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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T011130/1
Title: Next Generation Advanced Materials - Structure-Property Relationships
Principal Investigator: Gibbs, Dr A
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
ISIS Max Planck Institutes Pyreos
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of St Andrews
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 30 July 2020 Ends: 29 July 2025 Value (£): 1,196,714
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Condensed Matter Physics Magnetism/Magnetic Phenomena
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
22 Jan 2020 EPSRC Physical Sciences - January 2020 Announced
26 Feb 2020 EPSRC Physical Sciences Fellowship Interview Panel 26 and 27 February 2020 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This fellowship is situated at the interdisciplinary boundary of chemistry, physics and crystallography and will deliver transformative insights into the crystal structure-functional property relationships in next-generation advanced materials.

Advanced functional and quantum materials are an exciting frontier in current research. They are widely studied due to the intriguing properties they host such as ferroelectricity, multiferroicity, quantum magnetism and spin liquid phases. A number of them form a major part of our daily technology, ubiquitous in applications as wide ranging as touchscreens, loudspeakers in smartphones and sensors in medical ultrasound devices.

At the cutting edge of materials discovery, compounds are becoming ever more complex in structure, with new mechanisms driving their properties. To enable further targeted development and rational design, it is paramount to understand the microscopic structure-property relationships in these current materials in order to develop design pathways for the next generation of advanced materials. However, these complex materials pose two key challenges to traditional approaches to studying these - complexity and sensitivity. Their complexity makes it difficult to deduce the crystal structure with the required accuracy, even with advanced synchrotron, electron and neutron based techniques. The sensitivity of the properties to subtle details of the crystal structure as a function of e.g. chemical composition, temperature and magnetic field makes it extremely hard to correlate the (traditionally separate) determinations of structure and physical properties.

Through this fellowship I will apply a transformative cross-disciplinary approach to tackle these problems, combining (i) state-of-the art neutron diffraction, (ii) targeted materials synthesis, (iii) unique in-situ physical property measurements and (iv) isotopic enrichment to unravel the highly non-trivial structure-property relationships in advanced materials.

My expertise in chemistry, physics and crystallography, along with access to state-of-the-art facilities and collaborations with world-leading groups will drive this interdisciplinary research programme which will provide the foundations for tailored rational design of novel advanced materials.

The focus is on two key scientific themes. The first is the exploration and discovery of crystal structure-physical property relationships in a new generation of complex ferroelectrics and multiferroics. These have wide-ranging potential applications from specialised sensors and actuators in automotive and aerospace applications to affordable, sustainable mass-market devices for consumer technology. The second research theme will concentrate on materials in which atomic-level quantum phenomena coupled with unique structural motifs give rise to novel emergent quantum phases. These include complex quantum magnetism in non-centrosymmetric materials and elusive quantum spin liquid phases.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.st-and.ac.uk