High Resolution Powder Diffraction
Stephen is the Senior Beamline Scientist for the I11 high resolution Powder Diffraction beamline.
His main area of interest is in the processing and evolution of solid phase materials in circumstellar, interstellar and planetary environments.
Through the use of analogue materials, synchrotron structure-probing techniques and spectroscopic techniques such as FTIR and Raman, his research work focuses on understanding the physical properties and structural evolution of the most primitive and original forms of solid matter in the universe.
Quantifying material evolution under non-ambient conditions is central to understanding the environments and processes that drive the formation and evolution of solid matter as it cycles between stellar and interstellar environments, its journey into to the early solar nebula and its incorporation into planetesimal and planetary objects during solar system formation, ultimately providing the building blocks for the Earth and the material origins of life.
Key Research Areas
- Solid State Astrophysics & Astromineralogy:
- structural evolution, crystallisation and structural-spectral relationships in amorphous silicates
- non-aqueous formation of calcium carbonate by silicate carbonation,
- Primitive, Evolving Minerals and Planetary Materials:
- calcium carbonate phase change transformations
- influence of biotic molecules on mineralisation
- formation of clathrate hydrates
- X-ray Powder Diffraction:
- non-ambient in situ measurement
- in situ XRD and Raman spectroscopy
- total scattering (XPDF)
Current Research Areas
- Structural and spectral (e.g. IR) evolution in thermally processed Mg-, Ca- and Fe-rich amorphous silicates as analogues for dust processing in stellar, interstellar and the pre-planetary nebulae disk environments.
- Formation and thermal processing of calcium carbonate grains by silicate carbonation in stellar atmospheres and the early solar nebula by gas-solid interactions.
- Phase stabilization, morphological templating and thermal evolution of calcium carbonates and other mineral formed in the presence of amino acids.
- Formation, gas sequestration and stability of Clathrate hydrates.
- In situ Raman spectroscopy and X-ray powder diffraction under non-ambient conditions.
- The 10 um band in amorphous MgSiO3: the influence of medium-range structure, defects and thermal processing.Thompson SP, Parker JE, Tang CC. Astronomy & Astrophysics 545, A60 (2012)
- Fine-grained amorphous calcium silicate CaSiO3 from vacuum dried sol-gel – production, characterisation and thermal behaviour.Thompson SP, Day SJ, Parker JE, Evans A, Tang CC. Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids 358, 885 (2012)
- In situ measurement of gas-solid interactions in astrophysical & planetary analogues.Thompson SP, Parker JE, Day SJ, Evans A, Tang CC. European Astronomical Society Publications Series 58, 225 (2012)
- Carbonate formation in non-aqueous Environments by solid-gas carbonation of silicates.Day SJ, Thompson SP, Evans A, Parker, JE., European Astronomical Society Publications Series 58, 369 (2012)
- Structural signatures of medium-range order in annealed laboratory silicates.Thompson SP. Astronomy & Astrophysics 484, 251 (2008)
- Crystallisation Processes in Cosmic Silicates: Progress towards understanding structural-spectral relationships. Thompson SP, Verrienti C, Fonti S, Orofino V, Blanco A. Advances in Space Research 39, 375 (2007)
- Crystalline comet dust: laboratory experiments on a simple silicate system.Thompson SP, Fonti S, Verrienti C, Blanco A, Orofino V, Tang CC. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 38, no. 3, 457 (2003)
- Laboratory study of annealed amorphous MgSiO3 using IR spectroscopy and synchrotron x-ray diffraction.Thompson SP, Fonti S, Verrienti C, Blanco A, Orofino V, Tang CC. Astronomy & Astrophysics 395, 705 (2002)
- Laboratory investigation of crystallisation in annealed amorphous MgSiO3. Thompson SP & Tang CC. Astronomy & Astrophysics 368, 721 (2001)
- Morphological templating of metastable calcium carbonates by the amino acid leucine. Thompson SP, Parker JE, Street SR, Tang CC. Journal of Physics Conference Series 286, 012030 (2011)
- A study of the aragonite-calcite transformation using Raman spectroscopy, synchrotron powder diffraction and scanning electron microscopy.Parker JE,Thompson SP, Lennie AR, Potter J, Tang CC. CrystEngComm 12, 1590 (2010)
- The Ikaite to Vaterite Transformation: New Evidence from Diffraction and Imaging.Tang CC, Thompson SP, Parker JE, Lennie AR, Azough F, Kato K.Journal of Applied Crystallography 42, 225 (2009)
- The role of residual stress in the fracture properties of a natural ceramic.Eichhorn SJ, Scurr DJ, Mummery PM, Golshan M, Thompson SP, Cernik RJ. Journal of Materials Chemistry 15, 947 (2005)
- The structure and thermal expansion behaviour of ikaite, CaC03.6H2O, from T=110 to T=295 K.Lennie AR, Tang CC, Thompson SP, Mineralogical Magazine 68, 135 (2004)
- Beamline I11 in-situ gas control system and sample cells. Parker JE, Thompson SP. Diamond Light Source Annual Review 2011/12, p46
- In Situ Gas Supply System on the Powder Diffraction Beamline I11 at Diamond Light Source.Parker JE, Potter J, Thompson SP, Lennie AR, Tang CC. Materials Science Forum 706-709, 1707 (2012)
- Fast X-ray powder diffraction on I11 at Diamond.Thompson SP, Parker JE, Marchal J, Potter J, Birt A, Yuan F, Fearn RD, Kennie AR, Street SR, Tang CC. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 18, 637 (2011)
- High throughput powder diffraction on beamline I11 at Diamond.Parker JE, Cobb TM, Yuan F,Thompson SP, Birt A, Hill TP, Potter J, Tang CC. Journal of Applied Crystallography 44, 102 (2011)
- Characterisation of wax as a potential diffraction intensity standard for MX beamlines.Brando-Neto J, Tang CC, Thompson SP, Lennie AR, Ferreira FF. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 17, 53 (2010)
- Beamline I11 at Diamond – A new instrument for high resolution powder diffraction.Thompson SP, Parker JE, Hill TP, Wilken GR, Cobb TM, Yuan F, Tang CC. Review of Scientific Instruments 80, 075107 (2009)
- High Performance x-ray detectors for the new powder diffraction beamline I11 at Diamond.Tartoni T, Thompson SP, Tang CC, Willis B, Derbyshire GE, Wright AG, Jaye SC, Homer JM, Pizzey JD, Bell AMT. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 15, 43 (2008)
- Design of powder diffraction beamline I11 at Diamond.Tang CC, Thompson SP, Hill TP, Wilkin GR, Wagner UH. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie supplement 26, 153 (2007)