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Solid State Synthesis of Novel Oxide Ion Conductors

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A McLaughlin
    Prof J M S Skakle
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Fuel cells convert chemical energy directly into electrical energy with high efficiency and low emission of pollutants. In a fuel cell the reaction between hydrogen and oxygen produces water and electricity and as such provides a clean alternative to fossil fuels. The solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is highly efficient, stable, and operates over a wide temperature range (650 – 800 C). Applications include auxiliary power units in cars and heat engine energy recovery devices. In order to reduce system costs it is highly desirable to find new materials which exhibit significant ionic conductivity at lower temperatures (< 650 C).

We have recently identified a new oxide ion conductor Ba3MoNbO8.5 which is the first hexagonal perovskite to exhibit significant oxide ion conductivity at 600 C 1-3.

The project will focus on the synthesis of novel hexagonal perovskite transition metal oxides containing molybdenum or tungsten which exhibit high oxide ion conductivity at low temperatures (< 650 C). The materials will be synthesised via conventional solid state chemistry techniques and analysed by powder X-ray and neutron diffraction, AC impedance, and thermogravimetric analysis.

The successful candidate will have or expect to have a UK Honours Degree at 2.1 (or equivalent) in Chemistry.

Knowledge of: Chemical synthesis, X-ray diffraction (desirable)

The student will attend neutron diffraction experiments at the ISIS neutron and muon source, Oxfordshire or the Institut Laue Langevin, Grenoble, France.

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Chemistry. Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct person for processing. NOTE CLEARLY THE NAME OF THE SUPERVISOR and EXACT PROJECT TITLE ON THE APPLICATION FORM.

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr A McLaughlin ([Email Address Removed]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter indicating your interest in the project and why you wish to undertake it. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ([Email Address Removed]).

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project, it is for self-funded students only.


1. S. Fop, J. M. S. Skakle, A. C. Mclaughlin, P. Connor , J. T. S Irvine and E. J. Wildman, Oxide Ion Conductivity in the Hexagonal Perovskite Derivative Ba3MoNbO8.5, J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 138, 16764 (2016).
2. S. Fop, E. J. Wildman, J. T. S. Irvine, P. A. Connor, J. M. S. Skakle, C. Ritter and A. C. Mclaughlin, Investigation of the Relationship between the Structure and Conductivity of the Novel Oxide Ionic Conductor Ba3MoNbO8.5. Chem. Mater. 29, 4146 (2017).
3. S. Fop, E. J. Wildman, J. M. S. Skakle, C. Ritter and A. C. Mclaughlin, The Electrical and Structural Characterization of Ba3Mo1-xNb1+xO8.5-x/2: The relationship between mixed coordination, polyhedral distortion and the ionic conductivity of Ba3MoNbO8.5. Inorganic Chemistry 56, 10505 (2017).

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