Sofia Diaz-Moreno


Sofia Diaz-Moreno is the Science Group Leader of the Spectroscopy Group at Diamond.

Tel: +44 (0) 1235 778158

Key Research Area

Solution chemistry, Local Structure determination, X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy, EXAFS, XANES, Time-resolved spectroscopy, Energy Dispersive X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy

Current Research Interests

The structure of solute species and the solvents that accommodate them is fundamental to the understanding of the multitude of chemical reactions that take place in solution. This important field of fundamental research underpins vast areas of applied chemistry and biochemistry, and my personal area of expertise is the application of X-ray absorption techniques (EXAFS and XANES) to the characterisation of chemically reactive solute and solvent molecules. X-ray absorption spectroscopy is a particularly powerful technique in this area due to its element specificity and its wide ranging applicability. X-ray spectroscopic methods can be applied to the characterisation of the local environment of selected atoms in solids, liquids and even gases. The method is highly sensitive, and applicable to local structural studies over atomic concentrations ranging from the ultra-dilute to pure substances.

Recent developments in stopped-flow technology and its integration with Energy Dispersive X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy have allowed me to extend my research interests into the kinetic investigation of in-solution chemical reactions and reactive species. By combining these techniques with simultaneous UV-visible spectroscopy I have recently demonstrated that it is possible to study reaction processes on timescales of milliseconds to seconds from both a chemically specific structural and electronic viewpoint.

Alongside my interest in instrumentation and technique development in this area, I am also closely involved in the development of real-time analytical procedures based on spectral component fitting. These are essential for the comprehensive analysis of time-resolved data. To facilitate the analysis of potentially hundreds and thousands of spectra that can be obtained in time-resolved mode, techniques are required to systematically correct and analyse the data. The aim is to minimise the propagation of artefacts from the data correction procedures into the resulting kinetic models.

To assist me in refining my structural models of solute species, I am also interested in the application of computational techniques to simulate X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure (XANES). As near edge spectroscopy is particularly sensitive to the local electronic environment and the local coordination geometries of the chemically selected atom type, it can provide a considerable quantity of additional complementary information to that provided by the EXAFS. With this work I am attempting to relate these extra details to the chemical reactivity of the solvated species.

Selected Publications

  1. Detecting transient protein–protein interactions by X-ray absorption spectroscopy: The cytochrome c6-photosystem I complex. Irene Díaz-Moreno, Antonio Díaz-Quintana, Gloria Subías, Trevor Mairs, Miguel A. De la Rosa and Sofía Díaz-Moreno. FEBS Letters, 580, p. 3023 (2006).
  2. Structural Investigation of the bridged activated complex in the reaction between hexachloroiridate(IV) and pentacyanocobaltate(II). S. Díaz-Moreno, D. T. Bowron and J. Evans. Dalton Trans., p. 3814 (2005).
  3. Analysis of Time-Resolved Energy Dispersive X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy Data for the Study of Chemical Reaction Intermediate States. D.T. Bowron and S. Diaz-Moreno. Anal. Chem., 77, p. 6445 (2005)
  4. Determination of the in-solution molecular structure of reactive osmium compounds involved in the synthesis of vicinal diols. Sofía Díaz-Moreno and Daniel T. Bowron. Organometallics, 22, 390 (2003).
  5. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) study of the hydration structure of yttrium(III) in liquid and glassy states: eight or nine-fold coordination?. Sofía Díaz-Moreno, Adela Muñoz-Páez and Jesus Chaboy. J. Phys. Chem. A, 104, 1278 (2000).


Sofia Diaz-Moreno was the Principal Beamline Scientist of the Versatile X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy Beamline, I20, and is now the Group Leader of the Spectroscopy village. Prior to joining to Diamond, she was a beamline scientist at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France, where she undertook research into the structure of liquids and solutions, and the mechanisms that govern chemical processes using x-ray absorption spectroscopy techniques.

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