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.
- 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).
On 1–6 December 2013, DTC student Lee Burton attended the Materials Research Society fall meeting in Boston, USA. He describes the experience for us in this blog post.
As a PhD student I was honoured to be chosen to speak at the largest materials research conference of the calendar year in Boston, USA.
The fall meeting of the Materials Research Society (MRS) brings together academics from all parts of the world each year. The huge scope of the conference was reflected in the 52 different sessions running simultaneously over a period of 5 days. The conference had an exciting dynamic brought about by countless fields of individual research that are still united by core expertise… if you couldn’t find a way to solve a problem at this meeting, it probably couldn’t be solved! Not only that but with days full of cutting-edge science and evenings packed with charged debate, it would be impossible to leave without some new ideas for future work.
My talk was on work regarding new materials for solar energy applications and is summarised as part of the meeting's blog under the section of ‘Technical Sessions’. I spoke alongside existing collaborators and was even able to pick up a few more along the way, strengthening ties between the CSCT and research centres overseas.
Lee is in the final year of his PhD, supervised by Professor Aron Walsh, Chair of Materials Theory in the Department of Chemistry and co-supervised by Professor Keiran Molloy (Chemistry) and Professor Chris Bowen (Mechanical Engineering).
Several researchers from the CSCT, including a number of DTC students, will be attending the MRS Spring Meeting 2014, which runs next week on the 21–25 April.
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.
In September, David Miles and Lisa Sargeant travelled to Imperial College London for the annual Energy Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) Network conference. The aim of this conference was to enable students from the various different energy-related CDTs to present their research and hear about some of the latest research across the field of energy.
The talks spanned a wide range of areas related to energy, from nuclear fusion to the energy efficiency of hospital buildings. David Miles presented in the Renewable Energy session of the conference, talking about his research on nanomaterials for dye-sensitized solar cells. Lisa Sargeant also represented the CSCT by presenting a poster titled “Waste to wealth: cultivating renewable lipids from the oleaginous yeast, Rhodotorula glutinis”.
Making an unusual addition during the talks, graphic facilitator Eleanor Beer transformed the presentations into cartoons. She created four different pieces, each representing one of the conference’s four themes: Renewable Energy, Efficiency & CO2 Reduction, Energy Storage & Systems, and Nuclear. A number of talks were also given by some of the MSc students from the Energy Futures lab based within Imperial College London.
The cartoon summaries of the talks can be seen below courtesy of Eleanor Beer and the Network of Energy Centres for Doctoral Training.
Nuclear energy (Copyright Ellen Beer)
Energy storage (Copyright Ellen Beer)
David Miles presents his research