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Fellows Directory

Gerhard Materlik

Gerhard Materlik

Credit: Diamond Light Source Ltd

Professor Gerhard Materlik CBE FRS


Elected: 2011


Gerhard Materlik is a German physicist who has made significant contributions to X-ray physics, notably improvements in the real-world application of synchrotron radiation. This is a powerful source of electromagnetic radiation emitted from relativistic electrons used to magnify the structure of objects small and large — from new drug molecules to jet engines.

From 2001–2013, he was Chief Executive of the Diamond Light Source, the United Kingdom’s synchrotron facility. He was the leader of the team that constructed the accelerators, which speed up electrons to near the speed of light, and also the instrumentation installed to apply this radiation in experiments covering a spectral range from infrared radiation up to X-rays.

Gerhard’s discoveries have become widely used experimental methods. He has published more than 200 papers and been crucial in the development of synchrotron sources worldwide. In 2007, he was awarded a CBE and became a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and in 2011 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society. Furthermore, in 2014 he was awarded the Glazebrook Medal.

Professional positions

Emeritus Professor of Physics, London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London (UCL)
Former Chief Executive , Diamond Light Source Ltd, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Engineering
    • Instrumentation, Materials science (incl materials engineering)
  • Astronomy and physics
    • Crystallography


Surface and Interface physics, Synchrotron radiation, Anomalous scattering, X-ray imaging methods, Free Electron Laser, Particle accelerators

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