Professor Simon Parsons

Professor of Crystallography

Research summary

High pressure crystallography, structural chemistry, X-ray and neutron diffraction, structure of materials, single crystal and powder diffraction, twinning.

Research Overview

We are one of a very few groups in the world to be engaged in the study of the effect of pressures of 1000s of atm on the structures of molecular compounds. We are currently focusing on organic and magnetic systems, while also investigating whether pressure can be used to fine-tune metal extraction processes. This pioneering step in Gigapascal Chemistry hopes to make metal extraction more selective and more environmentally friendly. We are part of The Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions (CSEC), a World-leading centre of excellence for extreme conditions science, equipped with state-of-the-art diffraction, computing, magnetism and spectroscopy facilities.

The left figure shows a crystal of the amino acid serine in a high pressure cell. The pressure experienced by the sample is 40,000 atmospheres. The middle figure shows a high-pressure data collection in progress at a synchrotron source, using X-rays which are 1012 times more intense than those available in the lab. The third figure shows how the structure of TiCl4 can be changed by application pressure to 5000 atm.

  1. Pressure as a tool in crystal engineering: inducing a phase transition in a high-Z' structure. Johnstone, Russell D. L.; Ieva, Maria; Lennie, Alistair R.; McNab, Hamish; Pidcock, Elna; Warren, John E.; Parsons, Simon. CrystEngComm, (2010), 12, 2520-2523
  2. High-pressure polymorphism in salicylamide. Johnstone, Russell D. L.; Lennie, Alistair R.; Parker, Stewart F.; Parsons, Simon; Pidcock, Elna; Richardson, Patricia R.; Warren, John E.; Wood, Peter A. CrystEngComm (2010), 12, 1065-1078.
  3. Pressure-induced Jahn-Teller switching in a Mn12 nanomagnet. Parois, Pascal; Moggach, Stephen A.; Sanchez-Benitez, Javier; Kamenev, Konstantin V.; Lennie, Alistair R.; Warren, John E.; Brechin, Euan K.; Parsons, Simon; Murrie, Mark. Chemical Communications(2010), 46, 1881-1883.
  4. Isotopic Polymorphism in Pyridine. S. Crawford, M.T. Kirchner, D. Bl??ser, R. Boese, W.I.F. David, A. Dawson, A.Gehrke, R.M. Ibberson, W.G. Marshall, S.Parsons, and Y. Yamamuro, Angewandte Chemie, International Edition 48, 755-757 (2009).
  5. High pressure crystallography of inorganic and organometallic complexes. Moggach, Stephen A.; Parsons, Simon. Spectroscopic Properties of Inorganic and Organometallic Compounds (2009), 40 324-354.