Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies

Scientists and engineers working together for a sustainable future

Tagged: Adam Jackson

6th European Kesterite Workshop

  , , , , ,

📥  Seminars & Conferences

This post is contributed by Mako Ng.

A trio of CSCT students (Adam Jackson, Suzy Wallace and I) attended the 6th European Kesterite Workshop at Northumbria University, Newcastle.

A little bit of background about us; all three of us are working with an earth-abundant, non-toxic photovoltaic material called kesterite, which is made from copper, zinc, tin and sulphur. Adam also attended the workshop two years ago in Berlin.

There was a student workshop the day before the actual conference, where more experienced students in this field, including Adam, gave talks on their work. They also offered help and gave feedback on experimental results other students brought, which I found very useful.

Adam sharing his experience on CZTS

Adam sharing his experience on CZTS

The first day of the conference was packed with talks, from device performance and material properties, to structural properties, defects, ordering-disordering phenomena, and finally device architecture and interfaces. Since all the talks were about kesterite and very relevant to all, the concentration required resulted into coffee running out very quickly during breaks. The majority of speakers were from IREC and HZB, who hosted the workshop in 2011 and 2013 respectively. They are also the key players in this field in Europe.

There was a poster session before the conference dinner. Suzy's poster, which was about using computational chemistry to calculate disorder and inhomogneity in kesterite solar cell, had attracted a lot of attention.


Poster session

The second day started with a technical problem (something that happens in a lot of conferences!). The good thing about that was, the organiser then combined two parallel discussion groups together. Being in the discussion group was like watching season 5 of a TV series before watching the previous seasons! VOC deficit is still a major issue of this material, and unfortunately, no one is able to solve this problem just yet. We also pointed out the band gap varies with different measuring techniques, which made direct comparison between different devices impossible.

Before I could head back to my lab to try out all those new ideas from this conference, I went to another conference in the United States. Watch this space for another blog from me soon!

Mako is working towards his PhD on "Solution-processed solar cells from earth-abundant elements" with Professor Mark Weller, Dr Aron Walsh and Dr Philip Shields.


Conference report: RSC Solid State Group Easter Meeting 2014

  , , , , , , , , ,

📥  Seminars & Conferences

The RSC Solid State Group Easter Meeting was organised by Professor Aron Walsh (University of Bath) and Dr David Scanlon (UCL) and was held at the Kavli Royal Society International Centre in Chicheley between 14-16 April 2014. This post was contributed by 2nd-year research student Jessica Bristow.

The meeting was attended by both staff and students researching solid-state materials for energy generation, storage and conversion. Over three days multiple topics were addressed including: catalysis, battery technology, photovoltaics, fuel cells and photocatalysis.

One particular personal highlight was the talk by Professor Richard Catlow of UCL who gave a general overview of progress made in the area of solid-state modelling and catalysis. He highlighted the importance of not just trusting published data and that all available computational techniques should be used in cooperatively finding a solution, rather than trusting an individual method.

The meeting also included three excellent talks from Steven Wood, Adam Jackson and Mako Ng, studying in the DTC for Sustainable Chemical Technologies.

Steven spoke about potential materials for sodium ion batteries as an alternative to the current lithium ion batteries. Steven employs molecular mechanics as a means to theoretically predict material properties for a given application.

Adam and Mako both spoke about CZTS, a material composed of copper, zinc, tin and sulphur. CZTS is a popular future photovoltaic material with the potential to be a more sustainable choice for devices to capture the suns energy and convert this to electricity. Adam gave an overview of calculations he has conducted on CZTS, while Mako presented his experimental work synthesising large crystals of the material.

RSC SSG Easter Meeting 2014
  • Steven Wood is supervised by Professor Saiful Islam (Chemistry) and co-supervised by Dr Tim Mays (Chemical Engineering);
  • Adam Jackson is supervised by Professor Aron Walsh (Chemistry) and co-supervised by Professor Laurie Peter (Chemistry) and Dr Darrell Patterson (Chemical Engineering);
  • Mako Ng is supervised by Professor Mark Weller and co-supervised by Professor Aron Walsh and Dr Philip Shields (Electrical & Electronic Engineering);
  • Jessica Bristow is supervised by Professor Aron Walsh and co-supervised by Dr Valeska Ting (Chemical Engineering).


Conference report: RSC Solid State Group Christmas Meeting 2013

  , , , , , , ,

📥  Seminars & Conferences

The RSC Solid State Group Christmas Meeting is an annual event which aims to bring together UK researchers from topics across issues relating to solid state materials. Of particular relevance to the DTC is the strong energy contingent of this research, including solar cells, batteries, thermoelectrics and solid oxide fuel cells. The 2013 meeting took place at the University of Bath and several DTC students (including Stephen Wood, Adam Jackson and Jess Bristow) attended.

On 18–19 December the University of Bath played host to the 33rd annual Christmas Meeting of the Royal Society of Chemistry Solid State Chemistry Group. Chaired this year by Professor Mark Weller and organised by a cohort of Bath academics and students, the meeting is traditionally very open and relaxed with a significant student contribution. The meeting also aimed to showcase the breadth and depth of the world class solid state research being conducted across the UK and includes topics covering energy materials, catalysis and solid state synthesis. Being located in Bath this year there was a strong DTC presence, including students supervised by Professors Islam, Walsh and Parker. Also in attendance were representatives from SHARP, one of our industrial partners.

On view was the significant UK contribution to both experimental and computational research of solid state systems. This was typified by the three excellent plenary speakers who covered topics ranging from multiscale modelling of solid oxide fuel cell materials (Professor Graeme Watson, Dublin) through experimental studies of lithium ion batteries (Professor Christian Masquelier, Picardie, France) to unusual phenomena of oxygen in oxide materials (Professor Tony West, Sheffield).

The University of Bath was represented in oral presentations by John Clark (PhD student in Professor Islam’s battery group) who gave a well-received overview of the computational modelling of Li-ion batteries and their application to energy storage. The oral presentations were particularly appropriate to DTC students working in energy materials fields including a selection of talks on thermoelectrics, solid oxide fuel cells and batteries. Solar cell research on the other hand made a significant showing in the poster session meaning there was something for all the DTC students who attended.

Overall the meeting provided an excellent venue for DTC students to discuss current work in solid state research with over 150 researchers from across the UK and beyond. This was particularly useful for students working in energy materials fields. It also allowed several DTC students to get involved with the organisation and running of a conference; a valuable piece of experience for future endeavours.

The RSC Solid State Group Easter Meeting is coming up on 14–16 April.


Conference report: the 4th European Kesterite Workshop

  , , ,

📥  Seminars & Conferences

The European Kesterite workshops is a fairly young and rapidly-growing event series. Kesterite solar cells with the formula Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 are a long-term candidate for terawatt "country-scale" solar generation. Third-year DTC student Adam Jackson attended this year's meeting to support his PhD project and share some early results.


BESSY II synchrotron building, Aldershof (photo by duesentrieb via Flickr)

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin took their turn in hosting the event at Adlershof on the same site as the BESSY II synchrotron. The meeting was a rare opportunity as a student to hear about the day-to-day challenges of producing samples; not all "common knowledge" is publishable! In general this was a "no cameras" event, offering a preview of the next few months' research papers. While the great advantage of kesterite solar cells is that nominally they are expected to be very cheap, at this stage the material is proving extremely difficult to produce consistently at high quality.

Even with numbers restricted to "active" participants, there were around 80 delegates and a new pre-workshop was introduced this year for PhD students. This gave the 40 students a chance to have some structured discussion; I was also invited to give a talk on this day. Although I was the only computational chemist in the room, this was a very friendly audience and a few useful ideas emerged from the discussion.

All in all, the workshop was a valuable experience; as well as providing useful information, such events are a good way into the international research community. It exposed me to some frank context and personalities that are hard to glean purely from reading the literature.

Conference report: 11th International Conference on Materials Chemistry

  , , , , , , , ,

📥  Seminars & Conferences

University of Warwick

University of Warwick

MC11 (the 11th International Conference on Materials Chemistry) was held by the Royal Society of Chemistry at the University of Warwick from July 8-11th. Given a reasonably local and affordable opportunity to attend a fully-fledged international conference, four DTC students with an interest in materials went to Coventry.

This post was contributed by second-year research student Adam Jackson.

Eight plenary talks across the four days did well to bring people together, but the star power was really unloaded on the first day, with two Nobel laureates (Dan Schechtman and Sir Harry Kroto). While there was a little indulgence in past success, most of the conference focused on developing technologies: new porous materials, molecular-scale devices and thin functional films.

I noticed a widespread drive to eliminate Indium Tin Oxide (ITO), a transparent conductor widely used in electronics and photovoltaics. This is largely on sustainability grounds, and supply shortages are expected in the near future. My engineering interest was also somewhat satisfied to see considerable interest in fabrication technologies. My colleagues had their own highlights:

I enjoyed Andy Cooper's lecture on covalent organic frameworks (COFs) and how to predict their properties. This in my opinion was the best talk; it was realistic in understanding the barriers and complications with the material, but also an informative presentation on the potential they have to be useful future materials.
— Jess Bristow, 1st-year DTC student

The most interesting talk from my perspective was a keynote lecture from Dr. Thomas E Albrecht-Schmitt from Florida State University. He presented remarkable work on several unstable elements of the actinide series of the periodic table. Not only did his research reveal 'unusual structures and unprecedented properties' but his observations will better allow for the safe storage of vitrified nuclear waste deep underground.
— Lee Burton, 3rd-year DTC student

I personally think the Harold Kroto lecture was the highlight for me; as my work involves fullerenes, it was really interesting to see the history and to hear the story of them in space. [After a period of skepticism, there is now strong evidence for the existence of fullerenes in interstellar clouds]. Added to that, I met some great people at Warwick and am now looking to extend this into a short collaboration with a group at the University of Warwick.
— Ben Hodges, 3rd-year DTC student

The University of Warwick's conference facilities were outstanding, with the four parallel sessions all held within a pleasant Arts Centre. Many productive discussions were also to be found in the campus's excellent tea shop.


Joint symposium with materials chemists in South Korea

  , , , ,

📥  Internships & visits

Yonsei University, Seoul

Deoksugung Palace, Seoul

Whorrod Research Fellow Dr Aron Walsh travelled to Seoul to sign a new Memorandum of Understanding between the CSCT and the global E3 institute at Yonsei University, visiting from Saturday 8 to Friday 14 June 2013. 2nd-year DTC student Adam Jackson accompanied him to take part in a student-run symposium with the research group of Professor Aloysius Soon.

This post was contributed by Adam Jackson.

We joined Prof. Aloysius Soon's Materials Theory Group for their second "Materials Information, Characterisation, and Exploration" (MTG-MICE 2) workshop on 11 June. Looking for a creative environment, the students booked a venue in Heyri, the scenic "artists' village" close to the North Korean border.

The word-play theme continued with student talks on "Brodium" (bromine on palladium) and the "Tinkerbell" project, while a theme also emerged in the concept of scale: Prof. Soon, Universtity of Toronto student Britna Lee and I each presented work on bulk properties. Bridging atomistic theory to practical engineering properties is a powerful tool, but a lot remains to be done. Aron Walsh and Yonsei student Johnny Kim focused more on computational scaling; materials modelling accounts for a significant proportion of supercomputer usage, and it is important to be efficient while using cutting-edge technology. Suhyun Yoo, who recently received a Bath Global Partner Scholarship, is currently using some of our computing resources

MICE2-studyWe were also able to visit two other leading research centres: at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) we caught up with Yong-Hyun Kim; Prof. Kim will visit Bath at the end of July. Seoul National University (SNU) is the top public university in the Republic of Korea, and we were invited to present a seminar in the Department of Physics; after presenting my work I faced some very insightful questions!

Of course, when in Seoul we had to take in a few of the sights... and vast quantities of delicious food (after getting to grips with some seriously hefty chopsticks). Deoksugung Palace provided some history while the Cheonggyecheon stream has been reclaimed to form a beautiful community space. The streets themselves are connected by a sweeping network of underground (and air-conditioned!) arcades.

MTG-MICE 3 is in the process of being organised; it will be held in Bath in September 2013 just before the DTC Summer Showcase (which our visitors will also be joining), and we hope to live up to the high expectations set by this fascinating and enjoyable session.