Aerodynamic levitation, laser melting, and the synthesis of new functional ceramics
Metal oxide ceramics are a broad class of compounds with a wide range of useful functions, and many support everyday technologies (e.g. cobalt oxides as the energy-storing cathodes in lithium-ion batteries, whose impact was recognised recently in the 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry). For any given application (e.g. ion transport, heat recovery, photocatalysis, luminescence…), there is a constant search for new compositions and structural forms with the potential to host improved properties. However, despite the many possibilities offered by the periodic table, finding such “new” functional ceramics is surprisingly (and fundamentally) difficult! Progress relies increasingly on innovative synthetic techniques and efficient ways of predicting stable compositions. In this talk, I will discuss the use of aerodynamic levitation, laser melting and glass-crystallisation for the synthesis of new inorganic oxides with diverse compositions and functions, and the interface with new computational prediction methods for efficient guided synthesis.
Dr Michael Pitcher, LE STUDIUM Guest Research Fellow