Research Overview

Recent Highlights

  • Review of Li and Na battery materialsView pdf
  • ESPRC Programme grant: Energy Materials [info]
  • Nature Comm paper on perovskite solar cells [pdf]


Saiful grew up in Crouch End, north London, and obtained his BSc and PhD degrees from University College London, completing his PhD in 1987 under Professor Richard Catlow FRS. He then held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Eastman Kodak Labs in Rochester, New York, USA, working on oxide superconductors. Saiful returned to the UK in 1990 to become Lecturer, then Reader, at the University of Surrey before joining the University of Bath in January 2006 as Professor of Materials Chemistry. His research interests include computer modelling of new materials for lithium (and sodium) batteries, solid oxide fuel cells and perovskite solar cells. He is a member of the Diversity committee of the Royal Society and a member of the British Humanist Association (BHA).

Recent Awards

Research Overview: "Clean Energy Materials"

In broad terms, our research programme combines advanced computer modelling methods with structural techniques in the study of new solid state materials related to "clean energy" applications; these are outlined in the following themes:

Olivine-structured LiFePO4

Lithium and Sodium Battery Materials

Rechargeable lithium batteries represent a major leap forward in energy storage with worldwide success in portable electronics. However, next-generations of batteries for electric vehicles or grid storage will rely on the need to discover and develop novel Li- and Na-ion materials.

  • Li-ion cathodes being investigated, include polyanion compounds based on LiFePO4, Li2(Fe,Mn)SiO4 and Li2FeP2O7. On the anode side, alternative oxide systems include TiO2(B) and layered LiVO2-based materials.
  • Studies on new Na-ion cathodes encompass the compounds Na2FePO4F and Na4Fe3(PO4)2P2O7.
  • Current work on solid electrolytes include structural and ion conductivity studies on the Li4SiO4-Li3PO4 system (and related LISICON or NASICON materials).

Perovskite Solar Cells

Solar cell materials based on organo-lead halide perovskites have shown rapid increases in solar-to-electricity conversion efficiencies. We are studying the structural, defect and transport features of methyammonium lead iodide, CH3NH3PbI3, and related compounds to understand their unusual properties. This work extends our previous studies on AMO3 perovskite oxides for solid oxide fuel cells.

Silicate-based apatite with SiO4 tetrahedra

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs): Ion Conducting and Cathode Materials

The search for novel compounds with high oxide ion or proton conductivity has attracted considerable attention owing to their important applications as effective solid electrolytes in intermediate-temperature SOFCs. Here we are studying perovskite-type proton conductors (e.g. doped BaZrO3) and new oxide-ion conductors based on Si/Ge-apatites and tetrahedral gallium-oxides, which show fast interstitial oxide-ion conduction.