage the APL Parallel Programming section of the Adapteva Parallella Forum, where there is a discussion on the ongoing progress regarding the latter case. See their Kickstarter update.

Links to Dr. Beau Webber's web pages

Contributor to / author of :

Recommended links

E-mail me : J.B.W.Webber@kent.ac.uk or see my thesis, or some of my posters or go to my folk music page KentFolk.com - cheers, beau webber

First created: 2006-04-26, updated 2013-03-09 :