Prof Stephen Bennington

Group Leader

Location R 71, 1. 36
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Telephone (office) +44 (0) 1235 567505

Introduction and profile

I am responsible for the Excitations Group at ISIS, which has 10 members of staff and 4 scheduled instruments (LET, MAPS, MARI and MERLIN) and the alignment facility ALF. 

I am also responsible for the conceptual design of the ISIS second target station and play an active role its commissioning

Research and development interests

I have three main research areas:

Hydrogen storage

We are interested in how nanostructure affects the way a materials perform as hydrogen store. We run an electrospinning facility which is capable of producing fibres of between 50 and 1000nm in diameter which we use to nanostructure both complex chemical hydrides and graphite intercalate based stores.

Current students
  • Arthur Lovell - ISIS
  • Zeynep Kurban - ISIS/UCL
  • Gadipelli Srinivas - UCL
  • Athal Nathanson - UCL
  • Jacqueline Edge - UCL
Previous Students
  • Tom Weller - UCL/ISIS

Inelastic Neutron Scattering 

We develop software for the analysis of inelastic neutron scattering data. Our instruments are now capable of measuring every excitation in every direction in reciprocal space producing complete four-dimensional data sets. Making full use of such data requires new software. We have one student based in Cambridge developing software to be able to simulate and fit lattice dynamics measurements and another in Bath looking at developing new data correction software.

New Neutron sources

I have a small programme in collaboration with the laser department looking at the possibility of using high powered lasers to produce the next generation of neutron sources.

  • Robbie Scott - ISIS/CLF

Selected Publications

  1. The use of neutrons in the study of ceramics, SM Bennington, J. Mater. Sci. 39 (2004) 6757-6779
  2. Magnetic properties of polymerized C-60: The influence of defects and hydrogen (vol B 70, art no 041403(R), 2004) JA Chan, B Montanari, JD Gale, SM Bennington, JW Taylor and NM Harrison, Phys. Rev. Lett. 71  Art. No. 049901
  3. Tetrahedral order in homologous disaccharide-water mixtures, C Branca, S Maccarrone, S Magazu, G Maisano, SM Bennington and JW Taylor, J. Chem. Phys. 122 (2005) 174513
  4. Design options for coupled cold moderators on a low power spallation source, DJ Picton, SM Bennington, TA Broome and TD Beynon, NIM A 545 (2005)  363-374
  5. Density dependence of the momentum distributions in liquid para-hydrogen, Dawidowski, J, Bermejo FJ, Ristig ML, Cabrillo C, Bennington SM, Phys. Rev. B 73 (2006) 144203
  6. Neutron scattering studies of hydrogen in potassium-graphite intercalates: Towards tuneable graphite intercalates for hydrogen storage, Physica B 385 (2006) 163-165
  7. A high-resolution neutron scattering study of the hydrogen-driven metal insulator phase transition in KC8Hx, A. Lovell, N.T. Skipper, S.M. Bennington and R.I. Smith, J. Alloys and Compounds 446-447 (2007) 397-401
  8. A route to the brightest possible neutron source?, A. Taylor, M. Dunne, S.M. Bennington, S. Ansell, I. Gardener, P. Norris, T. Broome, D. Findlay, R. Nelmes, Science, 315 (2007) 1092
  9. Analysis of the optic-type collective modes in liquid selinium to determine the local structure, Ayano Chiba, Yoshinori, Ohmasa, Stephen M. Bennington, Jon W. Taylor and Makoto Yao, Phys. Rev. B 77 (2008) 132202
  10. Quantum Delocalization of Molecular Hydrogen in Alkali-graphite Intercalates, Arthur Lovell, Felix Fernandez-Alonso, Neal T. Skipper, Keith Refson, Stephen M. Bennington and Stewart F. Parker, Phys. Rev. Lett., 101 126101 (2008) 
  11. Pressure induced changes in liquid arsenic, Ayano, Chiba, Stephen. M. Bennington, Alex C. Hannon and Kazuhiko Tsuji, Phys. Rev. B. 80 (2009) 060201 
  12. High temperature hydrogenation of CaC6, G. Srinivas, G. Howard, N.T. Skipper and S.M. Bennington, J. Mat. Chem. 19 (2009) 5269-5243
  13. Effect of hydrogenation on structure and superconducting properties of CaC6, G. Srinivas, A. Lovell, C.A. Howard, , M. Ellerby,  S.M. Bennington and N.T. Skipper, J. Mater. Chem 19 (2009) 5239-5243
  14. Turbostratic graphite nanofibres from electrospun solutions of PAN in dimethylshulphoxide, Z. Kurban, A. Lovell, D. Jenkins, S.M. Bennington, I. Loader, A. Schober and N.T. Skipper, European Polymer Journal 46 (2010) 1194-1202
  15. High energy neutron scattering from hydrogen using a direct geometry spectrometer, C.A. Stock, R.A. Cowley, J.W. Taylor and S.M. Bennington, Phys, Rev. B, 81 (2010) 024303
  16. Ammonia absorption in calcium graphite intercalation compounds: in-situ neutron diffraction, Raman spectroscopy and magnetization, G. Srinivas, A. Lovell, N.T. Skipper, S.M. Bennington, Z. Kurban and R.I. Smith,Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 12 (2010) 6253-6259  
  17. Structure and phase stability of hydrogenated first-stage alkali- and alkaline-earth metal graphite interaction compounds, G. Srinivas, A. Lovell, C.A. Howared, N.T. Skipper, M. Ellerby and S.M. Bennington, Synth. Met. 160 (2010) 1631-1635#
  18. A Solution Selection Model for Coaxial Electrospinning and Its Application to Nanostructured Hydrogen Storage Materials, Zeynep Kurban, Arthur Lovell, Stephen M. Bennington, Derek W. K. Jenkins, Kate R. Ryan, Martin O. Jones, Neal T. Skipper, and William I. F. David, J. Phys. Chem. C 2010, 114, 21201–21213

For a full publication list see ePubS

Professional activities: Memberships/External organisations

I am a visiting Professor at the Department of Physics, University College London

I am Chief Scientific Officer of Cella Energy. An STFC spin out working in the field of hydrogen storage

Grants, awards, teaching and other activities

Advisory bodies

Grants Awards

  • £2.2M STFC, Facilities Development Grant to buy high field magnets for ISIS
  • £330K STFC Facilities Development Grant to complete the MERLIN instrument detector banks
  • £1.2M STFC Facilities Development Grant to development 3He polarisation at ISIS
  • £320K funding from CCLRC Strategic Initiatives fund to set up a nanostructuring facility based around electrospinning in collaboration with University College London
  • £250K funding from EPSRC for hydrogen storage in graphite
  • Part of the SEPNET consortium (South East Physics Network) that supplies resources for physics at the Harwell Campus and the SE Universities
  • £25K Proof of Concept funding for a novel way of making graphite nanostructures on diamond using femtosecond lasers
  • CASE award developing neutron analysis code with the University of Bath
  • CASE award on hydrogen storage with the London Centre for Nanotechnology
  • CASE award with Cambridge Earth Sciences developing code to analysis inelastic neutron scattering data



Public Engagement

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