Neville Greaves
BSc (St Andrews) PhD (Cantab) ScD (Cantab) Dr Hon Causa (Orleans) FGST FInstP

Distinguished Research Professor

Contact Details

Room Number..........:  3.21
Building....................:  Physical Sciences
Phone.......................:   +44 (0)1970 621907
E-Mail........................:   gng
Home Page...............:   Personal


Educated at King Edward VII School and a graduate in Natural Philosophy from the University of St Andrews, I worked in industry before obtaining my PhD in Amorphous Semiconductors at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge. This included working with the Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Nevill Mott.

I joined the Synchrotron Radiation Source at Daresbury Laboratory in 1978, where I built up X-ray Spectroscopy facilities and established the Materials Science Division. Together we pioneered the development of combined X-ray techniques whereby spectroscopy, diffraction and scattering can all be measured in the same experiment. In 1990 I received the Science and Technology Award presented by the Guild of Glass Sellers for my work on glass structure. In 1994 I started the international conference series on Synchrotron Radiation in Materials Science and between1994-96 I was the UK International Advisory Committee Member for the world’s largest synchrotron radiation source, SPring-8 in Japan.

In 1996 I was elected to the Chair of Physics at Aberystwyth and was head of department until 2003. During that time I was also a member of the Royal Institution Davy Faraday Research Laboratory Committee. I received a Doctor Honoris Causa at the University of Orleans in 2002 for advancing the understanding of disordered materials using synchrotron radiation.

In 2003 I was appointed Director of the Institute of Mathematics and Physics at Aberystwyth University, continuing until 2010. Between 2005 and 2009 I served on the Council of the Institute of Physics. I was awarded a Scientiae Doctor at the University of Cambridge in 2008. I joined the Science Board of the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council in 2009. In the same year I was awarded an Honorary Chair at University College London.

In 2010 I became a Distinguished Research Professor in Physics at Aberystwyth University and also a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge. I received the 2011 George W Morey Award, from the American Ceramic Society, for major contributions to the field of glass science. International workshops marking my 65th and 70th birthdays were held at University College London and at the Royal Society. In 2012 I was awarded a DAAD scholarship for collaborative work on ultra-high temperature liquids at German Aerospace, Cologne. In the same year I was elected a Foreign Learned Scholar at Shanghai University, and also became a Visiting Research Fellow at Sidney Sussex College Cambridge. Wuhan University of Technology elected me their Strategic Scientist in 2013. In 2016 I was the Cooper Distinguished Lecturer at the annual meeting of the American Ceramic Society.

My other interests include poetry and music, and with my wife I have also restored an Elizabethan Merchants house in Cheshire.

Research Groups

Research Interests

  • Physics and Chemistry of Complex Materials: My principal research relates to the physics and chemistry of complex materials – inorganic glasses, glass forming liquids and amorphising solids (Advances in Physics 56, 1, 2007). Earlier in my career I pioneered discovery of the electronic structure of amorphous semiconductors like arsenic (Advances in Physics 28, 49, 1979). With the advent of dedicated synchrotron radiation sources, I turned to metals and glasses, modelling the structure and dynamics (Nature, 293, 611 (1981), Nature, 294, 139 (1981), Nature 356, 504 (1992)) which led to the Modified Random Network model, now generally accepted as describing the nanostructure of most glasses. Often my research has been underpinned by instrument development, such as combining X-ray techniques, for instance, to follow in situ the operation of catalysts (Nature, 354, 465 (1991), Science, 265, 1675 (1994), Nature Materials 7, 827 (2008)), and also the amorphization of crystalline materials such as zeolites (Nature Materials 2, 622 (2003)). In the latter case this has led to the discovery of novel hybrid glasses (Nature Communications 6 8079 (2015)). In conjunction with the development of laser-heated aerodynamic levitation furnaces, high speed videoing and calorimetry, liquid-liquid transitions were identified for the first time (Science 322, 566 (2008)). Subsequently, using the ‘wobbling drop’ technique, thermo-physical properties, such as viscosity, have now been demonstrated at ultra-high temperatures, for example up for alumina up to its boiling point at 3300 K from the deeply super-cooled state (Review of Scientific Instruments 84, 124901 (2013), International Journal of Microgravity Scientific Applications 32, 320200 (2015)). Many of these discoveries are now providing surprisingly new insight into mechanical properties, such as Poisson’s ratio, of glasses quenched from super-cooled liquids (Nature Materials 10, 823 (2011), Notes and Records of the Royal Society 67, 37 (2012)). In parallel with this research, I have exploited novel inelastic neutron scattering methods to identify collective terahertz modes in precipitating zeolite collapse and also in characterizing the glassy state (Science 308, 1299 (2005)). Together with terahertz spectroscopy and atomistic modelling, in situ Neutron Compton Scattering is now being directed at tracing and understanding the mechanical toughness of bio-cements as they set (Nature Communications 6 8631 (2015)). With 331 papers published, 15 plenary/invited lectures have been presented in the last 3 years.


A metal-organic framework with ultrahigh glass-forming abilityQiao, A., Bennett, T. D., Tao, H., Krajnc, A., Mali, G., Doherty, C. M., Thornton, A. W., Mauro, J. C., Greaves, G. & Yue, Y. 2018 In : Science Advances.4, 3, eaao6827
Pt nanoparticles decorated rose-like Bi2O2CO3 configurations for efficient photocatalytic removal of water organic pollutantsChen, H., Zhou, Z., Greaves, G. N., Nigar, S., Cao, H., Zhao, T. & Lu, X. 2018 In : RSC Advances.8, p. 914-9207 p.
Percolation channels: a universal idea to describe the atomic structure and dynamics of glasses and meltsLe Losq, C., Neuville, D. R., Chen, W., Florian, P., Massiot, D., Zhou, Z. & Greaves, G. 2017 In : Scientific Reports.7, 16490
Periodic vs. molecular cluster approaches to resolving glass structure and properties: Anorthite a case studyTian, K. V., Mahmoud, M. Z., Cozza, P., Licoccia, S., Fang, D-C., Di Tommaso, D., Chass, G. A. & Greaves, G. N. 2016 In : Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids.451, p. 138-145
Melt-Quenched Glasses of Metal–Organic FrameworksBennett, T. D., Yue, Y., Li, P., Qiao, A., Tao, H., Greaves, N. G., Richards, T., Lampronti, G. I., Redfern, S. A. T., Blanc, F., Farha, O. K., Hupp, J. T., Cheetham, A. K. & Keen, D. A. 2016 In : Journal of the American Chemical Society.138, 10, p. 3484-3492
Atomic and vibrational origins of mechanical toughness in bioactive cement during settingTian, K. V., Yang, B., Yue, Y., Bowron, D. T., Mayers, J., Donnan, R. S., Dobó-nagy, C., Nicholson, J. W., Fang, D., Greer, A. L., Chass, G. A. & Greaves, G. N. 2015 In : Nature Communications.6, 8631
Hybrid glasses from strong and fragile metal-organic framework liquidsBennett, T. D., Tan, J., Yue, Y., Baxter, E., Ducati, C., Terrill, N. J., Yeung, H. H. -M., Zhou, Z., Chen, W., Henke, S., Cheetham, A. K. & Greaves, G. N. 2015 In : Nature Communications.6, 8079
Phase separation in an ionomer glass: Insight from calorimetry and phase transitionsPedersen, M. T., Tian, K. V., Dobó-Nagyb, C., Cass, G. A., Greaves, G. & Yue, Y. 2015 In : Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids.415, p. 24-29
Thermal collapse and hierarchy of polymorphs in a faujasite-type zeolite and its analogous melt-quenched glassPalenta, T., Fuhrmann, S., Greaves, G., Schwieger, W. & Wondraczek, L. 2015 In : Journal of Chemical Physics.142, 8, 084503
Full solar spectrum light driven thermocatalysis with extremely high efficiency on nanostructured Ce ion substituted OMS-2 catalyst for VOCs purificationHou, J., Li, Y., Mao, M., Yue, Y., Greaves, G. N. & Zhao, X. 2015 In : Nanoscale.7, 6, p. 2633-2640
Aerodynamic levitator furnace for measuring thermophysical properties of refractory liquidsLangstaff, D. P., Gunn, M. D., Greaves, G. N., Marsing, A. & Kargl, F. 2013 In : Review of Scientific Instruments.84, 12, 11 p., 124901
Poisson's ratio over two centuries: challenging hypothesesGreaves, G. N. 2013 In : Notes and Records of the Royal Society.67, 1, p. 37-58
Polyamorphism and Liquid–Liquid Phase Transitions in Amorphous Silicon and Supercooled Al2O3–Y2O3 LiquidsMcMillan, P. F., Greaves, G., Wilson, M., Wilding, M. & Daisenberger, D. 2013 Liquid Polymorphism. Stanley, H. E. (ed.). Wiley, p. 309-355 (Advances in Chemical Physics; vol. 152)
Using visualisation techniques and Molecular Dynamics to study atoms diffusing in glassFlikkema, E., Zhou, Z. & Greaves, N. 2011 Eurographics 2011 proceedings.Eurographics, p. 47-482 p.
Poisson’s ratio and modern materialsGreaves, G. N., Greer, A. L., Lakes, R. S. & Rouxel, T. 2011 In : Nature Materials.10, p. 823-83715 p.
Application of time resolved x-ray diffraction to study the solidification of glass-former melts.Hennet, L., Pozdnyakova, I., Bytchkov, A., Drewitt, J., Kozaily, J., Leydier, M., Brassamin, S., Zanghi, D., Fischer, H. E., Greaves, G. N. & Price, D. L. 2011 In : High Temperatures-High Pressures.40, 263, p. 263-2708 p.
Molecular Dynamics Study of Ion Diffusion in Glassy MaterialsFlikkema, E., Greaves, N. & Zhou, Z. 2011
Aerodynamic levitation and laser heating: Applications at synchrotron and neutron sourcesHennet, L., Cristiglio, V., Kozaily, J., Pozdnyakova, I., Fischer, H. E., Bytchkov, A., Drewitt, J. W. E., Leydier, M., Thiaudière, D., Gruner, S., Brassamin, S., Zanghi, D., Cuello, G. J., Koza, M., Magazù, S., Greaves, G. N. & Price, D. L. 2011 In : The European Physical Journal Special Topics.196, 1, p. 151-16515 p.
Polyamorphism and the universal liquid-liquid critical point in the supercooled stateGreaves, N. 2011 In : Diamond Light Source Proceedings.1, SRMS-7, p. 1-55 p., e121
Comment on "Liquid-Liquid Phase Transition in Supercooled Yttria-Alumina"Greaves, G. N., Wilding, M. C., Hennet, L., Langstaff, D., Kargl, F., Benmore, C. J. & Weber, J. K. R. 2011 In : Physical Review Letters.106, 11, 1 p., 119601
Composition and polyamorphism in supercooled yttria-alumina meltsGreaves, G. N., Wilding, M. C., Langstaff, D., Kargl, F., Hennet, L., Benmore, C. J., Weber, J. K. R., Van, Q. V., Majerus, O. & McMillan, P. F. 2011 In : Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids.357, 2, p. 435-4417 p.
Liquid-liquid transitions, crystallization and long range fluctuations in supercooled yttrium oxide-aluminium oxide meltsGreaves, G. N., Wilding, M. C., Fearn, S., Kargl, F., Hennet, L., Bras, W., Majerus, O. & Martin, C. M. 2009 In : Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids.355, 10-12, p. 715-7217 p.
Nanocrystal Growth in Cordierite Glass Ceramics Studied with X-ray ScatteringBras, W., Clark, S. M., Greaves, G. N., Kunz, M., van Beek, W. & Radmilovic, V. 2009 In : Crystal Growth and Design.9, 3, p. 1297-13059 p.
Characterising density fluctuations in liquid yttria aluminates with small angle x-ray scatteringGreaves, G. N., Wilding, M. C., Van, Q. V., Majérus, O. & Hennet, L. 2009 SYNCHROTRON RADIATION IN MATERIALS SCIENCE: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation in Materials Science. Magalhaes Paniago, R. (ed.). MELVILLE: AIP Publishing, Vol. 1092, p. 71-744 p. (AIP Conference Proceedings; vol. 1092)
Inelastic X-ray Scattering Studies of Zeolite AmorphisationGreaves, G. N., Kargl, F., Ward, D., Holliman, P. & Meneau, F. 2009 AIP Conf. Proc. 1092. Magalhaes-Paniago, R. (ed.). AIP Publishing, p. 51-544 p.
Structure factor changes in supercooled yttria-aluminaWilding, M. C., Greaves, G. N., Van, Q. V., Majérus, O. & Hennet, L. 2009 SYNCHROTRON RADIATION IN MATERIALS SCIENCE: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation in Materials Science. Paniago, R. M. (ed.). MELVILLE: AIP Publishing, Vol. 1092, p. 98-1014 p. (AIP Conference Proceedings; vol. 1092)
In situ structural studies of alumina during melting and freezingGreaves, G. N., Wilding, M. C., Fearn, S., Langstaff, D., Kargl, F., Van, Q. V., Hennet, L., Pozdnyakova, I., Majérus, O., Cernik, R. J. & Martin, C. 2008 In : Advances in Synchrotron Radiation.1, 2, p. 135-14915 p.
Two million hours of scienceGreaves, G. N., Catlow, C. R. A., Derbyshire, G. E., McMahon, M. I., Nelmes, R. J. & Van der Lann, G. 2008 In : Nature Materials.7, p. 827-8304 p.
Detection of first-order liquid/liquid phase transitions in yttrium oxide-aluminium oxide meltsGreaves, G. N., Wilding, M. C., Fearn, S., Langstaff, D., Kargl, F., Cox, S., Van, Q. V., Majérus, O., Benmore, C. J., Weber, R., Martin, C. M. & Hennet, L. 2008 In : Science.322, 5901, p. 566-5705 p.
Liquids, Glasses, Density Fluctuations and Low Frequency ModesGreaves, G. N., Wilding, M. C., Kargl, F., Hennet, L. & Majerus, O. 2008 In : Advanced Materials Research.39-40, 3, p. 3-1210 p.
Melting and AmorphisationGreaves, G. N. 2007 Turning Points in Solid-State, Materials and Surface Science: A Book in Celebration of the Life and Work of Sir John Meurig Thomas. Harris, K. D. M. & Edwards, P. P. (eds.). Royal Society of Chemistry, p. 166-18015 p.
Polyamorphism and liquid–liquid phase transitions: challenges for experiment and theoryMcMillan, P. F., Wilson, M., Wilding, M. C., Daisenberger, D., Mezouar, M. & Greaves, N. 2007 In : Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter.19, 41, 41 p., 415101
Inorganic glasses, glass-forming liquids and amorphizing solidsGreaves, G. & Sen, S. 2007 In : Advances in Physics.56, 1, p. 1-166166 p.
Structure of molten yttrium aluminates: a neutron diffraction studyCristiglio, V., Hennet, L., Cuello, G. J., Pozdnyakova, I., Johnson, M. R., Fischer, H. E., Zanghi, D., Van, Q. V., Wilding, M. C., Greaves, N. & Price, D. L. 2007 In : Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter.19, 41, p. 1-1111 p.
Identifying vibrations that destabilize crystals and characterize the glassy stateGreaves, G., Meneau, F., Majerus, O. & Jones, D. G. 2005 In : Science.308, 5726, p. 1299-13024 p.
Na-23, Si-29, and C-13 MAS NMR investigation of glass-forming reactions between Na2CO3 and SiO2Winter, R., Smith, I. H., Jones, A. R. & Greaves, G. N. 2005 In : Journal of Physical Chemistry B.109, 49, p. 23154-231618 p.
The rheology of collapsing zeolites amorphized by temperature and pressureGreaves, G., Meneau, F., ap Gwynn, I. A. & Wade, S. 2003 In : Nature Materials.2, p. 622-6298 p.
Liquid alumina: detailed atomic coordination determined from neutron diffraction data using empirical potential structure refinementLandron, C., Hennet, L., Jenkins, T. E., Greaves, G., Coutures, J. P. & Soper, A. K. 2001 In : Physical Review Letters.86, p. 4839-48424 p.