Department staff

Dr Pooja Panchmatia

Photo of Dr Pooja Panchmatia

Pooja grew up on the foothills of Mount Kenya. Now she is a long way from home but enjoying her new role as a Lecturer at Loughborough University. Her academic career started with a First class (Hons) MChem (Chemistry) degree from Coventry University which included an industrial placement at GlaxoSmithKline. She then went on to pursue a PhD. at the University of Warwick with Prof. Mark Rodger. This was part funded by industry (Cabot Speciality Fluids) and by the Warwick Postgraduate Scholarship. The project involved Computational and Experimental Studies of Formate Brines. These are dense but viscose salt brines used in oil drilling applications. 

In 2005, Pooja moved to the Dept. of Physics and Materials Science at Uppsala University, Sweden, working with Prof. Peter Oppeneer, Dr. Biplab Sanyal and Prof. Olle Eriksson on a FP7 project looking at diagnosing malaria using a magneto-optical technique which would be fast, efficient and reliable and most importantly non-invasive. After 3 ½  years she joined the University of Bath as an EPSRC Research Officer working with Prof. Saiful Islam and Prof. Steve Parker. The projects involved computational studies of materials with applications in Renewable Energy Technologies such as Fuel Cells (collaborating with, Peter R. Slater, Birmingham; Alodia Orera, Spain; Emma Kendrick, Sharp, UK), Lithium Battery materials (collaborating with Peter Bruce, St. Andrews; Paul Madden, Oxford; Derek Middlemiss and Clare Grey, Cambridge) and Thin Film PV materials (collaborating with Laurie Peter and Aron Walsh in Bath). Since then she has been Senior Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield, before joining the team at Loughborough.

My research focusses on computational studies of fundamental processes in complex materials at the atomic/quantum scale. This requires a good understanding of the structural, electronic, magnetic and transport properties which are crucial in identifying novel functional materials for sustainable energy and or catalytic applications. The nature of defects in inorganic solids as well as their effect on electronic and transport properties is also important in not only understanding the key structural/property relationships but also in the next phase of materials design with enhanced performance. In addition to this a sound understanding of nano-ionic properties can yield a wealth of materials with significant technological impact.

The computational methods range from atomistic potentials-based methods, where the forces are dominated by the long range electrostatic interactions, but also includes short range, van der Waals attractions, electron – electron repulsions and polarisability, to density functional theory (DFT) at varying levels of theory. Molecular dynamics is also used to study the transport properties as a function of time and temperature.

Further to this expansion towards more sophisticated time dependent density functional theory and embedded cluster methods is being pursued.

Current collaborations include: Dr. Serena Corr, Dr. Eddie Cussen and others (EP/N001982/1), Prof. Peter Slater (Birmingham); Prof. Saiful Islam and Prof. Steve Parker (Bath); Prof. Olle Eriksson, Dr. Biplab Sanyal, Dr. Barbara Brena and Dr. Daniel Brandell (Uppsala, Sweden); Prof. Heiko Wende and Dr. Heike Herper (Duisburg-Essen, Germany) and Prof. Scott Beckmann (Iowa, USA) as well as several collaborations with experimental groups in Loughborough.

New collaborations are welcomed.         

  • Elected Member RSC Science, Education and Industry Board – till 2018
  • Executive committee member and publications officer for the Solid State RSC group – till 2017