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Vanessa Peterson

Professor Vanessa Peterson

Senior Principal Research and Neutron Scattering Instrument Scientist

Role at ANSTO

Leader, Energy Materials Research Project
Neutron Instrument Scientist, Powder Diffraction (Wombat and Echidna instruments)
Honorary Professorial Fellow, Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials, University of Wollongong


  • Expertise in understanding materials function by relating atomic-scale structure and dynamics to material properties.
  • Structure/dynamics-property characterization using neutron and X-ray scattering including synchrotron/laboratory X-ray and neutron powder diffraction, Rietveld analysis, quasielastic neutron and inelastic scattering, as well as computational modelling methods.
  • Condensed matter materials of interest include porous coordination framework materials, energy-industry relevant materials such as batteries, gas-separation and storage materials, and fuel-cells, as well as cement.

See Publications:


  • Australian Neutron Beam Users Group neutron award for "Outstanding research in neutron science and leadership promoting the Australian neutron scattering community (> 10 years post PhD) (2019) 
  • Sandy Mathieson Medal for "Distinguished contributions to science involving X-ray, neutron, or electron diffraction and/or imaging" (2017)
  • AIP NSW Young Tall Poppy Award (2013)
  • Eureka People's Choice Awards Finalist (2011)
  • Brunauer award from the Cements Division of the American Ceramic Society for best cement publication (2005)
  • Young Scientist's Award at the International Conference on Neutron Scattering in Munich, Germany (2001)
  • Australian X-ray Analytical Association’s Bob Cheary Award for Excellence in Diffraction Analysis for “Significant long-term contributions to diffraction analysis” (2020)

Academic and Employment

  • Senior Principal Research and Neutron Instrument Scientist, Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering (2018)
  • Honorary Professorial Fellow, Institute for Superconducting & Electronic Materials, Uni. of Wollongong (2016)
  • Principal Research and Neutron Instrument Scientist, Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering (2010)
  • Neutron Instrument Scientist, The Bragg Institute, ANSTO (2007)
  • Research Associate, School of Chemistry, The University of Sydney (2006)
  • Research Associate, University of Maryland, working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research, USA. (2004)
  • Assistant Researcher, School of Chemistry, Materials, and Forensic Science, University of Technology, Sydney (2003)
  • PhD (Awarded May 2004) UTS and Neutron Scattering Group, ANSTO. “Diffraction investigations of cement clinker and tricalcium silicate using Rietveld analysis”.
  • Research Officer: UNASCO: Engineers in High Technology Polymers. (2000) 
  • B. App. Sc. (First Class Honours – Chemistry, 1999), University of Technology, Sydney. “Effect of zeolite addition on Cs+ and Sr2+ diffusivity through cement paste”.
  • Honours Research, Materials Division and Accelerator groups, ANSTO. (1998)
  • Research Officer, Advanced Materials, ANSTO: Sol-gel encapsulation of enzymes. (1997)
  • Research Officer, Sustainable Technologies Australia: Titanate-based photovoltaic cells (1997)