Lucy Saunders


Beamline Scientist

Tel: +44 (0) 1235 778407

Key Research Areas

  • X-ray Diffraction
  • Multi component molecular crystals
  • Proton transfer materials
  • E-field responsive crystalline materials

Latest Publications


Lucy is a Beamline Scientist on I11. She did her PhD in Structural Chemistry at the University of Bath which was jointly funded by Diamond Light Source. Before joining I11, Lucy was a postdoctoral research associate on beamline I19 at Diamond doing small molecule chemical crystallography.

About me:

I am a chemical crystallographer and since my undergraduate degree have built up many years’ experience in diffraction at both neutron and synchrotron sources.  I am currently working as a Beamline Scientist on Beamline I11 and my role involves preparing the beamline for user experiments. During an experiment, I provide support and advice to the scientists to help them get the best possible results from their beamtime. The role also gives the opportunity to work on in-house research projects such as the development of new and current sample environments as well as to build on my own research areas.

Current research interests

My research interests cover two overlapping areas with a focus on multi component molecular crystals. Firstly, the study of proton transfer behaviour across hydrogen bonds as a function of external stimuli within these types of systems. I use a combination of methods to do this including diffraction, spectroscopy and computational analysis. In some cases, proton transfer is coupled with a structural phase transition which may also lead to changes in material properties.

Proton transfer materials have the potential to be switchable such as by the application of an electric field. My second area of research includes the study of electric field responsive crystalline materials that may be switchable or have changeable properties/structure. These types of materials have many functional applications such as micro actuators or in computer memory. I work in developing electric field sample environments for X-ray diffraction methods for the discovery of new switchable materials. On beamline I11, the current inhouse Polarisation-Electric field loop system in EH1 allows simultaneous measurement of powder X-ray diffraction data and polarisation of a material under electric fields. The switchable characteristics of a material at the structural level can then be determined.



Publications in chemical crystallography

Lucy K. Saunders, Hamish H. Yeung, Mark R. Warren, Peter Smith, Stuart Gurney, Stephen Dodsworth, Inigo Y. Vitorica, Paul Hathaway, Adrian Wilcox, Geoff Preece, Paul Roberts, Sarah A. Barnett, Dave R. Allan
“An electric field cell for performing in situ single crystal synchrotron X-ray diffraction studies” (submitted March 2021 to JApplCryst)

Lucy K. Saunders, Anuradha R Pallipurath, Matthias Gutmann, Harriott Nowell, Ningjin Zhang, Dave R Allan “A quantum crystallographic approach to short hydrogen bonds” (submitted March 2021 to CrystEngComm)


Hengbo Cui, Hamish Hei-man Yeung, Yoshitaka Kawasugi, Takaaki Minamidate, Lucy K. Saunders, Reizo Kato “High Pressure Crystal Structure and Unusual Magnetoresistance of a Single-Component Molecular Conductor [Pd(dddt)2]” (submitted March 2021 to Crystals)


Lauren E. Hatcher. Mark R. Warren, Anuradha R. Pallipurath, Lucy K. Saunders, Jonathan M. Skelton, (2020). “Watching Photochemistry Happen: Recent Developments in Dynamic Single-Crystal X-Ray Diffraction Studies.” Berlin, Heidelberg, Springer Berlin Heidelberg: 1-40.


Jonathan Richardson, Helen Benjamin, Stephen A. Moggach, Lisette R Warren, Mark R. Warren, David R. Allan, Lucy K. Saunders, Carole A. Morrison, Neil Robertson, (2020). "Probing the structural and electronic response of Magnus green salt compounds [Pt(NH2R)4][PtCl4] (R=H, CH3) to pressure." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.


Lucy K. Saunders, Harriott Nowell, Lauren E. Hatcher, Helena J. Shepherd, Simon J. Teat, David R. Allan, Paul R. Raithby, Chick C. Wilson. (2019). "Exploring short strong hydrogen bonds engineered in organic acid molecular crystals for temperature dependent proton migration behaviour using single crystal synchrotron X-ray diffraction (SCSXRD)." CrystEngComm, 21(35): 5249-5260.


Acknowledged in: Masahiro Yamashina, Yuya Tanaka, Roy Lavendomme, Michael Pittlekow, Jonathan R. Nitschke (2019). "An antiaromatic-walled nanospace." Nature 574(7779): 511-515.


Lucy K. Saunders, Harriott Nowell, Helen C. E. Spencer, Lauren E. Hatcher, Helena J. Shepherd, Lynne H. Thomas, Charlotte L. Jones, Simon J. Teat, Paul R. Raithby, Chick C. Wilson (2018). "Tuning charge-assisted and weak hydrogen bonds in molecular complexes of the proton sponge DMAN by acid co-former substitution." CrystEngComm.


Jack D. Humby, Oguarabau Benson, Gemma L. Smith, Stephen P. Argent, Ivan de Silva, Yongqiang Cheng, Svemir Rudić, Pascal Manuel, Mark D. Frogley, Gianfelice Cinque, Lucy K. Saunders, Iñigo J. Vitórica-Yrezábal, Timothy L. Easun, George F. S. Whitehead, William Lewis, Alexander J. Blake, Anibal J. Ramirez-Cuesta, Sihai Yang, Martin Schröder, (2018). "Host-guest selectivity in a series of isoreticular metal-organic frameworks: observation of acetylene-to-alkyne and carbon dioxide-to-amide interactions." Chemical Science.


David Allan, Harriott Nowell, Sarah Barnett, Mark Warren, Adrian Wilcox, Jeppe Christensen, Lucy Saunders, Andrew Peach, Mark Hooper, Ljubo Zaja, Suren Patel, Leo Cahill, Russell Marshall, Steven Trimnell, Andrew Foster, Trevor Bates, Simon Lay, Mark Williams, Paul Hathaway, Graeme Winter, Markus Gerstel, Ron Wooley (2017). "A Novel Dual Air-Bearing Fixed-χ Diffractometer for Small-Molecule Single-Crystal X-ray Diffraction on Beamline I19 at Diamond Light Source." Crystals 7(11): 336.


Lucy K. Saunders, Harriott Nowell, Paul R. Raithby, Chick C. Wilson, (2016). "Crystal engineering urea organic acid hydrogen bonded networks with solvent inclusion properties." CrystEngComm 18: 5916-5929.


Lucy K. Saunders, (2016). Synchrotron X-ray Diffraction Studies of Proton Transfer in Hydrogen Bonded Molecular Complexes, University of Bath, U.K. PhD Thesis.


Lauren E. Hatcher, Edward J. Bigos, Mathew J. Bryant, Emily M. MacCready, Thomas P. Robinson, Lucy K. Saunders, Lynne H. Thomas, Christine M. Beavers, Simon J. Teat, Jeppe Christensen, Paul R. Raithby, (2014). "Thermal and photochemical control of nitro–nitrito linkage isomerism in single-crystals of [Ni(medpt)(NO2)(η2-ONO)]." CrystEngComm 16(35): 8263-8271.

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