Prof Felix Fernandez-Alonso

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.  The group is responsible for the science and instrumentation programmes on a suite of high-resolution neutron spectrometers spanning ca. eight orders of magnitude in timescales, from stochastic diffusion or quantum tunnelling at THz and sub-THz frequencies to nuclear quantum dynamics using deep-inelastic neutron scattering techniques. These experimental capabilities remain unique to the ISIS instrument suite, with a growing number of applications in physical and materials chemistry, industrial catalysis, energy research, etc.

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

Being the lightest and most abundant of all chemical elements, Felix has had a lifelong passion for the rich and complex physical chemistry of hydrogen in a number of situations of fundamental and practical interest. These have ranged from detailed studies of chemical reactivity using velocity-sensitive laser spectroscopy and ion-imaging techniques [1-3], to the dynamics of hydrogen bonds in strongly associated liquids [4] or nuclear quantum effects in the solid molecular hydrogens [5] using high-resolution and spin-echo inelastic neutron scattering. On a more applied front, current research projects include the study of molecular [6-8] and supramolecular [9-10] uptake and intercalation in nanostructured and soft layered materials [11-12], and proton dynamics, transfer, and conduction mechanisms in functional and technological materials [13]. This research programme makes extensive use of computational modelling tools in parallel with experiment, as most recently illustrated by ongoing developments in mass-selective neutron spectroscopy and quantum thermometry of light nuclides beyond the proton [14-15]. With D.L. Price, he is editor of a new book series on the fundamentals and applications of Neutron Scattering.

Since joining ISIS, Felix has participated in a number of infrastructure developments on both Target Stations, including recent and ongoing upgrades of IRISOSIRIS, and TOSCA. Beyond ISIS, Felix has been actively engaged in the design and specification of the first Spanish accelerator-driven neutron source [16].

For an up-to-date list of publications, please visit ePubs


[1] 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).

[2] 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).

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

[4] 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).

[5] 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).

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

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

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

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

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

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

[12] 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).

[13] S. Mukhopadhyay, M.J. Gutmann, M. Jura, D.B. Jochym, M. Jimenez-Ruiz, S. Sturniolo, K. Refson, and F. Fernandez-Alonso, Chemical Physics 427 95 (2013).

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

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

[16] F. Sordo, F. Fernandez-Alonso, M.A. Gonzalez, A. Ghiglino, M. Magán, S. Terrón, F. Martínez, J.P. de Vicente, F.J. Bermejo, and J.M. Perlado, Journal of Physics: Conference Series 549 012001 (2014).

Professional activities: Memberships/External organisations


• Visiting Professor at University College London and Nottingham Trent University.

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

• Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

• Editor (with D.L. Price), Neutron Scattering, Academic Press.

• Invited Lecturer, The John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science.

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



• 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 (2011).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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