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 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 sits on the Diversity Committee of the Royal Society and a member of the British Humanist Association (BHA).

  • 'Profile' in RSC news.View pdf

Recent Awards

  • Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2013-2018)
  • Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Sustainable Energy Award (2013)
  • RSC Materials Chemistry Division Lecturer Award (2011)
  • RSC Francis Bacon Medal (2008)

Research Overview: Materials for Clean Energy

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, as outlined below.

Olivine-structured LiFePO4

Lithium and Sodium Batteries: Electrodes and Solid Electrolytes

Rechargeable lithium batteries represent a major leap forward in energy storage as evidenced by the worldwide success of portable electronics. However, next-generation batteries for electric vehicles and grid storage will rely on discovery and development of novel Li- and Na-ion conducting materials.


Structural and ion-conductivity studies are being carried out on the following:
  • Polyanion compounds based on LiFePO4, Li2(Fe,Mn)SiO4 and Li2FeP2O7 for Li-ion battery cathodes, and alternative oxide systems TiO2(B) and layered LiVO2 for anodes;
  • Na-ion battery cathode materials Nax(Ni,Mn)O2, Na2FePO4F and Na4Fe3(PO4)2P2O7;
  • Solid electrolytes such as those in the Li4SiO4-Li3PO4 system (and related LISICON and NASICON materials).


Solar Cells: Hybrid Perovskites

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: Oxide-Ion and Proton Conductors

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.