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Mineral Sciences

Academic Staff involved in this discipline:
Professor Michael Carpenter, Dr Ian Farnan, Dr Richard Harrison, Professor Simon Redfern and Professor Ekhard Salje.

Research Staff involved in this discipline:
Dr Don Evans, Dr Sabastien Facq and Dr Ioan Lascu.

Research Students involved in this discipline:
Mr Robert Blukis, Miss Sarah Driver, Mr Joshua Einsle, Rui Guo, Tajudeen Iwalewa, Joy Muraszko, Claire Nichols, Karishma Patel, Aleksej Popel, Elizabeth Read, Ainur Seitkan, Beng Thye Tan, Gregory Walters and Miss Pu Zhao.

Silica Model
Molecular dynamics simulation to reproduce silica glass using large configurations with fully bonded atoms
Mineral sciences research focuses on elucidating the properties and behaviour of minerals and fluids at a fundamental level. There has been a planned increase in research in this area over the last decade producing one of the largest research groups worldwide. Main research topics range from the passivation of nuclear waste, the behaviour of water over short time scales, and the magnetic behaviour of small particles, to the elastic response of minerals in the geophysical context. The nature and breadth of these topics illustrate the need for interdisciplinary approaches to solve these highly complex problems.

We have developed a wide range of in-house experimental facilities, and advanced computational methods and applications. We have used national and international facilities for neutron scattering, synchrotron X-ray diffraction and supercomputing. We collaborate extensively with the Departments of Physics, Materials Science, Chemistry and Mathematics in Cambridge. We are expanding our activities into micromagnetics and TEM holography for the analysis of magnetic field lines. A major strategic development is a new elasticity laboratory to measure elastic properties over wide frequency ranges in collaboration with our geophysicists. As many minerals are ferroelastic we have a strong research team in non-linear ferroic properties of solids which is directly relevant to industrial research of memory devises. 

Topics of current research include:

  • Elasticity and anelasticity of minerals in Earth's crust, mantle and core.
  • Biomineralisation and paleoclimate proxies.
  • Synchrotron based spectroscopy, tomography and magnetic imaging of minerals at the nanoscale.
  • Nonlinear mechanical properties of mixed-phase systems.
  • Advanced materials for nuclear waste encapsulation.
  • Rock magnetism, paleomagnetism and environmental magnetism.
  • Phase transitions in multiferroic materials.
  • Neutron, infrared and Raman spectroscopy of molecular processes in minerals.
  • Mineral-water interactions at extreme conditions.

We welcome applications from students with backgrounds in geology, physics, chemistry, mathematics and materials science.

Recent publications in this area.

RSS Feed Latest news

International team head to Papua New Guinea to measure volcanic carbon degassing

Sep 01, 2016

An international team of scientists is traveling to the islands of Papua New Guinea this September to study degassing from active volcanoes in remote jungles there. Some of these volcanoes are among the most active on Earth, ejecting a significant proportion of global volcanic gases into the atmosphere.

Mistaken Point - Canada's 10th geological World Heritage Site

Aug 02, 2016

The ancient rugged coastline of Mistaken Point on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula face the winds and waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It can be a difficult place to work, but nevertheless it has been a mecca for geologists for over several decades now.

An underestimated Kevan

Jul 21, 2016

Douglas Palmer on the Sedgwick Museum’s giant Pliosaurus cf. kevani in the latest edition of Geoscientist

Oesia – a new tube worm from deep Cambrian times

Jul 21, 2016

Collections up close, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

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