Dudley Creagh

Emeritus Professor

Former affiliation

University of Canberra

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Personal profile


Science Teacher

Toowoomba State High SChool and Technical College (1958-1959)

Lecture in Physics

University of New England                                        (1959-1962)

Lecturer in Physics

R0yal Military College Duntroon                                  (1962-1965)

Senior Lecturer in Physics                                          (1965-1968)

University College UNSW-RMC Duntroon                      (1968-1988)

Associate Professor 

Australian Defence Force Academy                              (1988-1996)

Research interests



National/International Involvement -- Summary of Executed Designs –Honours and Awards


    My research career started in1957 with the commencement of the fourth (Honours) year of my Physics course at Queensland University. My field study was Ionospheric Physics. I was awarded 1st Class Honours for a thesis entitled: The design of a correlation computer for the resolution of radio fading data. The computer was devised in an era before transistors and digital technology existed.

     I trained at the University of Queensland Faculty of Education as a Science Teacher in 1957 and in 1958 was posted to teach at the Toowoomba State High School and Technical College. Whilst in Toowoomba I surveyed the Toowoomba area for an appropriate site for an Atmospheric Whistler experimental station for Professor Hugh Webster (Physics: University of Queensland).


University of New England

     In 1959 I was invited by Professor Jack Somerville to take up a position as Lecturer in Physics at the University of New England.  My research field changed from Ionospheric Physics to Plasma Physics.  In this new field of research I studied the evolution of the conducting channel which is created when a spark occurs between electrodes. I developed a new experimental methodology and created the equipment to implement the research. This research resulted in the award of an MSc for a thesis entitled: The decay of spark channels which have ceased to carry current. These were the first observations of the complete temporal evolution of electric sparks and defined the time at which the conducting channel of the spark could be a conduit for a further spark.


Royal Military College, Duntroon

     My next appointment (1962) was at the Royal Military College of Australia (RMC) as a Lecturer in Physics where I continued my research in Plasma Physics. When the Snowy Mountains Laboratory disposed of their 6m Hilger High Resolution Optical Spectrometer, I acquired it and had it installed at RMC. I adapted it to enable studies of the cross-sectional temperature distribution in low current electric arcs to be performed. And I devised a novel transistor-controlled power supply to stabilize the emission from these arcs so that precise spectral measurements could be made.


University College, University of New South Wales

   From 1962 to 1968 courses at RMC evolved, as RMC as an institution made the transition to being a College of the University of New South Wales.  The field of Solid State Physics was seen as an essential element of the new BSc Degree structure and to teach it, new equipment was acquired and brought into operation.  The new equipment included transmission and scanning electron microscopes, an X-ray diffractometer, and an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer.

     In 1965 I received a Commonwealth Post Graduate Scholarship to undertake the MSc course in the Physics of Materials at the University of Bristol. The research element of this degree involved the development of an X-ray interferometer, and its use for the measurement of X-ray refractive indices. I was awarded an MSc for a thesis entitled: The measurement of X-ray refractive indices using an X-ray interferometer. This led to further research in the field of X-ray scattering. The X-ray interferometer studies on alkali halides enabled precise determinations of the X-ray anomalous dispersion corrections to be made. These parameters need to be known accurately because they are used extensively in the quantitative analysis of X-ray diffraction data.  My experiments showed that a discrepancy existed between the current theoretical predictions and the experimental results.  The theories at that time were based on non-relativistic models of photon scattering.  I developed a relativistic quantum mechanical multipole model of photon scattering which gave predictions in close agreement with the experimental data.

     On my return to RMC I continued research into measuring the temperature distribution in electric arcs. And I continued my work on X-ray scattering, devising equipment which could measure X-ray absorption with greater precision than had hitherto been achieved.  The scattering and absorption processes are physically linked, so the results of an interferometry experiment could be used to predict the anomalous dispersion corrections and vice versa.

    Professor GVH Wilson became Professor of Physics at RMC in 1971.  His field of research was Condensed Matter Physics, in particular, studies of magnetic materials such as the cobalt, samarium, holmium, and the cubic Laves phase intermetallics, GdFe2, GdCo2 and GdAl2. in the years 1970 to 1982   I was involved in the study of the structure and properties of these materials using X-ray diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), ferromagnetic resonance, and the Mossbauer effect.

     I enrolled for a PhD degree in the field of X-ray Scattering in 1972 and in 1975 was awarded that degree for a thesis entitled Measurement of X-ray dispersion corrections and mass absorption coefficients for various halides

    I took Sabbatical Leave in 1977 at the (then) US National Bureau of Standards (NBS) working there with John Hubbell.  The NBS awarded me their Citation for Excellence for research completed there.

    In 1978 I received an invitation from the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) to set up an international round-robin experiment for the measurement of X-ray attenuation coefficients. World-wide, eleven international laboratories participated in the experiment.  They were provided with sets of well- characterized specimens. I characterized the materials using a wide range of physical techniques and I later performed experiments on these specimens, replicating the experimental arrangements used by the participating laboratories. The results of this study led to improvements in the quality of data collected experimentally, and the accuracy of the theoretical computations of X-ray attenuation coefficients.

   In 1979 I was awarded a French Government Scientific and Technical Fellowship.  I worked with Professor Erwin Bertaut at the Institute Laue Langevin, Grenoble, on group theoretical studies of magnetic spin ordering in solids; and with Professor Andre Authier (University of Paris V: Pierre and Marie Curie) on the possibility of observing nuclear anomalous scattering in cadmium sulphide using neutron scattering.


Australian Defence Force Academy

     In the early 1980s, developments relating to the education of officers of the Australian Defence Force saw the establishment of the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), an amalgamation of the existing service colleges (Army: RMC; Air Force: Point Cook; Navy: Jervis Bay).  With this came new courses and the need to design experimental suites for the new Physics Building. These suites were to house new electron microscopes (which needed electromagnetically shielded rooms and antivibration flooring), together with the specimen preparation areas.  As well, facilities for X-ray Diffraction, Laue Diffraction, and X-ray topography were designed and the equipment was brought into service.  I was responsible for the planning management and maintenance of these facilities.

    In 1988 I was invited by the IUCr to contribute chapters on X-ray scattering to their handbook, International Tables for Crystallography Volume C (ITC), which serves as a source of reference data for more than 100,000 researchers worldwide.  I wrote five chapters for this volume: on X-ray spectra, X-ray attenuation, X-ray dispersion corrections, monochromators, and precautions against radiation injury.  The chapters on X-ray dispersion and X-ray attenuation contained data calculated using my relativistic multipole X-ray scattering theory.  These were compared with the most recent experimental results.

   In 1989 I was invited by the Academia Sinica to give lecture courses on modern X-ray scattering theory and practice. The President of the Academia Sinica presented me with the Chinese Chemical Society medal in recognition of my service to the Chinese Academy of Science.

   During the 1980s research activities were diverse.   I remained involved in the study of ferro-magnetic materials, both elemental and rare-earth intermetallic, using a variety of pulsed nuclear magnetic techniques.

    Other scientific technologies were changing rapidly.  In 1984, in my capacity as Chairman of the Commission on Crystallographic Apparatus of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr), I was invited by the Director and the Japanese scientists to construct an Australian beamline at the Japanese synchrotron, the Photon Factory (KEK, Tsukuba, Japan). This was identified as the Australian National Beamline Facility (ANBF).

    Obtaining funding for this enterprise was a momentous task.  As Chairman of the Australian Synchrotron Radiation Users Group I made numerous submissions to the relevant Commonwealth Government Agencies, the Australian Academy of Science, the Academy of Science Technology and Engineering Council, and the Australian Research Council. Eventually in 1992 the president of the Australian Research Council (ARC), Professor Don Aitken, managed to convene a consortium including the ARC, the CSIRO, Ansto, the University College UNSW (ADFA) and the Australian National University to undertake the project.  The Australian Academy of Science (AAS) was also a member of the consortium but contributed no financial assistance.

     In the period 1992-1997 I designed the X-ray beamline and planned for all the associated facilities which supported its operation (the experimental hutch, the container house and its furnishings, vehicle).

I supervised the construction of the complete system: beamline, monochromator, diffractometer and the integrated electronic control and data analysis systems.  The beamline and X-ray monochromator were constructed in the Physics Department at ADFA in Canberra; the furniture for the container house in nearby Queanbeyan NSW; negotiations with Toyota Australia resulted in the provision of a vehicle in Japan. The unique vacuum diffractometer (designed by Stephen Wilkins (CSIRO) and myself) was constructed by the Materials Division CSIRO. Accessories for the diffractometer were designed and developed by my team at ADFA. This was the first dedicated Australian synchrotron facility and educated a new generation of Australian scientists.

    In 1993 I was awarded a (Japanese Government) Monbusho Technical Fellowship which funded four months residence in Japan thus enabling me to supervise the installation of the beamline and all its components. The Australian National Beamline Facility (ANBF: BL20B, Photon Factory, KEK, Tsukuba, Japan), became operational in late1993.  Because the initial funding was for just three years, further funding had to be sought to maintain its operation after 1997.

    Australian Government support was forthcoming in 1998 under the Major National Research Facilities Program. This ensured the ANBF was able to remain in operation to 2002.  When the Australian Synchrotron was funded in 2002 the ANBF became part of the Australian Synchrotron’s research program.  When the ANBF was decommissioned in 2015 it had been used by many hundreds of Australian scientists.

    Whilst on sabbatical leave at the ANU Research School of Chemistry (RSC) in 1996 I designed a unique liquid-air interface Small Angle Scattering System.  This enabled the RSC to commence a wide range of research projects on the processes taking place at the liquid-air interface using X-ray Reflectivity.  Design and construction of this system led me to the design of other equipment which would later be used at synchrotron radiation sources for the study of self-organizing protective wax coatings on metal surfaces; the tensile testing of elastomers and carbon fibres; fracture toughness of acronitrile copolymers; studies of epitaxial layers grown on semiconductor surfaces (such as GaAs multi-well quantum effect and quantum dot semiconductor devices).

    My involvement in the scientific conservation of cultural materials commenced in 1988 through a collaboration with the Australian War Memorial (AWM) where their conservation staff were restoring a Japanese Zero fighter for display. They needed to be certain that the composition of the aluminium they proposed using would be compatible with the Zero’s airframe. This was to be the first of many collaborations with a diverse range of national and international collecting institutions.  Significant amongst these were studies of all the Victoria Crosses in the custody of the AWM and the Waiouru Museum in New Zealand, and a study of the (German) Lusitania Medal.

     I retired from ADFA in 1996, leaving to take the position of Professor of the Physics of Materials at the University of Canberra.


University of Canberra

     Here, research has proceeded on a number of different fronts, and involves collaborations with other faculties of the university, other Australian universities, major national and international facilities, and with Australian Government departments and instrumentalities.  Overseas collaborations have included, inter alia, the US National institute of Science and Technology (NIST), the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands, the Royal Armouries in the UK, and the US Naval Research Laboratory.

      More recently my research has been conducted in the following fields: X-ray Scattering, the design of advanced scientific equipment, Cultural Heritage studies, Forensic Science, Border Protection, and Schools of Arts Buildings in Australia.


X-ray Scattering

   I am a leading international expert on X-ray Scattering.  I have submitted (2017) complete revisions of tables, on the fundamental scattering parameters for atoms, for inclusion in International Tables for Crystallography Volume C (with Professor Chris Chantler). This includes a total of six chapters on the Production of X-rays, X-ray Spectra, X-ray Absorption, Monochromators, and the X-ray Dispersion Corrections.  The latter chapter includes the most recent calculations of the scattering parameters by Chantler and Creagh and comparisons with recent experimental data.  As well, the section on Precautions against Injury has been revised to include the most recent regulatory requirements for work with ionizing radiation.  Research with collaborators at the University of Melbourne and Latrobe University into X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS) continues and chapters for the new International Tables for Crystallography Volume I are ready for submission to the editor.

    At the ceremony marking the closure of the ANBF at the Photon Factory in 2013 the International X-ray Absorption Society conferred on me a Lifetime Achievement Award.

     The International Radiation Physics Society (IRPS) conferred on me their Lifetime Achievement Award at their 2015 Congress in Beijing.


Cultural Heritage 

    For 30 years I have maintained close collaborations with the National collecting institutions (the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery of Australia, The National Film and Sound Archive, the National Museum of Australia).  These collaborations have led to research funded by the Australian Research Council including: the protection of base metals from corrosion; the protection of outdoor statuary; the degradation of bark paintings (which has led to improved techniques for mounting, display and conservation of bark paintings); the study of the degradation of inks on paper, pigments on surfaces, and photographic film. Studies have been made on Joe Byrne’s armour, shrapnel and artefacts from HMAS Sydney, and paints used by the “Angry Penguins” school of Australian paintings.  More recently, in a collaboration with the Rijksmuseum (The Netherlands), the Queen Victoria Museum and Gallery (Tasmania), and the West Australian Gallery, I have been involved in X-ray synchrotron radiation studies of the Dirk Hartog plate (which is a Dutch national treasure) and 19th century easel paintings.  As well, synchrotron radiation has been used to collect data in the THz region of the electromagnetic spectrum to assist in the authentication of important easel paintings.


Design of Advanced Scientific Equipment

    From 2002 to 2008 I designed the Infrared Beamline at the Australian Synchrotron, regarded currently by international researchers as the most stable and versatile Infrared beamline in the world.  I remained involved in the maintenance of the ANBF at the KEK, Tsukuba, Japan, and improved its capabilities, especially in the field of X-ray Absorption Fine Structures (XAFS) through ARC funded grants.  I had designed the X-ray beamline at this facility in 1992.

   With Ansto scientists I designed and developed a methodology, including the testing devices, for evaluating the performance of each of the types of X-ray systems used for air cargo and shipping container examination (2008 -2012). These devices have been patented and are in production.       

    In 2013 I devised an X-ray system which enabled the examination of marine artefacts which were raised from, and re-interred in a shipwreck, as part of the Australian Historical Shipwreck Preservation Project.  The X-ray system allowed the simultaneous recording of 3D-optical and X-ray images.

   Research is continuing in X-ray phase contrast imaging and the development of systems to evaluate computed tomography (CT) systems.

    I remain involved in the development of standards for the testing of systems used by Border Protection Agencies.  Currently I serve on International Committees to assess the performance of: X-ray systems used at passenger portals at airports (NIST/AINSI: F792); CT systems used at passenger portals; as well as bottle and can examination systems (Comité International Electrotechnique).


Forensic Science

    Research in this field covers a wide range of materials and the use of a diverse range of experimental techniques, much of which is confidential. Studies of street drugs and steroids have been undertaken using Raman spectroscopy.  More recently (2015) a study of the estimation of the postmortem degradation interval of skeletal remains has been made using Infrared Spectroscopy.


Border Protection

    From 2000 to 2015 I was Scientific Adviser to the Australian Customs Service (now Border Protection in the Department of Home Affairs), giving advice on a wide range of problems, but mostly on matters involving the use of X-rays.  I was responsible, for example, for the acquisition of the high energy-high intensity X-ray systems used in the examination of container systems at the maritime border, the intermediate-energy intermediate-intensity X-ray systems used in air- cargo operations, and the X-ray, infrared/THz/Raman scattering and ion-beam mobility systems used at the passenger portals at airports. I have been the principal author of a number of reports to Australian Government departments (the Department of Infrastructure, the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Forestry and Fisheries). I drafted the regulations which are used for security monitoring of passengers at airline portals.


Schools of Arts/Mechanics’ Institutes in Australia

As part of a wider study of the evolution of the School of Arts Movement I am writing short histories of Schools of Arts in the Canning Downs region of the Darling Downs (Southern Queensland). I have written four so far, with a further three in preparation.  The School of Arts Movement commenced in Australia in Hobart in1827, and grew to have about 3000 buildings throughout Australia in 1900.  This was an important element of education in Australia, especially in the 19th century, often predating government-funded school systems (which appeared about 1850) and it was a precursor to what we now call adult (or further) education. Importantly, because state-funded libraries did not come into existence until the 1940s Schools of Arts also provided access to lending libraries.  The movement was the precursor to technical education, and even museums - in many towns they were called Mechanics’ Institutes.  This work is important because it enables the study of the social history of the communities, small and large, poor and wealthy, which supported this movement and benefited from what it offered.  Much of the information has been lost, or is in danger of being lost. 



Executed designs


Executed designs

The physical scale of equipment I have designed ranges from the very large to the very small: from beamlines at synchrotron radiation facilities to adapting and improving techniques for the preparation of specimens for use in electron microscopy using microtomes. For example:

  • The design of the Infrared Beamline at the Australian Synchrotron, which international researchers say is the most stable and versatile Infrared beamline in the world (2002-2008)
  • I was involved in the development, construction and maintenance of the ANBF at the synchrotron radiation source, the Photon Factory (KEK, Tsukuba, Japan) through ARC funded grants.  I designed the X-ray beamline, its monochromators, and its ancillary components such as an eight-position capillary spinning stage for its unique X-ray diffractometer (1992-2002).
  • For the Research School of Chemistry, ANU, I designed a system for the study of the reflection and diffraction of X-rays from surfaces and interfaces, especially the formation of monolayers on liquid surfaces (1996). 
  • I designed a system for evaluating the performance of X-ray systems used for air cargo and shipping container examinations during testing of commercial large tunnel X-ray systems for the Office of Transport Security. The prototype for this system constructed in the workshops at Ansto was used in the OTS trials.  It has since been patented, is now in commercial production (2008-2013).
  • Research is proceeding in X-ray phase contrast imaging and the development of systems to evaluate computed tomography (CT) systems as part of a collaboration with NIST and CIE
  • I designed an X-ray system to be used on a jacked-up barge above the wreck of the “Clarence” for the Australian Historical Shipwrecks Preservation Project (AHSPP).  This enabled 2-D X-ray images to be reconstituted as 3D- images which would then be compared with 3D- optical photographic images (2013). 
  • I designed microprocessor-based laboratory data acquisition system to lower the cost of providing instrumentation in student laboratories (1982).
  •  I designed a system for the precise measurement of X-ray attenuation coefficients as part of the IUCr X-ray Attenuation Project (1978).
  • Because equipment was not commercially available for studies of defects in crystals, especially semiconductor materials such as silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide I designed a low cost q axis and linear slide for X-ray topography (1972).
  • A simple low-cost device for the stabilization of  dc electric arcs was designed and constructed in 1968.




External positions

Member - Design of CT-passenger luggage standard CIE 45B/801//CD2


Member - Design of liquid-bottle scanners for the passenger portal


Member - Redesign of the F792 passenger baggage standard


Chairman - Advisory Board




Designer of the Infrared Beamline


Member - National Scientific Advisory Committee


IR Beamline Advisory Panel




Member - Committee of Management:


Professor of the Physics

1997 → …

Chairman - Photon Factory Committee








Member - Committee of Management


Chairman - Technical Committee


Designer and Developer - X-ray Beamline


Vice President








Consultant: IUCr X-ray attenuation project


Chairman - Commission on Crystallographic Apparatus


Teaching and Research




Chief Scientist: X-ray Attenuation Project


Lecturer in Physics



Lecturer in Physics


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Research Output

The use of radiation in the study of cultural heritage artefacts

Creagh, D., 1 Aug 2017, In : Radiation Physics and Chemistry. 137, p. 216-224 9 p.

University of Canberra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

  • Developing Standards for X-ray examination systems

    CREAGH, D. & Blagejovic, N., 2014, p. 1-1. 1 p.

    University of Canberra

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherResearch

  • The use of neutron technology in archaeological and cultural heritage research

    Creagh, D., 2012, Handbook of Particle Detection and Imaging. Grupen, C. & Buvat, I. (eds.). Germany: Springer, p. 814-830 19 p.

    University of Canberra

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearch