Chemistry

Research

Energy Research Laboratory

The energy research laboratory consolidates a long established research specialism within the department. One of our notable successes has been the spin-out company Intelligent Energy, and our research into the underpinning science of energy capture, conversion and storage continues unabated.

We have recently refurbished suites of laboratories to create a large facility that enables integration of the whole of research work-flow from fundamental laser-based characterisation, through to advanced in-process monitoring of surface-reactivity and catalysis-mechanisms. Microscopy, electrochemistry and solar simulators complete the operation. Our intent is that we are able to move seamlessly from hypothesis, to fast prototyping of highly functional and nano-structured materials, through to their final characterisation and optimisation.

At the heart of this philosophy is the fact that there is a superabundance of resource and energy in sunshine and fresh air. Exploiting this resource in a sustainable way is perhaps the most significant science and technology challenge of our time. The foundations of such research are quantum-led studies into the fundamental theories that describe electron transport and behaviour. Application of such knowledge is collaborative and we have many examples of cross-disciplinary projects and partnerships. Examples from the current portfolio include: artificial photosynthesis; photo-voltaics; electro-chromic systems for building management; and, super-capacitors.

  • Design, synthesis, formulation and production of nanostructured materials
  • Chemical vapour deposition
  • Real-time thermal imaging of high-T (1300K) µ-wave sintering and material processing.
  • Full suite of furnaces
  • Electrochemistry-mass spectrometry
  • Thin film deposition from gas phase reactions
  • Full suite of electrochemical instruments and techniques
  • Atomic Force Microscopy
  • Solar simulators
  • laser laboratories and dark rooms

Currently there are four academic staff based in the Energy Research Laboratory with instrumentation and knowledge assets drawn from the Physical Chemistry domain. As well as their research teams they contribute to the undergraduate and post graduate programmes. Their research is not exclusively based within the Energy theme and there is a rich cross over and translation into the Environment and Security themes.