Atomically thin layers for energy harvesting and storage

Lead Research Organisation: Northumbria University
Department Name: Fac of Engineering and Environment


Over the next 20 years the fuel mix for passenger vehicles will shift dramatically to support
electrification. Significant variation is already evident in different countries' approach to this
challenge including for example battery technologies (in the UK) or hydrogen fuel cells (in
Germany). However, in order to achieve this transition, fabrication and characterisation of new
materials and devices is fundamentally important. The overall aim of this project is to explore the
potential for transparent oxide materials as key enabling materials for energy conversion and
storage. For example, metal oxides can play the role of anode or cathode in electrochemical
energy storage devices or they can act as buffer layers in novel thin film solar cell. They therefore
exert a strong influence on performance and have offer the potential for disruptive innovation
when fabricated at the nanometre scale. In order to achieve the project aim, two main fabrication
approaches will be taken: (1) high precision atomic layer deposition and (2) solution processing.
The former offers the potential to create conformal oxide layers on nanostructures and ultra-high
quality interfaces. The latter can be done under ambient laboratory conditions and is naturally
suited to scaling up. In addition to fabricating and characterising nanostructured oxide layers, the
project offers the opportunity to combine these layers to create novel semiconductor
heterostructures which could for example be used to store hydrogen which in the long term, has
the potential to emerge as a material energy carrier for transportation. There is a further
opportunity within the project to characterise the performance of energy devices fabricated from
these heterostructures during their operation. The project involves industrial input and also offers
the possibility to visit international research laboratories working in this area.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S023836/1 01/04/2019 30/09/2027
2283343 Studentship EP/S023836/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Ewan Matheson