High-Throughput Fabrication and Characterisation for Discovery of Novel Energy Materials

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

Certainly, the most important factor needed for technological development and sustainable economic growth is the discovery and development of novel advanced functional materials. The discovery of new materials is also crucial to address today's global challenges in sustainable environment, clean energy production and storage. Efficient solar fuel (energy) production and electrochemical energy storage can only provide a sustainable pathway for true transformation to renewable energy from fossil fuel. The bottleneck which hindered this transformation is the unavailability of stable, inexpensive and highly efficient materials.
The universe of candidate materials is very vast and conventional approaches to materials discovery are not likely to yield breakthrough results on a short enough time scale. The novel and low cost high-throughput experimentation proposed in this transformative project aims to accelerate the rate of new materials discovery to develop innovative technologies for energy production, storage and environmental remediation (photocatalysis). In this transformative project, Fe-based binary metal oxide with structural formula ABO2, ABO3 ABO4 and AB2O4 (where A= Alkali, alkaline earth, transition, post-transition metals and lanthanoids while B=Fe) will be the target materials. The project aims to fabricate and screen more than 60 samples per week. The Fe-based binary metal oxide exists in a range of crystal structures (Delafossite, Perovskites, Cubic and Spinel) and has exciting properties such as stability, earth abundance, inexpensive, band structure, ease in band structure modification, structure dependent conductivity and fabrication by a range of state-of-the-art techniques which make them an ideal candidate to be explored as innovative energy materials in this project. The state of the art spray pyrolysis (SP) technique will be used to deposit thin film array of samples and electrochemical measurement has been chosen for speedy and easy evaluation of energy conversion, storage and photocatalytic applications of materials.
The ground-breaking nature of proposed project, which combines different elements of materials design, chemistry, nanotechnology, electrochemistry, photochemistry, reaction kinetics and device architecture is not limited to energy production, storage and environmental remediation (photocatalysis). The materials and methodology used in this transformative project, can be transferred to other fields such as sensors, photo-responsive switches, thermoelectric devices and electro-ceramics. Knowledge generation from this application-led project will have a significant economical and societal impact.

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