Atomic scale phenomena

Atomic scale phenomena can alter the properties of minerals and affect their thermodynamic and kinetic stability in the natural world.

We study the impact of atomic scale phenomena on mineral properties, including:

  • physical properties
  • crystallisation
  • reactivity
  • rheology
  • microstructures
  • transformations, including mineral-biota interactions

Atomic-scale techniques

We use a range of in-house techniques to characterise microstructural states and mineralogical phenomena at the atomic scale, including:

  • single-crystal and powder X-ray diffraction
  • electron microprobe
  • diamond anvil cell
  • infrared spectroscopy
  • electron microscopy

We also collaborate with researchers outside the Museum to use external facilities, such as:

  • synchrotron radiation
  • neutron diffraction
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • Raman spectroscopy

New mineral species

The characterisation of new mineral species requires:

  • close collaboration with curators
  • extensive use of the Museum's mineral collections
The Minerals as Technological Precursors programme

We use the Museum's mineral collections to study the compositional and structural systematics of technologically important materials, including

  • perovskites
  • light-element rich frameworks
  • protonic and ionic conductors
  • catalytic species

Explore the mineralogy collection database

Contact us

Prof Sara Russell
Head of the Mineral and Planetary Sciences Division
The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road

+44 (0)20 7942 5074