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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge
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    Dr W Owen Saxton

    01223 762270
    Murray Edwards College
    New Hall
    University of Cambridge
    CB3 0DF

    Emeritus Fellow in Physics


    Emeritus fellow

    Murray Edwards College is somewhere where women are up for the challenge of physics and where more pursue it to the final year and beyond. We take our own approach and our students do very well - the best results of any College a few years ago.

    Degrees and honours

    • MA
    • PhD

    Awards and prizes

    • Ernst Ruska Prize (1996)
    • Institute of Physics Rayleigh Medal (2018)

    Research interests

    Digital image analysis for Electron Microscopy, including:

    • images of semiconductors (catalysts etc.) at atomic resolution,
    • 3-D protein models from noisy images of distorted crystal fragments, via 'correlation averaging',
    • imaging electric and magnetic fields,
    • measurement and correction of lens aberrations,
    • the Gercherg-Saxton algorithm, for phase determination from combined image and diffraction data and
    • developing the Semper image processing system, in use for more than 40 years.


    • Senior Research Associate at Department of Materials Science (earlier, Physics).
    • Fellow of Murray Edwards 1983 - 2016; now Emeritus
    • Director of Studies in Natural Sciences 1987 to 2016
    • At various times, Praelector, Tutor, Admissions Tutor and Senior Tutor .
    • Senior Proctor, University of Cambridge 2012-13.
    • Founder of Synoptics Ltd (now SDI Ltd) in 1985.


    • R W Gerchberg & W O Saxton, A practical algorithm for the determination of phase from image and diffraction plane pictures. Optik 35 (1972) 237-46.
    • W O Saxton, Computer Techniques for Image Processing in Electron Microscopy.  Advances in Electronics and Electron Physics, Suppl. Vol.10. New York: Academic Press, 1978.
    • W O Saxton, T J Pitt & M Horner, Digital image processing the Semper system. Ultramicroscopy 4 (1979) 343-54.
    • W O Saxton, Recovery of specimen information for strongly scattering objects.  In: "Computer Processing of Electron Microscope Images" (ed. P W Hawkes) Topics in Current Physics Vol.13 pp.35-87 Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1980.
    • W O Saxton, W Baumeister & M Hahn, Three-dimensional reconstruction of imperfect two-dimensional crystals Ultramicroscopy 12 (1984) 57-70.
    • W O Saxton, What is the focal variation method? Is it new? Is it direct? Ultramicroscopy 55 (1994), 171-81.
    • A I Kirkland, W O Saxton, K-L Chau, K Tsuno & M Kawasaki, Super- resolution by aperture synthesis: tilt series reconstruction in CTEM. Ultramicroscopy 57 (1995) 355-74.
    • W O Saxton, Observation of lens aberrations for high resolution electron microscopy II: Simple expressions for optimal estimates Ultramicroscopy 151 (2015) 168-177.