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Dr Mark E Light PhD, BSc, FRSC, MMS, FHEA

X-Ray Diffraction Manager

Dr Mark E Light's photo

Dr Mark Light was appointed as X-ray diffraction manger in 2005 and heads 2 Small Research Facilities. He is based in Chemistry but has collaborations spanning physics, electronics, optics, earth sciences & materials engineering. Over his many years working in the area of structural characterisation he has gained a wide ranging expertise in single crystal, powder and thin film X-ray diffraction and scattering, the interpretation and modelling of data and experimental techniques.

The ability to elucidate complex atomic-scale structures through their interactions with X-rays is truly incredible.




Mark received a BSc in 1994 from the University of Greenwich (geochemistry) and a PhD in 1997 from Cardiff University (crystallography). In 1998 he moved to Southampton to take up a postdoc position working with the EPSRC National Crystallography Service before being appointed to his current post of X-ray diffraction manager in 2005. 

He is the author or co-author of over 400 peer reviewed publications and has contributed over 1200 crystal structures to the CCDC, ranking him within the top 100 worldwide. Mark is a member of the Transition Metal Chemistry editorial board and a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Mineralogical Society and the British Crystallographic Association.

In addition to running the departmental X-ray diffraction activities Mark is a member of Southampton Chemistry Analytical Solutions providing diffraction services to the commercial sector.








Research interests


As X-ray diffraction manager Mark’s main responsibility is operating a state-of-the-art facility - enabling cutting edge analysis of a broad range of compounds and composite materials. His work encompasses technique development, user training, data analysis, grant writing, instrument maintenance and general facility management. Recent funding from the EPSRC has enabled the acquisition of an extremely comprehensive equipment base augmented by interactions with National Facilities including the neutron source at ISIS and the synchrotron source at Diamond.

The X-ray diffraction facilities currently include the following equipment: Rigaku FR-E+ Ultra High Flux (Mo), Rigaku FR-E+ Very High Flux (Mo), Rigaku R-AXIS Spider (Cu), Rigaku 007- High Flux (Cu), Bruker D2-Phaser bench-top (Cu), Rigaku SmartLab: thin film and micro diffraction (Cu).

These provide the following capabilities: full structural characterisation of single crystal structures including absolute structure determination of light atom molecules, qualitative and quantitative powder diffraction of single and multi-phase samples, micro-diffraction and mapping, crystallite size determination, residual stress analysis, thin film characterisation, parameterisation of multi-layer systems using X-ray reflectivity, in-plane structure analysis, texture determination via pole figure measurements, high resolution measurements of epitaxial systems (providing lattice mismatch, crystal quality and composition information) and nano-materials characterisation (size, shape & distribution).



Research group

Characterisation and Analytics

Affiliate research group

Functional Inorganic, Materials and Supramolecular Chemistry

Research project(s)



Member of the editorial board of Transition Metal Chemistry

Radiation Protection Supervisor for Chemistry

Co-founding member of Southampton Chemistry Analytical Solutions



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Key Publications

Module co-ordinator: CHEM8033, CHEM6130 (CHEM8039)

Dr Mark E Light
Chemistry University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 30/1065

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