Philip Lightfoot


  • KY16 9ST

    United Kingdom

Personal profile

Research overview

My research focuses on the structural solid state chemistry of inorganic materials, in particular the understanding of the structure-composition-property relationships in these materials. Wide use is made of diffraction methods, which regularly involves visits to central facilities outside St Andrews ; eg synchrotron sources and neutron sources at Diamond and ISIS, Oxford. My group design and synthesise new compounds which are of interest for a variety of applications. We also delve deeper into the understanding of  well-established functional materials, in order to predict new improvements to them, through chemistry. Current interests focus on ferroelectric, magnetic and multiferroic (ie simultaneously electrically and magnetically active) materials, including both  inorganic oxides, fluorides and hybrid inorganic-organic analogues.

Research overview

For further information see our Group website

Industrial relevance

ferroelectrics, superconductors, low thermal expansion ceramics, batteries, fuel cells, sensors, heterogeneous catalysis, powder diffraction methods.

Academic/Professional Qualification

B.A, Chemistry, University of Oxford; D.Phil., Chemistry, University of Oxford; Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry


Professor Lightfoot studied for an MA at Oxford University, followed by a D.Phil (Oxford) under the supervision of Prof Tony Cheetham. After short post-doctoral periods at Leeds and Argonne (USA) hejoined the School in 1990, first as a Post-doctoral Fellow (with Peter Bruce) and subsequently Lecturer (1994), Reader (2000) and Professor (2009).

Profile Keywords

Inorganic and hybrid solids; ferroic materials; crystallography and structure-property relationships

Teaching activity

Professor Lightfoot is currently Director of Teaching in the School of Chemistry and oversees all aspects of the School's undergraduate teaching and degree courses. He also teaches inorganic chemistry and related fields at all levels, for example Solid State Chemistry in CH2501, Blockbuster Solids in CH5518 and Crystallography in the CH4431 research Skills Lab.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy


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