Professor Stephen Blundell from the University of Oxford has been using muons to study the behaviour of advanced materials for over 25 years. His research has focused on materials with interesting magnetic, superconducting or dynamical properties. He has used the full range of muon techniques to achieve this, publishing over 380 research papers. Following his doctoral work in Cambridge using polarised neutron reflectometry to study magnetic thin films he moved to Oxford and soon afterwards started to apply muons to study molecular magnetism. Significant achievements have included advancing our understanding of iron-based superconductors, particularly the LiFeAs and NaFeAs systems, and demonstrating how molecular intercalation between the iron-chalcogenide layers enhances the superconducting Tc. He has also been one of the leading developers of tools to apply ab initio calculations to muon spectroscopy.
In addition to his scientific achievements, Prof Blundell has been a tireless advocate for muon spectroscopy throughout his career. He has been a regular feature at the ISIS muon training school and workshops around the world, has authored several books, for specialists and non-specialists alike, has supervised 24 PhD students and 11 post-doctoral researchers and has volunteered his time for a multitude of committees, conferences and media activities.
Philip King, Head of the Spectroscopy and Support Division of the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source in the UK said, “Prof Blundell is a well respected user, and friend of the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, known for his extensive scientific achievements using implanted muons, his advocacy and promotion of the technique, his support for and involvement in the world-wide muon community, and his training contributions through students, reviews, books and in many other ways. He is an excellent ambassador for the muon technique, and I am delighted that his significant accomplishments have been recognised with this award".
‘I am delighted and honoured to receive this prize,’ comments Professor Blundell. ‘It is wonderful to receive this recognition from my peers and gives me the opportunity to gratefully acknowledge the tremendous work of my wonderful students and postdocs, past and present, as well as the fantastic colleagues in Oxford and elsewhere that I have had the privilege to work with. Muon spectroscopy has become a world-leading tool for revealing new information about magnets and superconductors, revealing the intricate details of the microscopic magnetic fields that abide in materials, advancing our knowledge of emergent states of matter.’