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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T027991/1
Title: Exploiting the anion Chemistry of solids for Future Advanced Functional Materials: Core-to-Core Project on Mixed Anion Research for Energy Conversion
Principal Investigator: Clarke, Professor SJ
Other Investigators:
Hayward, Professor M Boothroyd, Professor A McGrady, Professor J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Oxford Chemistry
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 October 2020 Ends: 30 September 2025 Value (£): 1,023,098
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Solid state compounds form the basis of many key technologies. Many of these are crystalline oxides, similar in concept to the major minerals of the earth, but with compositions chosen by chemists and physicists to dictate features of their crystal structures and electronic or magnetic properties which result in technological importance. E.g. redox-active oxides with mobile Li ions are key to modern battery technologies for mobile communications, oxide ion conductors are important in fuel cell technologies, and high-temperature superconducting copper oxides are being explored for use in MRI magnet systems. Oxides form readily in an oxygen-rich environment, but a whole range of other solid state compounds containing other anions such as sulfide, nitride, chloride, fluoride, phosphide and hydride have promising chemical and physical properties for applications ranging from catalytic materials for important chemical processes to compounds with electronic and magnetic properties complementary to those of oxides. This proposed research and consortium-building project is geared towards the discovery of new multi-anion solids: compounds containing one or more of the metallic elements of the periodic table in combination with two or more anion-forming elements. Examples are oxide sulfides, oxide fluorides and oxide hydrides, and the groups in Oxford Chemistry are world-leading in the synthesis of these solids, and in providing computational analysis to underpin these investigations; the groups in Oxford Physics are expert in the physical characterisation of these compounds using a range of techniques, particularly at the UK's flagship ISIS and Diamond facilities for neutron, muon and X-ray research. The Japanese researchers, led by Kyoto, and the French groups are expert in using complementary techniques for the chemical synthesis of these compounds, including high pressure synthesis. The research will exploit the synergies between groups to discover new compositions of matter and characterise their crystal structures and physical and chemical properties to assess them as possible technological materials for diverse energy conversion applications. The structural complexity of these new compounds, which is often of decisive importance in their exploitation as real-world functional materials requires a wide range of tools for characterisation, and the unrivalled expertise of the Antwerp group in the use of electron microscopy together with the access to Diamond, ESRF, ILL and ISIS will be a key component of the research, feeding in to the synthetic chemistry in Oxford, Japan and France. The work will also be underpinned by computational expertise.

A key part of this project, enabling and strengthening the laboratory research, is networking and consortium building. A large number of Japan-, UK-, France-, Belgium-, and China-based researchers are participating in this project and will participate in exchange visits between laboratories to gain experience in new techniques and to share and transfer knowledge and expertise. There will also be annual all-hands workshops for the consortium members to discuss progress of the research and to plan new research directions and to enable the critical mass of the consortium to best exploit new research opportunities. As part of this activity the researchers at all levels will host and participate in summer schools and the senior members of the team will take part in lecture tours with a view to exploiting synergies with other groups worldwide as well as within the consortium. A key part of the activity will be publication of the results in leading international journals and presenting the work at major international conferences. This activity will further promote the work of the consortium on the global stage and will lead to further research activities, including new research collaborations to create new research directions during and beyond the course of this proposal.

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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk