Emeritus Professor Graham Davies

Emeritus Professor Graham Davies

Emeritus Professor
Faculty Unit


Research interest


At the moment I’m working in two different technical areas:

Micro-electro mechanial systems

I make very small devices, on the micro-scale (a thousandth of a centimetre) and those devices are known as micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMs).

I’m creating a MEM’s device that uses ‘nano-needles’ to extract blood from the arm, analyse the blood, and then transmit the analysis to a base station, which could then be sent to your mobile phone.  The results could be relayed to a similar device on your other arm, which would then give you an injection of a drug to combat that very disease you’re treating.  For example, we could measure the concentration of glucose in blood, and then, if you’re diabetic we could supply insulin into the other arm.  And this could be done on a continuous basis, rather than waiting until someone has had a glycaemic attack.

I’m currently focused on making the ‘nano-needles’ for the MEM’s described above, with 600 µm height and a pitch of about 100 µm. Because the needles are so small, when you press them into the arm you shouldn’t feel any pain, and placement can therefore be done by untrained personnel, e.g. by a solider to his mate on the battlefield – you don’t need someone to give an injection with a syringe.

Semi-conductors for opto-electronic devices

The other project I’m working on is to grow semi-conductor crystal layers for opto-electronic devices.

Semi-conductors are really the heart of broadband telecommunications systems as well as electronic systems, so the heart of a transistor is a semi-conductor material.  We have a technique that can grow these crystalline materials atom-layer by atom-layer.  The technique is called Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE).  When you control it at that level, you can get quite novel effects appearing in terms of optics or electronics, giving a whole new family of devices which can be used in either electronic or opto-electronic devices.

In a broadband system, the transmission medium is an optical fibre: at one end you have a laser, which is a source, in other words, you shine a light down the fibre, and you collect it at the other end.  It just so happens that the source is a semi-conductor laser, and the device you collect it with at the other end is a semi-conductor detector.  For example, NBN uses optical fibres to connect people up, but the devices that transmit the information are lasers, and at the other end are semi-conductor detectors.


Interest in engineering

Why did you get into engineering?

I trained as a scientist. My first degree was in chemistry, my second degree was in chemical physics, and so I’d already started to make the move away from pure science. Afterward, I joined British Telecom, and started to work on various telecommunications systems. Though I worked on materials, they were all materials for telecoms systems. The first one was for a microwave system which would have been the precursor to optical fibre. We were very close to making it successful, but then optical fibre came along and swept it away. Then I started to work on devices and systems for semiconductors and optical fibres. I see the value in engineering and am very keen to promote it as a profession.

What are your hopes for the Faculty of Engineering at UNSW?

For it to be the best that it can be. We’ve made great strides forward so far in terms of international rankings, student population, the quality of the student intake etc. so I would like to see that continue, and to fulfil its potential.

What do people not understand about you do?

I don’t think people see what a broad area engineering is – all of the way from the bionic eye, quantum computing, to building bridges and transport systems, and all the infrastructure we come to accept now as a common course.  Engineers are so important to the country, because of the sheer breadth of things that engineers do. It’s engineers that are going to solve the big problems of the future.

Advice for prospective engineers

I think engineering is a great profession to be in. One senior academic said to me ‘once you’re an engineer, you’re always an engineer’ that is, you never lose your capability to be inquisitive, to solve problems, and solve problems in a numerate way. I think when you’ve got that sort of background you can do almost any job that’s out there. So whether you stay in the profession or not, it’s the fact that we give you such a good training that you could take any job and it will enable you to adapt to any role.

Lectures/Courses taught

Introductory courses

Open week for new graduates

Eng 1000: Introduction

Professional Organisations and Consulting positions

Professional Organisations

FTSE: Elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering

FREng: Elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering

FIET: Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology; C Eng: Chartered Engineer

FInstP: Fellow of the Institute of Physics; C Phys: Chartered Physicist

MRSC: Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry; C Chem: Chartered Chemist

FIM3: Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining

FIoN: Founding Fellow of the Institute of Nanotechnology

Current Service Positions

Chair, Go8 Engineering Deans (since 2012)

Member of Chief Scientist’s STEM Strategy Committee (since 2013)

Board Member, C02 Cooperative Research Centre (C02CRC) (since 2010)

Board Member, Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (AMCRC) (since 2009)

Board Member, NewSouth Innovations (since 2009)

Chair MatsUK Science and Technology Committee (since 2006)

Editor, Journal of Engineering Science & Technology (since 2006)

Member of EPSRC Materials Review College (since 2000)

Awards, Patents


Elected top 100 most influential engineers in Australia, 2008 – 2013

Platinum medal, Institute of Materials, Mining and Minerals, 2008, ‘For outstanding service to materials science and in particular, nanotechnology’.

Distinguished Visiting Scientist, appointed by the Chinese Government at Xi’an Jiao Tong University, 2007

Who’s Who, 2005 (UK and Australia)

Honorary Professor, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, PR China, 2004

Honorary Professor, Swansea University, 1994, re-elected 1999

‘Best of the Best Award’ Arthur D Little for Technology and Innovation for Global Business, 1997

British Telecom Directorate Award for contributions to ‘R&D Management’, 1997

British Telecom Divisional and Directorate Awards for contributions to the ‘Global Competitor Task force’, 1993

British Telecom Christopher Columbus Scientific Prize, for papers published on ‘Transactions of the Faraday Society,’ ‘Effect of Pressure and Temperature on the Intermolecular Mean Square Torque in Liquids CS2 and CCl4’, 1978

Institute of Electrical Engineers, Duddell Premium, for ‘Low-loss Dielectrics (polymers) for the 10-300 GHz Region’, 1974


G J Davies, D A Andrews and R Heckingbottom, US No 274286, Canadian No 378104, Filed 15.6.81 and 24.5.81 respectively: ‘MBE Electrolytic Dopant Source’

E G Scott, G J Davies, R Heckingbottom and D A Andrews, BT Case No A231156, filed 21.8.84: ‘Knudsen Effusion Cells and Molecular beam Epitaxy’

G J Davies and C R Elliot, Patent Appl No 8429701, Filed 23.11.84: ‘Tapered Layers for Optical Devices’

G J Davies and P Pantelis, BT Case No A23201, Filed 1.85: ‘Optical Compositions: Non-linear Optical Materials’


DSc in Chemical Physics, University of Wales, 1986

PhD in Chemical Physics, University of Wales, 1971

BSc in Chemistry, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1968


+61 2 9385 4970
CSE Building K17 Level 6 Kensington Campus
  • Journal articles | 2023
    Ghiyasi Y; Prewett PD; Davies GJ; Faraji Rad Z, 2023, 'The role of microneedles in the healing of chronic wounds', International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 641, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2023.123087
    Journal articles | 2023
    Rad ZF; Prewett PD; Davies GJ, 2023, 'Microneedle patches – the future of drug delivery and vaccination?', Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, 14, pp. 494 - 495, http://dx.doi.org/10.3762/BJNANO.14.40
    Journal articles | 2022
    Ebrahiminejad V; Prewett PD; Davies GJ; Faraji Rad Z, 2022, 'Microneedle Arrays for Drug Delivery and Diagnostics: Toward an Optimized Design, Reliable Insertion, and Penetration', Advanced Materials Interfaces, 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/admi.202101856
    Journal articles | 2022
    Ebrahiminejad V; Rad ZF; Prewett PD; Davies GJ, 2022, 'Fabrication and testing of polymer microneedles for transdermal drug delivery', Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, 13, pp. 629 - 640, http://dx.doi.org/10.3762/bjnano.13.55
    Journal articles | 2022
    Faraji Rad Z; Prewett PD; Davies GJ, 2022, 'Parametric optimization of two-photon direct laser writing process for manufacturing polymeric microneedles', Additive Manufacturing, 56, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addma.2022.102953
    Journal articles | 2021
    Faraji Rad Z; Prewett PD; Davies GJ, 2021, 'High-resolution two-photon polymerization: the most versatile technique for the fabrication of microneedle arrays', Microsystems and Nanoengineering, 7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41378-021-00298-3
    Journal articles | 2021
    Faraji Rad Z; Prewett PD; Davies GJ, 2021, 'Rapid prototyping and customizable microneedle design: Ultra-sharp microneedle fabrication using two-photon polymerization and low-cost micromolding techniques', Manufacturing Letters, 30, pp. 39 - 43, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mfglet.2021.10.007
    Journal articles | 2021
    Rad ZF; Prewett PD; Davies GJ, 2021, 'An overview of microneedle applications, materials, and fabrication methods', Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, 12, pp. 1034 - 1046, http://dx.doi.org/10.3762/BJNANO.12.77
    Journal articles | 2017
    Rad ZF; Nordon RE; Anthony CJ; Bilston L; Prewett PD; Arns JY; Arns CH; Zhang L; Davies GJ, 2017, 'High-fidelity replication of thermoplastic microneedles with open microfluidic channels', Microsystems and Nanoengineering, 3, pp. 17034, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/micronano.2017.34
    Journal articles | 2013
    Liu N; Liu J; Lin J; Davies G; Jin P; Zhang D, 2013, 'Model of curing shrinkage and kinetic parameters of an acrylate-based ultraviolet-embossing resist based on free volume theory', JOURNAL OF MICRO-NANOLITHOGRAPHY MEMS AND MOEMS, 12, http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JMM.12.2.023005
    Journal articles | 2012
    Davies G; Rad Z; Anthony C; Prewett P; Peng J; Nordon R, 2012, 'Nanotechnology: fundamental research to product development', Engineering Sciences, 10, pp. 42 - 44
    Journal articles | 2008
    Li J; Jiang K; Davies G, 2008, 'Novel die-sinking micro-electro discharge machining process using microelectromechanical systems technology', Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part C - Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science, 220, pp. 1481 - 1487
    Journal articles | 2008
    Lo C; Prewett P; Davies G; Bowen J; Vanner K, 2008, 'A micromagnetoflowcell for microfluidic measurements', Microelectronic Engineering, 85, pp. 1062 - 1065
    Journal articles | 2006
    Lee C; Jiang K; Davies G, 2006, 'Sidewall roughness characterization and comparison between silicon and SU-8 microcomponents', Materials Characterization, 58, pp. 603 - 609
    Journal articles | 2006
    Permadi A, 2006, 'Dielectric relaxation behavior in Pb(Mn1/3Sb2/3)O3–Pb(Zr, Ti)O3 systems', Smart Materials and Structures, 15, pp. 1249 - 1254
    Journal articles | 2006
    Zhu Z; Jiang K; Davies G; Li G; Yin Q; Sheng S, 2006, 'Dielectric relaxation behavior in Pb(Mn1/3Sb2/3)O3–Pb(Zr, Ti)O3 systems', Smart Materials and Structures, 15, pp. 1249 - 1254
    Journal articles | 1996
    Foord JS; Loh KP; Singh NK; Jackman RB; Davies GJ, 1996, 'Growth and mechanistic studies of diamond formation by chemical beam epitaxy using methyl and acetylene precursors', Journal of Crystal Growth, 164, pp. 208 - 213, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0022-0248(95)01032-7
    Journal articles | 1988
    Ford CJB; Thornton TJ; Newbury R; Pepper M; Ahmed H; Davies GJ; Andrews D, 1988, 'Transport in GaAs heterojunction ring structures', Superlattices and Microstructures, 4, pp. 541 - 544, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0749-6036(88)90233-9
    Journal articles | 1985
  • Patents | 2016
    Faraji Rad Z; Nordon RE; Davies GJ; Anthony CJ; Prewett P, 2016, Microfluidic devices and fabrication, Patent No. WO 2016033652 A1; China patent no. ZL201580057081.1; United States patent no. 10850082, Australia 2021 pat no. 2015311618, https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?II=2&ND=3&adjacent=true&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=20160310&CC=WO&NR=2016033652A1&KC=A1
    Conference Papers | 2014
    Faraji Rad Z; Davies G; Anthony C; Prewitt, PD; Nordon RE, 2014, 'Stereolithographic Manufacture of Microneedle Patch Arrays for Blood Collection', in Proceeding of the 2nd International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Micro and Nanotechnology in Medicine, 2nd International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Micro and Nanotechnology in Medicine, Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu, HI, USA, presented at 2nd International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Micro and Nanotechnology in Medicine, Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu, HI, USA, 08 December 2014 - 12 December 2014