Prof Felix Fernandez-Alonso

Group Leader - Molecular Spectroscopy

Location R 3, 2. 20
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Telephone (office) +44 (0) 1235 778203
Mobile (short code) 1220 (only works when dialed on site)

Introduction and profile

Felix is the leader of the ISIS Molecular Spectroscopy Group.  His group is responsible for the science and instrumentation programmes on a growing suite of high-resolution neutron spectrometers spanning ca. eight orders of magnitude in timescales, from stochastic diffusion and quantum tunnelling at THz and sub-THz frequencies to nuclear quantum dynamics using mass-resolved spectroscopic techniques. These experimental capabilities remain unique to ISIS, with an increasing number of applications in physical and materials chemistry, catalysis, and energy research. For a recent overview of these research activities, see the proceedings of the latest Molecular Spectroscopy Science Meeting.

Felix is also the coordinator of the Centre for Molecular Structure and Dynamics, a research network funded and managed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council to bring together expertise in Molecular Science across STFC departments and external stakeholders from academia and industry.

Research and development interests

With a primary focus on the discovery of novel materials for energy applications using state-of-the-art radiation-scattering techniques, current research projects range from molecular [1-4] and supramolecular [5-6] uptake and intercalation in nanostructured and soft layered media [7-8], to proton-conduction and energy storage in carbon-based materials [9-10]. This research programme makes extensive use of computational materials modelling in parallel with experiment, as best illustrated by ongoing developments in mass-selective neutron spectroscopy [11-12].  Fundamental studies underpinning the above themes include hydrogen bonding in strongly associated liquids [13] and nuclear quantum dynamics using high-resolution and spin-echo neutron spectroscopies [9,14]. As a physical chemist, Felix has also made pioneering contributions to our understanding of chemical reactivity using velocity-sensitive laser spectroscopy and ion-imaging techniques [15-17].

At present, Felix leads a number of projects at ISIS, including ongoing developments on IRIS & OSIRISTOSCA, and VESUVIO. Beyond ISIS, Felix continues to champion the application of neutron scattering in physical and materials chemistry [18-19], and has also been engaged in the design and specification of the first Spanish accelerator-driven neutron source for materials research [20-22]. With D.L. Price, he is editor of a new book series on the fundamentals and applications of neutron scattering [23-25].

Felix has over 150 publications. For an up-to-date list, please visit ePubs

Selected publications

[1] J.S. Edge, N.T. Skipper, F. Fernandez-Alonso, A. Lovell, S. Gadipelli, S.M. Bennington,  V. Garcia Sakai, and T.G.A. Youngs, The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 118 25740 (2014).

[2] M. Krzystyniak, M.A. Adams, A. Lovell, N.T. Skipper, S.M. Bennington, J. Mayers, and F. Fernandez-Alonso, Faraday Discussions 151 171 (2011).

[3] A. Lovell, F. Fernandez-Alonso, N.T. Skipper, K. Refson, S.M. Bennington, and S.F. Parker, Physical Review Letters 101 126101 (2008).

[4] F. Fernandez-Alonso, F.J. Bermejo, C. Cabrillo, R.O. Loutfy, and M.-L. Saboungi, Physical Review Letters 98 215503 (2007).

[5] F. Barroso-Bujans, F. Fernandez-Alonso, J.A. Pomposo, E. Enciso, J.L.G. Fierro, and J. Colmenero, Carbon 50 5232 (2012).

[6] F. Barroso-Bujans, F. Fernandez-Alonso, S. Cerveny, S.F. Parker, A. Alegria, and J. Colmenero, Soft Matter 7 7173 (2011).

[7] M.R. Ryder, B. Civalleri, T.D. Bennett, S. Henke, S. Rudić, G. Cinque, F. Fernandez-Alonso, and J.-C. Tan, Physical Review Letters 113 215502 (2014).

[8] G. Graziano, J. Klimeš, F. Fernandez-Alonso, and A. Michaelides, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 42 424216 (2012).

[9] M. Krzystyniak, K. Drużbicki, and F. Fernandez-Alonso, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 17 31287 (2015).

[10] S. Mukhopadhyay, M.J. Gutmann, and F. Fernandez-Alonso, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 16 26234 (2014).

[11] M. Krzystyniak, S.E. Richards, A.G. Seel, and F. Fernandez-Alonso, Physical Review B 88 184304 (2013).

[12] M. Krzystyniak and F. Fernandez-Alonso, Physical Review B 83 134305 (2011).

[13] F. Fernandez-Alonso, F.J. Bermejo, S.E. McLain, J.FC. Turner, J.J. Molaison, and K.W. Herwig, Physical Review Letters 98 077801 (2007).

[14] F. Fernandez-Alonso, C. Cabrillo, R. Fernández-Perea, F.J. Bermejo, M.A. González, C. Mondelli, and E. Farhi, Physical Review B 86 144524 (2012).

[15] F. Fernandez-Alonso and R.N. Zare, Annual Review of Physical Chemistr53 67 (2002).

[16] S.C. Althorpe, F. Fernandez-Alonso, B.D. Bean, J.D. Ayers, A.E. Pomerantz, R.N. Zare, and E. Wrede, Nature 416 67 (2002).

[17] F. Fernandez-Alonso, B.D. Bean, J.D. Ayers, A.E. Pomerantz, R.N. Zare, L. Bañares, and F.J. Aoiz, Angewandte Chemie International Edition 39 2748 (2000).

[18] F. Fernandez-Alonso, Lecture Notes on Neutron Science – Tor Vergata 2015, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Technical Report RAL-TR-2015-002 (Chilton, 2015).

[19] F. Fernandez-Alonso, Density Functional Theory for Experimentalists – A Four-lecture Primer, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Technical Report RAL-TR-2014-002 (Chilton, 2014).

[20] J.P. de Vicente, F. Sordo, J.M. Perlado, F.J. Bermejo, and F. Fernandez-Alonso, Journal of Physics: Conference Series 663 012011 (2015).

[21] F. Sordo, F. Fernandez-Alonso, S. Terrón, M. Magán, A. Ghiglino, F. Martínez, F.J. Bermejo, and J.M. Perlado, Physics Procedia 60 125 (2014).

[22] J.P. de Vicente, F. Fernandez-Alonso, F. Sordo, and F.J. Bermejo, Neutrons at ESS-Bilbao – From Production to Utilisation, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Technical Report RAL-TR-2013-016 (Chilton, 2013).

[23] F. Fernandez-Alonso and D.L. Price Eds, Neutron Scattering – Fundamentals (Academic Press, New York, 2013).

[24] F. Fernandez-Alonso and D.L. Price Eds, Neutron Scattering – Magnetic & Quantum Phenomena (Academic Press, New York, 2015).

[25] F. Fernandez-Alonso and D.L. Price Eds, Neutron Scattering – Applications in Biology, Chemistry, and Materials Science (Academic Press, in preparation).

Professional activities: Memberships/External organisations


• Visiting Professor at University College London and Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom.

• International Joint Chair (Doppia Cattedra), Università di Roma – Tor Vergata, Italy.

• Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, United Kingdom.

• Editor (with D.L. Price), Neutron Scattering– Fundamentals (2013), Neutron Scattering – Magnetic & Quantum Phenomena (2015), and Neutron Scattering – Applications in Biology, Chemistry, and Materials Science (in preparation), Academic Press.

• Invited Lecturer, The John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science and The Cockcroft Institute of Accelerator Science and Technology, United Kingdom.

• Committee member, Royal Society of Chemistry and Institute of Physics Neutron Scattering Group, United Kingdom.



• Erasmus Docente, University of Milano Bicocca, Italy (2013).

• Professeur Invité, Centre de Recherche sur la Matière Divisée, Université d’Orléans, France (2010-2011).

• Impact Fellow, Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom (2011).

• Editor, ISIS Annual Review, United Kingdom (2010-2012).

• Associate Lecturer in Chemistry, The Open University, United Kingdom (2003-2006).

• Individual-merit Marie Curie Research Fellow, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy (2001-2003).

• Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Stanford University, USA (2000).

• PhD candidate, Stanford University, USA (1995-1999).

• Elihu-Root pre-doctoral Fellow, Hamilton College and SRI International, USA (1994).

• Unilever Prize in Physical Chemistry, Imperial College London, United Kingdom (1993).

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