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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P020534/1
Title: Advanced Inorganic Functional Materials: Floating Zone Crystal Growth System
Principal Investigator: Evans, Professor IR
Other Investigators:
Metcalfe, Professor IS West, Professor AR Johnston, Dr KE
Halliday, Dr DP Rosseinsky, Professor M Sinclair, Professor D
Lancaster, Professor T Cavill, Dr SA Evans, Professor JSO
Hussey, Professor P Cernik, Professor R Bell, Professor AJ
Hatton, Professor PD Alaria, Dr J Claridge, Dr JB
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Compound Photonics (UK) Ltd Kromek
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Durham, University of
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 15 April 2017 Ends: 14 April 2021 Value (£): 401,688
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
R&D
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
05 Dec 2016 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interviews Dec 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The development of new inorganic functional materials, needed for a range of applications, requires the understanding of structures and physical properties of the candidate phases.

On the structural side, high-quality large (cm-sized) single crystals are the best samples on which to solve and refine structures of such materials. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, single crystal diffraction has the advantage over powder diffraction in that the intensities of individual Bragg reflections can be measured reliably, whereas the latter suffers from peak overlap. Secondly, neutron diffraction is the method of choice for structure determination of functional materials in which the X-ray scattering is dominated by heavier cations and key information (atomic positions, occupancies, thermal displacement parameters) about the anions cannot be determined reliably. In addition, neutron diffraction can also probe long-range magnetic order. Large single crystals are needed due to the weaker interaction of matter with neutrons relative to X-rays.

For physical property measurements, large single crystals offer several advantages compared to working with powdered samples. For example, crystals can be oriented with respect to experimental probes in order to investigate the directionality and anisotropy of physical properties such as electrical or magnetic responses. In addition, property measurements on polycrystalline powered materials often suffer from grain boundary effects, which cannot always be separated from the response of the bulk of the material.

In this project we will establish a floating zone crystal growth system to produce high-quality samples of a range of important inorganic materials. These include materials for energy applications (fuel cells, photovoltaics, thermoelectrics) and those where electronic or magnetic ordering leads directly to exploitable properties such as piezoelectricity, sensing, under-water and medical imaging, gas separation, memristor and multiferroic memory applications. The information we gain on the structures and physical properties will help the exploitations of these compounds and give us the insight needed to design new generation of improved functional materials.

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