Professor Mark SmithProfessor of Solid State NMR
Professor Smith studied natural sciences at Churchill College, Cambridge before completing a PhD at the University of Warwick. After time developing his research in Germany and Australia, he returned to the UK in 1992 and returned to Warwick as Reader in 1998. He held roles within the Physics Department before being appointed Chair of the Faculty of Science in 2005, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research in 2007, and subsequently Deputy Vice-Chancellor. In this role, he lead responsibility for all academic resourcing issues with a budget of c£240m working with 30 Heads of Department.
Currently the sixth Vice Chancellor since the University of Lancaster was established in 1964, he was drawn to the role because of Lancaster’s profile and its reputation for excellence in both teaching and research.
The application and development of solid state NMR techniques to improve the understanding of disordered inorganic materials, particularly oxides and silicates.
Mark’s research interests span the development and applications of solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques and have over the last five years expanded to include developing NMR signal enhancement via dynamic nuclear polarisation (DNP). The short-range, atomic scale structural sensitivity of NMR via the interactions the nucleus experiences means that it can be applied to fully ordered crystalline solids, crystalline solids exhibiting defects and amorphous materials. Mark’s research has mainly been applying solid state NMR to inorganic materials which has included, ceramics, clay processing, sol-gel formed materials, aluminosilicate glasses and their interaction with water, oxides, energy materials and metallic alloys. Throughout this work there has been an emphasis on a multinuclear approach, trying to observe as many of the different NMR-active elements in a system as is possible. Key themes of his recent research have been:
(i) Understanding the underlying structural features of novel biomaterials to act as implants to aid hard tissue regeneration;
(ii) The use of very broad lines to characterise industrially relevant materials, with an example 195Pt to examine platinum nanoparticles used in catalytic converters for vehicles;
(iii) Developing nuclei with small magnetic moments – termed low-g – especially those from Group IIA (25Mg, 43Ca, 87Sr) which have application to many chemically interesting problems.
This research is carried out with a wide range of collaborators.