Hybrid perovskites for energy harvesting and other electrical applications

Research Group: 
Centre for Condensed Matter and Material Physics
Number of Students: 
Length of Study in Years: 
Full-time Project: 
QM Scholarship
Project Description: 
The hybrid perovskites, which consist of metal ions joined by organic linkers into a cubic network, are a newly developed family of materials that have attracted great attention over the past decade. These materials consist of a cubic network that encapsulates polyatomic organic ions; motion of these ions gives rise to many useful electric properties, including piezoelectricity, pyroelectricity, and high, switchable dielectric constants. All of these properties are exploitable in device applications including energy harvesting – that is, scavenging of minute amounts of ambient vibrational and thermal energy – sensors and actuators. These compounds are of particular relevance to Internet of Things applications since they offer the promise of combining active element and power source within the same material, with concomitant advantages to miniaturisation. But research in this field is as yet far less advanced than in ceramics, and substantial exploration is needed to find materials with the most exploitable properties.

This project will involve preparing electrically active framework materials in our lab at QMUL and measuring their electrical and structural properties both at QMUL and at central facilities. In particular, we will take advantage of the capacity at the ESRF and Diamond Light Source to measure diffraction under in situ electric field; these will be the first direct measurements of the structural features that give rise to these materials’ electrical properties. These data will be supported by neutron spectroscopy of these materials’ dynamics, and as appropriate by computer simulations.
SPA Academics: 
Anthony Phillips