Materials Chemistry

The EaStCHEM Materials Chemistry group is one the largest materials and macromolecular chemistry groups in the UK. Areas of strength include the design, synthesis and characterisation of functional polymers, microarray technologies and macrostructures, and of strongly correlated electronic materials, battery and fuel cell materials and devices, porous solids, materials at extreme pressures and temperatures. The group also works on technique development for materials and nanomaterials analysis.

The membership of the materials chemistry theme includes a wide range of expertise with particular emphasis on energy materials including:

  • battery and fuel cell materials and devices (Irvine, Baker),
  • polymer synthesis and characterisation (Shaver, McKeown, Nudelman),
  • porous solids for catalysis, gas storage and medicine (McKeown, Morris, Wright),
  • the study and characterisation of functional biominerals and biomaterials (Nudelman),
  • the synthesis and characterisation of electronic and solar materials (Attfield, Lightfoot, FMorrison, de Vries, Robertson, Zysman-Colman),
  • the study of materials at extreme pressures and temperatures (Moggach, Parsons, Pulham)
  • advanced characterisation (Nudelman, Ashbrook, Zhou).

The strength of the materials chemistry theme has been recently enhanced through targeted investment in infrastructure and facilities for the development of new functional materials of relevance to industry. The impact of this group includes two recent new start-up companies and significant impact on energy technologies and policy. The theme includes research infrastructure that is unique in the UK, such as the Centre for Science under Extreme Conditions (CSEC) that allows the study of fundamental chemistry under conditions of extreme temperature, pressure and radiation.

Research Highlights since 2008

Selected highlights include the development of reversible and higher-rate lithium-air battery technology (Bruce, Science 2012), which offers a step change in the energy capacity of Li-batteries. Attfield (Nature 2012) provided fundamental evidence for charge order and distortions that have major implications for the properties of metal oxides. Unusual chemistries of porous metal-organic frameworks have been developed to provide ultra-selective adsorption properties of toxic gases (Morris and Zhou, Nature Chem. 2009), and Irvine (Nature Mater. 2012) has developed metal oxide chemistry to produce efficient photocatalysts.