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Professor Alan Purvis, BSc PhD FIET

Emeritus Professor in the Department of Engineering
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42437
Room number: Room number: E498 (Christopherson Building)

(email at alan.purvis@durham.ac.uk)

Alternative email address



I have a background in Signal Processing for Engineering. My early training at the Cavendish Laboratory was in Radio Astronomy, Aperture Synthesis and Interferometry. The search to link radio objects to optical galaxies led me to be part of the first teams buidling CCD cameras and the image processing technologies then enabled. Interests which followed include the correction of atmospheric seeing using liquid crystal phase modulating devices, the synthesis of optical elements and the use of fast processor technologies to perform high speed real time calculations. This work has involved considerable interaction with Industry. Working with the RDA One North East significant Technology Transfer Projects were initiated called ReCET, NeMEC and CENS deploying European funds to assist SMEs take advantage of University Research and generate more economic impact. These projects evolved into a National Faraday Centre and engaged high profile businesses as partners through follow on EPSRC awards such as Agilent, Sharp and Intel. With this substantial corporate experience now shared with the KTNs opportunities to exploit core EPSRC funded research in the manufacturing sector where there is considerable interest in novel techniques to enable electronic products to repair (heal) themselves. we are very excited at the prospect of extending this know how on self -fix strategies to encompass electro-mechanical goods with current Industrial sponsors. 

Research Interests

  • Digital signal processing
  • Optics and image processing

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Jones, David H., McWilliam, Richard. & Purvis, Alan. (2011). Design of Self-Assembling, Self-Repairing 3D Irregular Cellular Automata. In Cellular Automata - Innovative Modelling for Science and Engineering. Alejandro Salcido InTech. 373-394.
  • Jones, David, McWilliam, Richard. & Purvis, Alan. (2010). Design of a self-assembling, repairing and reconfiguring Arithmetic Logic Unit. In New Advanced Technologies. Aleksandar Lazinica Vienna, Austria: Intech Education and Publishing. 161-176.

Journal Article

  • McWilliam, Richard, Schiefer, Philipp & Purvis, Alan (2017). Creating self-configuring logic with built-in resilience to multiple-upset events. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture 231(13): 2279-2290.
  • McWilliam, Richard, Williams, Gavin, Cowling, Joshua, Seed, Luke & Purvis, Alan (2016). High contrast pattern reconstructions using a phase-seeded point CGH method. Applied Optics 55(7): 1701-1710.
  • McWilliam, Richard, Purvis, Alan & Khan, Samir (2016). Modelling the Positional and Orientation Sensitivity of Inductively Coupled Sensors for Industrial IoT Applications. International Journal of Simulation Systems, Science & Technology 17(35): 23.1.
  • Toriz-Garcia, J. J., Cowling, J. J., Williams, G. L., Bai, Q., Seed, N. L., Tennant, A., McWilliam, R., Purvis, A., Soulard, F. B. & Ivey, P. A. (2013). Fabrication of a 3D electrically small antenna using holographic photolithography. Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering 23(5): 055010.
  • Frei, Regina, Mcwilliam, Richard, Derrick, Benjamin, Purvis, Alan, Tiwari, Ashutosh & Di Marzo Serugendo, Gioavanna (2013). Self-healing and self-repairing technologies. The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology 69(5-8): 1033-1061.
  • Jones, D.H., McWilliam, R. & Purvis, A. (2011). Convergence and feedback: a framework for cellular automata design. Journal of Cellular Automata 6(4-5): 399-416.
  • Cowling, J.J., Williams, G.L., Purvis, A., McWilliam, R., Toriz-Garcia, J.J., Seed, N.L., Soulard, F.B. & Ivey, P.A. (2011). Three-dimensional holographic lithography by an iterative algorithm. Optics Letters 36(13): 2495-2497.
  • Toriz-Garcia, J.J., Williams, G.L., McWilliam, R., Seed, N.L., Purvis, A., Soulard, F.B., Cowling, J.J. & Ivey P.A. (2011). Vertical tracks on the sidewall of a silicon die using 3D holographic photolithography. Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering 21(8): 085034.
  • Toriz-Garcia, Jesus J., Williams, Gavin L., McWilliam, Richard., Curry, Richard., Seed, N. L., Purvis, Alan. & Ivey, Peter A. (2010). Controlled-width track in through silicon via using 3D holographic photolithography with modified electrodepositable photoresist. Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering 20(1): 015012.
  • Jones, David, McWilliam, Richard & Purvis, Alan (2008). Design of self-assembling self-repairing 3D systems capable of metamorphosis. Artificial Life and Robotics
  • Jones, David, McWilliam, Richard & Purvis, Alan (2008). Designing convergent cellular automata. Biosystems 96(1): 80-85.
  • Purvis, Alan., McWilliam, Richard., Johnson, Simon., Seed, N., Williams, Gavin., Maiden, Andrew. & Ivey, Peter. (2007). Photolithographic Patterning of Bi-Helical Tracks onto Conical Substrates. Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS and MOEMS 6(4): 043015.
  • McWilliam, R. & Purvis, A. (2006). Potential Uses of Embedded RFID in Appliance Identification. International Appliance Manufacturing 10: 100-107.
  • Williams, G.L., Seed, N.L., Purvis, A., Maiden, A., McWilliam, R., Ivey, P.A. & Johnson, S. (2005). Non-Planar Interconnect. Circuit World 31(2): 10-14.
  • Maiden, A., McWilliam, R., Purvis, A., Johnson, S., Williams, G. L., Seed, N. L. & Ivey, P. A. (2005). Nonplanar photolithography with computer-generated holograms. Optics letters 30(11): 1300-1302.
  • Purvis, A., Birch, P.M., Gourlay, J. & Love, G.D. (1998). Real-time optical aberration correction with a ferroelectric liquid-crystal spatial light modulator. Macromolecular Symposia 37(11): 2164-2169.
  • Purvis A & K.C. Lo (1997). A new approach for estimating spectra from randomly sampled sequences. Circuits Systems Signal Processing 16(3): 375-386.
  • Purvis, A., Gourlay, J., Love, G.D. & Birch, P.M. (1997). A real-time close loop liquid crystal adaptive optics system: first results. Optics Communications 137: 17-21.
  • Phillips, D., Purvis, A. & Johnson S. (1997). On an efficient VLSI architecture for the multirate additive synthesis of musical tones. Journal of Systems Architecture 43: 337-340.

Conference Paper

  • Wooder, D., Purvis, A. & McWilliam, R.P. (2017), Using big-data and surface fitting to improve aircraft safety through the study of relationships and anomalies, PROC-CIRP18 59: TESCONF-2016. Cranfield, Elsevier, 172-177.
  • McWilliam, R, Schiefer, P & Purvis, A (2016), A Combined Fault Detection and Discrimination Strategy for Resource-Sensitive Platforms, in Silvano, C, Stechele, W & Wong, S eds, 1st Workshop on RESource Awareness and Application Auto-tuning in Adaptive and heterogeNeous compuTing DATE16. Dresden, Germany.
  • McWilliam, R., Khan, S. & Purvis, A. (2016), Modelling the Positional and Orientation Sensitivity of Proximity Sensors, in Al-Dabass, David, Orsoni, Alessandra, Cant, Richard & Jenkins, Glenn eds, 2016 UKSim-AMSS 18th International Conference on Computer Modelling and Simulation (UKSim). Cambridge, IEEE, 355-360.
  • McWilliam, R, Purvis, A, Jones, D, Schiefer, P, Frei, R, Tiwari, A & Zhu, M (2012), Self-repairing Electronic Logic Units Based on Convergent Cellular Automata, 1st International Conference on Through-life Engineering Services. Shrivenham, England, Cranfield University Press, Shrivenham, 353-360.
  • Soulard, F., McWilliam, R., Williams, G., Toriz-Garcia, J., Purvis, A. & Seed, N. (2011), Fabricating non-planar antenna structures by a novel 3-D holographic photolithography method, Second UK URSI Festival of Radio Science. University of Leicester, UK, University of Leicester.
  • Soulard, F., McWilliam R., Cowling J., Purvis A., Williams G., Seed N. L., Toriz-Garcia J. & Ivey, P. (2011), Holographic recording of vertical surfaces, Digital Holography and Three-Dimensional Imaging (DH). Tokyo, Japan, Optical Society of America, Tokyo.
  • McWilliam, Richard & Purvis, Alan (2011), Orientation and Field Dampening: Key Physical Factors for Harsh-Environment Passive RFID, RFID Europe 2011. Cambridge, UK, IdTechEx, Cambridge.
  • Laskin, Alexander, Williams, Gavin & Richard, McWilliam (2010), Applying refractive beam shapers to improve other beam shaping techniques, Proceeding of the SPIE 7789: Laser Beam Shaping XI. San Diego, California, USA, SPIE, Bellingham, WA, 778907.
  • Becci, G., Vitanov, V. & Purvis, A. (2010), Control Design for Reliable Operation of a Hybrid Pipeline Robot, 8th International Conference on Manufacturing Research. Durham, England., Glasgow Caledonian University, Durham, 23-30.
  • Williams, G., Toriz-Garcia, J., McWilliam, R., Seed, L., Purvis, A. & Ivey, P. (2010), Holographic Photolithography for 3D Integration, in De Micheli, Giovanni eds, Design, Automation & Test in Europe (DATE) 2010. Dresden, Germany, EDAA, Leuven.
  • Zhou, X., Vitanov, V. & Purvis, A. (2010), Point Cloud Techniques in Reverse Engineering, 8th International Conference on Manufacturing Research. Durham, England., Glasgow Caledonian University, 90-96.
  • Thurman, A., Purvis, A. & Vitanov, V. (2010), Search and Rescue as a Weighted Cleaning Problem, using Diffusion, 8th International Conference on Manufacturing Research. Durham, England., Glasgow Caledonian University, 291-296.
  • Paterson, Christopher, Curry, R. I. & Purvis, A. (2009), Action Potential Detection Algorithms for Implantable Electronics, BioNanoTechnologies Meeting. Durham, England, British Biophysical Society (BBS), Durham, 13.
  • McWilliam, Richard, Purvis, Alan, Williams, Gavin L., Toritz-Garcia, J., Seed, Luke, N. & Ivey, Peter, A. (2009), High fidelity microlithography patterning using computer generated holograms, OSA Optics & Photonics Congress Digital holography and three-dimensional Imaging (DH). Vancouver, Optical Society, Washington, DWB28.
  • Jones, David., McWilliam, Richard. & Purvis, Alan. (2009), Mimicking Morphogenesis for Robust Behaviour of Cellular Architectures, BioNanoTechnologies Meeting. Durham, UK, British Biophysical Society (BBS), Durham.
  • Jones, David., Purvis, Alan. & McWilliam, Richard. (2009), Model and Application of the Community Effect, UK Synthetic Biology, Systems Biology and Bioinformatics 2009. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England., University of Cambridge.
  • Curry, Richard., Pera, Ioana., Kataky, Ritu. & Cameran, Neil. (2009), The Sodium Camera: A Direct Spatiotemporal Imaging Device for Ionic Transfer in Biological Systems, BioNanoTechnologies Meeting. Durham, UK, British Biophysical Society, Durham.
  • McWilliam, Richard., Purvis Alan. , Curry Richard., Williams, Gavin., Seed, Luke., Ivey, Peter. & Toriz-Garcia, Jesus. (2008), 3D maskless holographic photolithography using spatial light modulators, Illumination, Imaging and Projection 2nd International Photonics Cluster Summer School. Adlershof, Berlin, OptecBB, Adlershof, Berlin.
  • Pera I., Curry R., Paterson C., Cameron N., Purvis A. & Kataky R. (2008), Sodium selective microelectrode array as monitoring tool in cell signaling, 59th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Electrochemistry. Lisbon, Lisbon.

Conference Proceeding

  • Williams, Gavin L., McWilliam, Richard., Toriz-Garcia, Jesus., Curry, Richard., Maiden, Andrew., Seed, Luke N., Purvis, Alan. & Ivey, Peter A. (2008). A photolithographic process for grossly non-planar substrates. Advanced Lithography, San Jose, CA, USA, SPIE.
  • Paterson, Christopher, Curry, R. I., Purvis, A. & Johnson, S. (2008). Detection of Action Potentials in the presence of noise using phase-space techniques. International Conference on Biosciences and Bioengineering, Venice, Italy, World Academy of Science Engineering and Technology.
  • Jones, David, McWilliam, Richard & Purvis, Alan (2008). Mimicking morphogenesis for robust behaviour of cellular architectures. International Conference on Biosciences and Bioengineering 2008, Venice, Italy, World Academy of Science Engineering and Technology.
  • Paterson, Christopher, Curry, R. I., Purvis, A. & Johnson, S. (2008). On Action Potential detection algorithms. North East Medical Sciences Postgraduate Research Conference, Newcastle, England.
  • Devlin, Iain. & Purvis, Alan. (2007). Assessing the Security of Key Length. SASC 2007, Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany.
  • Devlin, I. & Purvis, A. (2006). A Fundamental Evaluation of 80 bit Keys Employed by Hardware Oriented Stream Ciphers. SHARCS'06, Cologne.
  • McWilliam, R., Purvis, A., Johnson, S., Maiden, A., Williams, G., Seed, L. & Ivey, P. (2006). Non-Planar Photolithography Using Digital Holograms. Frontiers in Optics 2006 Laser Science XXII, Rochester, New York, Optical Society of America.
  • Ivey, P.A., McWilliam, R., Maiden, A., Williams, G.L., Purvis, A. & Seed, N.L. (2006). Photolithography on Three Dimensional Substrates. 56th Electronic Components and Technology Conference (ECTC 2006), San Diego, California, IEEE.
  • Williams, G. L., McWilliam, R., Maiden, A., Purvis, A., Ivey, P. A. & Seed, N. L. (2005). Photolithography on grossly non-planar substrates. Proceedings of 7th IEEE CPMT Conference on High Density Microsystem Design, Packaging and Failure Analysis, Shanghai, China.
  • Robinson, C. & Purvis, A. (2003). Characterisation of Bluetooth Carrier Frequency Errors. Proceedings of the 9th IEEE International Mixed Signal Testing Workshop (IMSTW’03), Seville, Spain, IEEE.
  • Robinson, C. & Purvis, A. (2003). Demodulation of Bluetooth GFSK Signals under Carrier Frequency Error Conditions. Proceedings of the IEE Colloquium on DSP Enabled Radio, Livingston, Scotland, IEE.
  • Maiden, A, Purvis, A. & Kinghorn, M. (2003). The Development of a Digital Switched Mode Power Supply Controller and Controller Design Tool. Proc International Signal Processing Conference, Dallas, Texas.
  • Robinson, C. & Purvis, A. (2002). A VXIBus Based Bluetooth Radio Test Set For IC Validation and Debug. Proceedings of the 8th IEEE International Mixed Signal Testing Workshop (IMSTW’02), Montreux, Switzerland.
  • McWilliam, R. & Purvis, A. (2002). Mains Appliance Identification for Electrical Safety Test System. Proc. 6th International Symposium on Power-Line Communications and its Applications, Athens, Greece.


  • Cowling, J., Purvis, A., McWilliam, R., Soulard, F.B., Williams, G., Seed, N.L. & Toriz-Garcia, J. (2011). Improvements In Or Relating To Holography. Application filed: 15 March 2011. Granted: 15 March 2011
  • Curry, Richard., Pera, Ioana., Purvis, Alan., Kataky, Ritu. & Cameron, Neil. (2009). Apparatus for Determining Concentration of Chemical Species at Multiple Positions in Test Region. 0904793.7. Application filed: 20 March 2009. Granted: 30 November 1999
  • Purvis, Alan., McWilliam, Richard., Maiden, Andrew., Johnson, Simon., Ivey, Peter., Williams, Gavin. & Seed, N. Luke. (2009). Holographic lithography using geometrical shapes. GB2419501. Application filed: 26 April 2006. Granted: 23 December 2009
  • Jones, David., Purvis, Alan. & McWilliam, Richard. (2009). Self-repairing Electronic Data System. WO2009098521. Application filed: 7 February 2008. Granted: 30 November 1999
  • Purvis, Alan., McWilliam, Richard., Curry, Richard., Maiden Andrew., Williams, Gavin., Seed, Luke., Toriz-Garcia, Jesus. & Ivey, Peter. (2009). Sub-Micron 3d Holographic Lithography. PCT/GB2009/050945. Application filed: 20 July 2009. Granted: 30 November 1999
  • Purvis, A., McWilliam, R., Seed, N.L., Williams, G.L., Ivey, P.A., Maiden, A. & Johnson, S. (2006). Holographic Lithography. WO2006021818. Application filed: 24 August 2004. Granted: 30 November 1999

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