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Professor Vanessa Peterson

Professor 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


  • Functional materials characterisation, specialising in real-time methods
  • Understanding materials function by relating atomic-scale structure and dynamics to material properties.
  • Structure/dynamics-property characterisation using neutron and X-ray scattering, as well as computational modelling methods.
  • Functional energy materials specialist including battery, fuel cell, and porous framework materials for the storage and separation of energy relevant gases including hydrogen and carbon dioxide
  • 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 X-ray Analytical Association’s Bob Cheary Award for Excellence in Diffraction Analysis for “Significant long-term contributions to diffraction analysis” (2020) (first woman awarded)
  • 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) (First woman awarded)
  • Sandy Mathieson Medal for "Distinguished contributions to science involving X-ray, neutron, or electron diffraction and/or imaging" (2017) (First woman awarded)
  • 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)

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)


Committees, Affiliations & memberships

  • 2022-2026  Editorial Advisory Board, Batteries & Supercaps (Chemistry Europe journal by Wiley-VCH7.09)
  • 2021-2023  International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry “Recommendations for terms relating to materials characterization: Latin and other introduced terms “ Task Group Chair
  • 2021+       Assessor, College of Assessors of the New Zealand Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment
  • 2020+       Assessor, UK Research and Innovation Grant Assessment
  • 2020         Invited Editor, In situ & operando methods for electrochemical energy storage and conversion, Batteries and Supercaps
  • 2020+       Editorial Board, Discover Materials, Springer.
  • 2020+       Neutron Advisory Board, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • 2018-2022            Director-at-Large International Centre for Diffraction Data (USA)
  • 2018+       Review Editor in Energy Materials, Frontiers in Materials.
  • 2017+       Core member of the International Union of Crystallography Commission on Neutron Scattering (formal adviser to the United Nations)
  • 2010+          Co-regional Chair Indian-Rim Region, International Centre for Diffraction Data
  • 2007+       Beamtime Reviewer: Spallation Neutron Source (SNS, USA, 2011), Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-Parc, Japan, 2010), Advanced Photon Source (APS, USA, 2011), Australian Synchrotron (Australia, 2007), Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering (ACNS, Australia, 2007)
  • 2006+          Manuscript Reviewer for many high-impact journals including Nature, Nature Materials, Energy and Environmental Science, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie.
  • 2020-2014   Vice President, Australian X-ray Analytical Association
  • 2018-2016   Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) program (ANSTO) core team and task leader
  • 2018-2015   Review Editor in Hydrogen Storage and Production, Frontiers in Energy Research
  • 2018-2012   Proposal Eval. & Energy & High Pressure Sub-Comm. Member, Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-Parc)
  • 2016-2013   Executive Committee, ANSTO Gender Equity Program
  • 2016-2011   Director-at-Large, International Centre for Diffraction Data (USA)
  • 2015            Nuclear Science and Technology Working Group for major ANSTO research restructure
  • 2014            Invited Editor, In‐situ and operando characterization of materials, Journal of Materials Research
  • 2014-2008   President, Australian X-ray Analytical Association
  • 2008-2007   Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering Instrument Advisory Teams: Backscattering spectrometer (2008), time of flight neutron polarization analysis spectrometer (2007), filter-analyzer neutron spectrometer (2007).


  • Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC, 2021+)
  • Fellow, Royal Australian Chemical Institute (FRACI CChem, 2021+)
  • Fellow, International Centre for Diffraction Data (ICDD, 2011)
  • Australian X-ray Analytical Association (AXAA)
  • Society of Crystallographers in Australia and New Zealand (SCANZ)
  • Materials Research Society (MRS)
  • American Ceramic Society (ACerS)
  • Australian Neutron Beam Users Group (ANBUG)
  • Asia-Oceana Neutron Scattering Association (AONSA)