Matt Kilburn

Professor, BSc Lond., PhD Brist.

  • The University of Western Australia (M010), 35 Stirling Highway, Room 1.57, Physics Building, Perth campus

    6009 Perth


  • 2412 Citations
  • 27 h-Index
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Personal profile


Professor Matt Kilburn obtained his BSc in Planetary Science from University College London, and then completed a PhD in Experimental Petrology at the University of Bristol. He held postdoctoral positions at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the University of Bristol, before joining the University of Oxford as a Research Fellow in 2003. In 2006, Matt joined UWA as a lecturer at CMCA, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2010, and to Associate Professor in 2013. In 2016 he became Deputy Director of CMCA, and has been Director since 2018.

Roles and responsibilities

Director, CMCA
Head, Ion Probe Facility
SIMS Technique Group Leader

Teaching overview

GEOS5507 - Unit Coordinator


Prof Kilburn is an expert in Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), and is head of UWA’s Ion Probe Facility. The facility houses a CAMECA IMS1280 large-geometry ion probe, for the in-situ measurement of isotopes in minerals, and two CAMECA NanoSIMS instruments for imaging mass spectrometry. Prof Kilburn’s research focuses on the application of SIMS to a range of disciplines, from geochemistry to biomedical research.
The NanoSIMS instruments are imaging mass spectrometers, providing elemental and isotopic maps of samples with ultra-high spatial resolution (50-100nm) and high sensitivity. They are routinely used in stable isotopes probing (SIP) experiments, in which a rare stable isotope (eg, 13C, 15N) is added to an experimental system to visualise biological processes or chemical reactions at interfaces (eg diffusion).
The IMS1280 is a state-of-the-art ion probe for the measurement of high-precision isotope ratios in minerals and materials. In particular, oxygen isotopes in zircons and other refractory minerals, and sulphur isotopes in sulphide minerals.
Prof Kilburn also undertakes U isotopic analyses of environmental samples for nuclear safeguards. The IMS1280 laboratory is part of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Network of Analytical Laboratories.


  • Development of NanoSIMS technique in the fields of biology and medicine, material science and earth science
  • Fundamentals of isotopic analyses with SIMS
  • Stable isotope analysis at micron-scale using Cameca NanoSIMS and IMS 1280
  • Early life, stromatolites and astrobiology
  • Planetary science, planetary formation and meteorites

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Projects 2006 2019

Research Output 2005 2018

Diffusion and solubilities of Rh, Ru and Ir in olivine and spinel

Zhukova, I., O'Neill, H., Campbell, I. H., Fiorentini, M., Kilburn, M. & Guagliardo, P., 5 Sep 2018, In : Chemical Geology. 494, p. 19-29 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citations

Incorporation and subsequent diagenetic alteration of sulfur in Arctica islandica

Fichtner, V., Strauss, H., Mavromatis, V., Dietzel, M., Huthwelker, T., Borca, C. N., Guagliardo, P., Kilburn, M. R., Göttlicher, J., Pederson, C. L., Griesshaber, E., Schmahl, W. W. & Immenhauser, A., 5 Apr 2018, In : Chemical Geology. 482, p. 72-90

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Insights into sulfur cycling at subduction zones from in-situ isotopic analysis of sulfides in high-pressure serpentinites and ‘hybrid’ samples from Alpine Corsica

Crossley, R. J., Evans, K. A., Jeon, H. & Kilburn, M. R., 20 Aug 2018, In : Chemical Geology. 493, p. 359-378 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

isotopic analysis
subduction zone

Intracellular speciation of gold nanorods alters the conformational dynamics of genomic DNA

Ho, D. W., Kretzmann, J., Norret, M., Toshniwal, P., Veder, J. P., Jiang, H., Guagliardo, P., Munshi, A. M. A., Chawla, R., Evans, C., Clemons, T., Nguyen, M., Kretzmann, A., Blythe, A., Saunders, M., Archer, M., Fitzgerald, M., Keelan, J., Bond, C., Kilburn, M. & 3 othersHurley, L., Smith, N. & Swaminatha Iyer, K., Dec 2018, In : Nature Nanotechnology. 13, 2

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

deoxyribonucleic acid

Macrophages release plasma membrane-derived particles rich in accessible cholesterol

He, C., Hu, X., Weston, T. A., Jung, R. S., Sandhu, J., Huang, S., Heizer, P., Kim, J., Ellison, R., Xu, J., Kilburn, M., Bensinger, S. J., Riezman, H., Tontonoz, P., Fong, L. G., Jiang, H. & Young, S. G., 4 Sep 2018, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 115, 36, p. E8499-E8508

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cell Membrane
Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry