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Materials and Chemistry

Energy-related research in Materials and Chemistry is key focus area in Cambridge and includes work focused on the fundamental synthesis, physics and chemistry of materials, through to the processing of the materials and production of devices.  The Departments of Chemistry, Physics, Engineering and Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology and Materials Science and Metallurgy are particularly active in this area.  Focus areas include:

  • Functional materials, including low cost nanostructured solar cells and light emitting devices and graphene for energy harvesting, conversion, electricity storage and transport
  • Catalysis for fuel cells and sustainable chemical processes
  • Sustainable chemistry, including the efficient use of resources and the development of new catalytic chemical reactions and products for sustainable applications.

The £20 million donation by Mr. David Harding to establish the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability, launched in 2011, will support research programmes that explore basic science which can generate the new technologies and new industries that will be needed to meet the demands of a growing population on our already strained natural resources. The programme will provide studentships, research fellowships, and support for new academic staff as well as investment in research infrastructure of the highest level, pump-priming for novel research projects, support for collaborations within the University and outside. There will be a strong emphasis upon fundamental research that will have importance for the sustainability agenda in the long-term.

Please visit individual faculty profiles to learn more about their research in the Materials and Chemistry theme. The can be contacted to discuss university-wide initiatives and opportunities.

People specializing in this area

Principal Investigators

Professor Chris Abell

The use of fragment based methods to make enzyme activators.

Professor Abir Al-Tabbaa
  • Synthesis of low energy, low carbon sustainable materials for civil and environmental engineering applications
  • Synthesis of biomimetic materials for civil and environmental engineering applications
  • Self-repair materials
  • Engineered barriers and novel immobilisation materials for containment of radioactive waste
Professor Daping Chu

Materials knowledge and thin film process relevant to solar control and photovoltaics and more generally to technical needs

Dr Rachel Evans

Design of functional soft materials (e.g. polymers, surfactants, colloids/nanoparticles, organic-inorganic hybrids) which absorb, produce or respond to light.

Professor Ian Farnan
Physics and chemistry of actinide materials
Dr Adrian Fisher

The group has interests in the development of new materials for photolithography and the microfabrication industry.

Dr. Andrew Flewitt
  • Large area electronics
  • Thin film silicon materials
  • Metal oxide materials
  • Semiconducting nanowires
Professor Derek Fray, FRS, FREng

Looking at novel methods of materials synthesis either reduce the impact on the environment or to make make materials with improved properties.

Professor Bartlomiej Andrzej Glowacki

Optimisation of the electromagnetic assisted processing of materials

Professor Jonathan Goodman

Computational Chemistry

Molecular Information

Dr. David Jefferson

Structural studies of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles, using X-ray diffraction and high resolution electron microscopy.  Applications in heterogeneous catalysis

Professor Bill Milne

Amorphous silicon

Metal oxides

Dr. Howard Stone
Combined experimental and computer-aided design of high performance alloys.
Characterising phase equilibria in alloy systems.
Professor David Wales

Exploration of potential energy surfaces using novel simulation techniques, especially global optimisation and rare events

Applications to thermodynamics and kinetics, including reaction pathways and mechanistic predictions