This area encompasses the study (practical and theoretical) of a wide range of materials from their growth to industrial applications. Design and synthesis of organometallics suitable for use in chemical phase deposition techniques such as and Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) including transition metals (e.g. Ru, Fe, Os). Development and design of deposition equipment such as the various types of CVD and magnetron sputtering to improve the quality of thin films of metals (e.g. Ag, Cu, Mo), oxides (e.g. SnO2, ZnO, TiO2, VO2) group III-V semiconductors and more complex multinary materials such as Copper Indium Gallium Selenides and sulphides (CIGS).
Depending on the nature of the thin films ‘smart materials’ can be produced with photoactive, hydrophilic, thermochromic, biocidal or conducting behaviour. These could include self-cleaning surfaces, temperature sensitive windows or high efficiency solar cells.
Materials in the form of wires (e.g. NiFe2O4, BaFe12O19, CoxPt1-x) have been synthesized and their magnetic properties studied (see Magnetism and Nanomaterials). Materials with 3D photonic band gaps can be fabricated by self-assembly and then modified by the internal deposition of semiconductors.
Another area of study is the synthesis and analysis of Mg (Li) transition metal hydrides (TM = Ti, Zr, Hf, V, Nb and Ta), along with use of computational thermodynamics using density functional theory ab initio codes for determine phase diagrams for application in hydrogen storage. Molecular simulations are also being used to interpret inelastic neutron scattering results on nano and hydrogen storage materials to explain interatomic interactions.
The formation and use of catalytic semi-permeable membranes for applications with both oil recovery and study of hydrogen permeability.