Dr Silvia Imberti

SANDALS Instrument Scientist

Location R 3, 2. 05
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
E-mail silvia.imberti@stfc.ac.uk
Telephone (office) +44 (0) 1235 445729
Mobile (short code) 1968 (only works when dialed on site)

Introduction and profile

I studied at the University of Milan (Italy) where I laureated with a master thesis on the development of detectors for epithermal neutrons. 

I them moved to Rome at the University of Roma Tre, where I obtained the Ph.D. in 2005 with a thesis on the microscopic structure of aqueous solutions.

I worked as a post-doc at the University of Roma Tor Vergata, still on aqueous solutions, and later for one year as an instrument scientist for the newly built Italian Neutron Experimental Station at ISIS, where I gained experience in powder diffraction.

Since 2007 I work within the Disordered Materials group at ISIS as an Instrument Scientist. I am the main responsible for the diffractometer SANDALS since September 2008.

Research and development interests

My research is in in the field of hydrogen-bonded liquids, with a focus on the microscopic structure of aqueous solutions.

Problems of interest in the area of bulk liquids consist in the hydration structure of electrolytes in solution, the structuring of water in the presence of charged solutes, the solvation structure of organic molecules as such and as a model for biological systems, the solvation of small bio-molecules, hydrophobic hydration. 

These studies provide a foundation basis of knowledge to several fields varying from the structure of functional proteins, to the nucleation of clouds and the influence of agricultural pollution on climate change.

Another branch of problems is opened when the liquid under study is under microscopic confinement or when exploring dramatic temperatures regimes. 

Scientific issues that I have addressed include the structure and dynamics of water under hydrophilic confinement at room temperature and in the supercooled regime, the study of emulsified supercooled water, momentum distribution of supercritical water (high temperature and high pressure).

I have also active collaborations in the field of ionic liquids, composite materials and supported catalysts.


Publications highlights:

Liquids structure

  • Formic and acetic acid aggregation in the liquid state, S. Imberti and D. Bowron, J. Phys. Condens. Matter.
  • Ions in water: the microscopic structure of concentrated hydroxide solutions, S. Imberti, A. Botti, F. Bruni. G. Cappa, M.A. Ricci, and A.K. Soper, J. Chem. Phys. 122, 194509 (2005); doi:10.1063/1.1899147

Liquids dynamics

  • Proton momentum distribution of liquid water from room temperature to the supercritical phase, C.Pantalei, A.Pietropaolo, R.Senesi, S.Imberti, C.Andreani, J. Mayers, C.Burnham and G. Reiter, Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 177801 (2008);  url:http://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.177801 ; doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.177801


Professional activities: Memberships/External organisations

I am a member of the editorial board of the Notiziario CNR Neutroni e Luce di Sincrotrone, a lively magazine on Large Scale Facilities, particularly focussed on new techniques and methods, published (in English!) by the Italian Research Council. 

Articles about new techniques or review articles about new and successful projects are always welcome, just contact me if you are interested!

Grants, awards, teaching and other activities

Once a year, I supervise a young student within the Work Experience programme framework.

The latest student supervised, A.B. (17 years old), wrote:

"I am just writing to thank you for my weeks work experience. I found the week really inspirational as it confirmed to me I would like to work as a scientist. The tasks you set me were pitched at the right level so I got a lot out of them. Seeing the maths that I had been looking at in action at the accelerator showed me that what I was studying clearly had practical purposes, which in turn gave me greater enjoyment!"

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