Simon Cassidy

simon cassidy

Dr Simon Cassidy

Inorganic Materials Characterisation Facility Supervisor



Research Interests

My research interests focus around the application of diffraction and magnetometry techniques to complex structural problems. My background is in the synthesis and characterisation of solid-state compounds, with a focus on layered materials but my interests are broad and many of the projects I am involved in arise through collaboration. I have a high level of experience in the interpretation of complex powder diffraction patterns, which I put to good use in my role in the Inorganic materials Characterisation (IMC) facility.

My role in the department of Chemistry is to manage the powder X-ray diffraction and magnetometry instruments in the inorganic chemistry laboratory as part of the IMC research facility. The suite of instruments is a highly advanced resource for the characterisation of inorganic materials studied here at the University of Oxford. In addition to the large group of users within the Chemistry department, it attracts many users from the Physics and Materials departments and a few from further afield.

Further to managing the facility instrumentation, I also coordinate a Block Allocation Group (BAG) access to the high-resolution powder diffraction beamline at Diamond Light Source, I11. The BAG offers regular (~every 1-2 months) access to the beamline and is a joint application from several research groups in the Universities of Oxford and Warwick. Users of the BAG have an opportunity to take their own samples to Diamond Light Source and collect data as part of a small team over a 24 hour window. 

Part II projects

There are a range of Part II projects involving the analysis of complex data gathered by the IMC and the construction of robust structural models for such data. Areas of particular interest are the interpretation of diffraction patterns of stacking faulted materials, temperature driven phase transitions, and the structure-property link in layered crystal structures. Part II projects can arranged as a full supervision – mainly involving analysis and modelling, or joint supervision with one of the supervisors of the solid state groups – involving a mixture of analysis and synthesis.


Dr Simon Cassidy studied for his MChem at St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford. He did a joint sponsored DPhil between the University of Oxford and Diamond Light Source, supervised by Professor Simon Clarke at the Department of Chemistry and Dr Silvia Ramos at the Core EXAFS beamline B18 at Diamond. His background is in the synthesis and characterisation of superconducting materials – using a combination of low and high temperature synthesis techniques, and a variety of characterisation methods centring around diffraction, absorption spectroscopy, and magnetometry.

He has been a lecturer in inorganic chemistry at St Catherine’s college since 2012, tutoring 2nd and 3rd year undergraduate chemists. In April 2019 he was appointed to manage the Inorganic Materials Characterisation Facility in the Chemistry Department of the University of Oxford and his current research greatly benefits from the strong collaborative links within the Chemistry department.