Research Guides

 

Research

Our current research  cover a broad range of multi-disciplinary interests and activities, from Metal-Insulator Transitions in solids and liquids through mesoscopic ,  size-dependent  phenomena  through to catalysis science and technology for fossil fuel decarbonisation  for mitigating climate change . A selection of areas of interest and some recent publications  is presented below: 

 

1. Turning Insulators into Metals: 

For a general overview, read “What, Why and When is a Metal?   Download

http://research.chem.ox.ac.uk/Data/Sites/4/Edwards/Edwards1.jpg        There are numerous systems and materials in nature for which small changes in temperature, pressure or composition can transform a stubbornly resistive non-metallic or insulating material into a highly conducting metallic state. Our close colleague Professor C.N.R. Rao of Bangalore has drawn a graphic analogy, noting the reverse process is akin to "Turning Copper into Wood ". This, then, is the study of the Metal-Insulator Transition (MIT) An intuitive understanding of this remarkable electronic phase transition continues to be one of our major interests; where we try and understand the origins of variations in the nature and location of the MIT from one system to another This especially important for MIT systems and materials driving sustainable energy technologies

 

Mesoscience: exploring the common principle at mesoscales, W. Huang, J. Li, P. P Edwards, National Science Review, 5, 3, 321–326 (2018) https://doi.org/10.1093/nsr/nwx083

On the occurrence of metallic character in the periodic table of the chemical elements, F. Hensel, D. R. Slocombe, P. P. Edwards, Phil. Trans. R. Soc., A., 373, 2037 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2014.0477

The transition to the metallic state in polycrystalline n-type doped ZnO thin films, A. T. Vai, V. L. Kuznetsov, H. Jain, D. Slocombe, N. Rashidi, M. Pepper and P. P. Edwards, Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine Chemie, Special Issue: Dedicated to Professor C. N. R. Rao on the Occasion of His 80th Birthday, 640, 6,  pages 1054–1062 (2014) https://doi.org/10.1002/zaac.201400042 

The Mott transition and optimal performance of transparent conducting oxides in thin-film solar cells, D. Slocombe, A. Porch, M. Pepper, et al., Energy & Environmental Science, 5, 1, 5387-5391 (2012) https://doi.org/10.1039/C1EE02585F

A multidisciplinary combinatorial approach for tuning promising hydrogen storage materials towards automotive applications, A.  Amieiro-Fonseca, S. R. Ellis, C. J. Nuttall et al., Faraday Discussions, 151, 369-384, 2011 https://doi.org/10.1039/C0FD00018C 

' ... a metal conducts and a non-metal doesn't', P. P. Edwards, M. T. J. Lodge, F. Hensel, et al., Phil Trans Roy Soc A, 368, 1914, 941-965 (2010). Special Anniversary Issue https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2009.0282

Functional materials for sustainable energy technologies: Four case studies, V. L. Kuznetsov, P. P. Edwards, ChemSusChem, 3, 1, 44-58 (2010) https://doi.org/10.1002/cssc.200900190  

 

2   Decarbonising Fossil Fuels for Mitigating   Climate Change

    Global energy demand will double by 2050 and even with advances in so-called “Renewable Energy”, fossil fuels will continue to provide the overwhelming majority of our energy needs – particularly with the (understandable) ever-increasing demands of  the developing world  One also recognizes that fossil fuels are one-time energy gifts to the human race ; once they are gone, they are potentially gone forever .The challenge we confront ,then,  is very  clear …” Obtain maximum energy from fossil hydrocarbon fuels , whilst minimizing their effects on the environment as part of a structured transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources

 

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has risen to meet this dual challenge of an ever-increasing global demand for petroleum and petrochemicals and the need to help advance the world to a renewable energy future

 

In 2010, A major initiative was formed between the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST; Prince Turki ….and Prof Hamid Almegren) and Oxford (Dr Tiancun Xiao and PPE)  and which aims to promote frontier scientific and technological challenges associated with clean energy from fossil fuels.

      

    The following themes form the basis of the KACST- Oxford Centre of Excellence in Petrochemicals (KOPRC) :

  • New-generation inexpensive and abundant catalysts and low-energy fuel purification processes for increased efficiencies and reduced energy and CO2 footprints (including solar energy utilisation )  
  • Paths to clean fuels , including diesel
  • New routes to re-using CO2, including a major new international initiative linking the UK, Saudi Arabia and China (see below) 
  • Advances in polymer science and plastics recycling  

H2-rich gas production from leaves, B. Yao, T. Xiao, X. Jie, S. Gonzalez-Cortes, P. P.  Edwards, Catalysis Today (In Press) (2018)

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cattod.2018.02.048

Enhancing the production of light olefins from heavy crude oils: Turning challenges into opportunities, F. M. Alotaibi, S. González-Cortés, M. F. Alotibi, T. Xiao, H. Al-Megren, G. Yang, P. P. Edwards, Catalysis Today (In Press) (2018) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cattod.2018.02.018

On the performance optimisation of Fe catalysts in the microwave-assisted H2 production by the dehydrogenation of hexadecane, X. Jie, T. Xiao, B. Yao, S. Gonzalez-Cortes, J. Wang, Y. Fang, N. Miller, H. Al-Megren, J. R. Dilworth, and P. P. Edwards, Catalysis Today, (In Press) (2018) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cattod.2018.03.036  

Microwaves effectively examine the extent and type of coking over acid zeolite catalysts, B. Liu, D. R. Slocombe, J. Wang, A. Aldawsari, S. Gonzalez-Cortes, J. Arden, V. L. Kuznetsov, H. AlMegren, M. AlKinany, T. Xiao and P. P. Edwards, Nature Comms, 8, 514 (2017)

Rapid Production of High-Purity Hydrogen Fuel through Microwave-Promoted Deep Catalytic Dehydrogenation of Liquid Alkanes with Abundant Metals, X. Jie, S. Gonzalez-Cortes, T. Xiao, J. Wang, B. Yao, D. R. Slocombe, H. A. Al-Megren, J. R. Dilworth, J. M. Thomas, and P. P. Edwards, Angew. Chemie. Intl. Ed., 56, 34, 10170-10173 (2017) https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.201703489

Wax: A benign hydrogen-storage material that rapidly releases H2-rich gases through microwave-assisted catalytic decomposition, S. Gonzalez-Cortes, D. R. Slocombe, T. Xiao, A. Aldawsari, B. Yao, V. L. Kuznetsov, E. Liberti, A. I. Kirkland, M. S. Alkinani, H. A. Al-Megren, J. M. Thomas and P. P. Edwards, Scientific Reports, 6, 35315 (2016) https://doi.org/10.1038/srep35315

Ball-milled Si powder for the production of H-2 from water for fuel cell applications, L. Xu, S. Ashraf, J. Hu, P. P. Edwards, M. O. Jones, E. Hadzifejzouic, J. S. Foord, Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 41, 30,12730-12737, (2016) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhydene.2016.05.181

The Catalyst Sensitivity Index (CSI), A Framework and Metric to Assess the Impact of Catalyst Efficiency Enhancements upon Energy and CO2 Footprints, T. Xiao, T. Shivani, O. Inderwildi, et al., Topics in Catal., 58, 10-11, 682-695 (2015)

Enhanced life of proton exchange membrane fuel cell catalysts using perfluorosulfonic acid stabilized carbon support, N. C. Cheng, S. C. Mu, X. J. Chen, H. F. Lv, M. Pan, P. P. Edwards, Electrochim Acta, 56 (5), 2154-2159 (2011)

 

3. Re-Using Carbon; Turning Carbon Dioxide into Fuel .A new UK -China -Saudi Arabia initiative

        CO2 is recognised as a potent, long-lived  greenhouse gas and its continuous increase in the atmosphere is cited, quite correctly, as a major cause of advancing climate change for our planet. The conversion and utilization ( the re-use) of CO2 must be considered as an integral part of climate change management , because its chemical conversion – particularly using renewable energy routes-can  not only add value to CO2 disposal but also bring environmental benefits

 

    Flue gas, the result of fossil fuel combustion, in power plants, heavy and petroleum and petrochemical industries represent the main source of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    Carbon capture and storage (CCS) from such large sources of fossil fuel combustion, is advanced as an essential component of plans to mitigate anthropogenically-induced climate change.

    Currently, environmental regulations require exiting flue gas to be purified to remove NOx, SO2 and cooled down before it is emitted to air. These processes all cost energy and require extra operation input. The capture of CO2 from flue gas is a highly energy intensive process and, of course, CCS also gives rise to daunting social problems associated with burying huge quantities of CO2.  

    The direct utilisation or conversion of CO2 into fuels and chemicals directly at such sources –without CCS – is highly desirable, particularly if any energy input came from renewable sources.

 

    This, then, is the challenge – and the prize – of this new international initiative linking the UK, China and Saudi Arabia (the world’s largest oil producer).

 

Turning carbon dioxide into fuel, Z. Jiang, T. Xiao, V. L. Kuznetsov, P. P. Edwards, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, 368, 3343-3364 (2010) https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2010.0119

Catalytic dehydrogenation of propane by carbon dioxide: a medium-temperature thermochemical process for carbon dioxide utilisation, X. Du, B. Yao, S. Gonzalez-Cortes, V. L. Kuznetsov, H. AlMegren, T. Xiao, P. P. Edwards, Faraday Disc, 183,161-176 (2015) https://doi.org/10.1039/C5FD00062A    

Energy Storage via Carbon-Neutral Fuels Made From CO2, Water, and Renewable Energy, R. J. Pearson, M. D. Eisaman, J. W. G. Turner, et al., Proceedings of the IEEE, 100 (2), 410-426 (2012) https://doi.org/10.1109/JPROC.2011.2168369

Thermodynamic study of hydrocarbon synthesis from carbon dioxide and hydrogen, B. Yao, W. Ma, S. Gonzalez-Cortes, T. Xiao and P. P. Edwards, Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology, 7, 5 (2017) https://doi.org/10.1002/ghg.1694

 

4. Transparent, but  Highly Conducting Metal Oxides

http://research.chem.ox.ac.uk/Data/Sites/4/media/Edwards/ito.jpg     Transparent conducting oxides (TCO’s) are extremely important energy materials, with applications in optoelectronic devices, notably photovoltaics (solar cells) , LED’s and the ubiquitous touchscreen displays The most important TCO is currently indium tin oxide (ITO), as it possesses the remarkable combination of high optical transparency and high conductivity. However, indium is costly in both financial and earth-abundance terms Thus it would be beneficial if indium free or even reduced-indium TCs, with similar properties and performance, could be produced. Our research focusses on the search for these new-generation TCO materials

 

    A major focus is a collaborative effort with colleagues  in KACST (led by Dr Abdulrahman Albadri) and Physics at Oxford (Professor Henry Snaith and his Group) in the fabrication of high performance indium-free , or reduced indium content TCO ‘s for 2nd and 3rd generation solar cell devices

 

Contrasting the grain boundary-affected performance of zinc and indium oxide transparent conductors, A. T. Vai, N. Rashidi, Y. Fang, V. L. Kuznetsov and P. P. Edwards, J. Phys Cond Matter, 28, 22, 224003 (2016)

Electronic transport in highly conducting Si-doped ZnO thin films prepared by pulsed laser deposition, V. L. Kuznetsov, A. T. Vai, M. Al-Mamouri, J. S. Abell, M. Pepper, P. P. Edwards, Appl. Phys. Letts., 107, 23, 2103  (2015) https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4936613

The transition to the metallic state in polycrystalline n-type doped ZnO thin films, A. T. Vai, V. L. Kuznetsov, H. Jain, D. Slocombe, N. Rashidi, M. Pepper and P. P. Edwards, Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine Chemie, Special Issue: Dedicated to Professor C. N. R. Rao on the Occasion of His 80th Birthday, 640, 6,  pages 1054–1062 (2014) https://doi.org/10.1002/zaac.201400042 

Highly conducting and optically transparent Si-doped ZnO thin films prepared by spray pyrolysis, N. Rashidi, V. L. Kuznetsov, J. R. Dilworth, P. P. Edwards, M. Pepper and P. J. Dobson, Journal of Materials Chemistry C, 1, 42, 6960-6969 (2013) https://doi.org/10.1039/C3TC31129E

The Mott transition and optimal performance of transparent conducting oxides in thin-film solar cells, D. Slocombe, A. Porch, M. Pepper, et al., Energy & Environmental Science, 5, 1, 5387-5391 (2012) https://doi.org/10.1039/C1EE02585F

Structural, optical and electrical properties of In4Sn3O12 films prepared by pulsed laser deposition, D. H. O'Neil, V. L. Kuznetsov, R. M. J. Jacobs, M. O. Jones, P. P. Edwards, Mater Chem Phys, 123 (1), 152-159, 01 (2010) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matchemphys.2010.03.075

Electronic conduction in amorphous and polycrystalline zinc-indium oxide films, V. L. Kuznetsov et al., Applied Physics Letters, 97, 26, 262117-10 (2010) https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3533382  

 

5. Electrons and Alkali Anions in Solution

http://research.chem.ox.ac.uk/Data/Sites/4/media/Edwards/ammonia.jpg    Dating back to their first observation by Sir Humphry Davy in 1808! are the beautiful blue and bronze colours of alkali metal-ammonia solutions. A thorough understanding of these fascinating and complex systems, -now in solvents beyond ammoniaand the nature of their compositional Electrolyte to Metal Transition, is part of aclose collaboration with the Research Groups of Professors Tony Barrett ( Imperial College,)  Roald Hoffmann (Cornell) and and Eva Zurek (Buffalo) in the USA, and Neil Skipper (University College , London )where , we study the chemistry and physics of alkali metals in a wide range of solvent systems. A particular emphsasis of late, involves the study of the nature -and the chemical reactivity- of alkali metal anions, (eg Na -) in particularly stable metal solutions using Professor Barrett’s innovations in complexant design and synthesis

 

A molecular perspective on lithium–ammonia solutions. Zurek, Eva, Peter P. Edwards, and Roald Hoffmann.  Angewandte Chemie International Edition 48, no. 44 : 8198-8232 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.200900373

Multielement NMR Studies of the Liquid–Liquid Phase Separation and the Metal-to-Nonmetal Transition in Fluid Lithium- and Sodium-Ammonia Solutions, M. T. J. H. Lodge, P. Cullen, N. H. Rees, N. Spencer, K. Maeda, J. R. Harmer, M. O. Jones, P. P. Edwards, J. Phys. Chem. B, 117, 42, 13322–13334 (2013) https://doi.org/10.1021/jp404023j

Electron Tunnelling in Lithium-Ammonia Solutions Probed by Frequency-Dependent Electron Spin Relaxation Studies, K. Maeda, M. T. J. Lodge, J. Harmer, J. H. Freed, P. P. Edwards, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 134, 22, 9209–9218, 2012 https://doi.org/10.1021/ja212015b

6. The Continuing Challenge of High-Temperature Superconductivity

 

http://research.chem.ox.ac.uk/Data/Sites/4/media/Edwards/supercond.jpgThe observation, in 1987, of high-temperature superconductivity (High Tc) by J.G. Bednorz and K.A. Muller undoubtedly represents one of the greatest experimental discoveries of the last century. This remarkable phenomenon is simply not yet understood. Our project has the ultimate goal of a deep understanding of this fascinating natural phenomenon. We try to synthesize materials which we believe might be new superconductors. One example is a collaboration with Professor Wojciech Grochala (Warsaw) and centres on fluoroargenates. 

Superconductivity in transition metals, D. R. Slocombe, V. L. Kuznetsov, W. Grochala, R. J. P. Williams, P. P. Edwards, Phil. Trans. R. Soc., A. 373, 2037 (2015) https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2014.0476

Selected Recent Publications

"On the performance optimisation of Fe catalysts in the microwave-assisted H 2 production by the dehydrogenation of hexadecane."X. Jie, T. Xiao, B. Yao, S. Gonzalez-Cortes, J. Wang, Y. Fang, N. Miller, H. AlMegren, J. R. Dilworth, and P. P. Edwards. Catalysis Today (2018).

 

"H2–rich gas production from leaves."Benzhen  Yao, Tiancun Xiao, Xiangyu Jie, Sergio Gonzalez-Cortes, and Peter P. Edwards. Catalysis Today (2018).

 

"Enhancing the production of light olefins from heavy crude oils: Turning challenges into opportunities."Alotaibi, Faisal M., Sergio González-Cortés, Mohammed F. Alotibi, Tiancun Xiao, Hamid Al-Megren, Guidong Yang, and Peter P. Edwards. Catalysis Today (2018).

‘‘Thermodynamic study of hydrocarbon synthesis from carbon dioxide and hydrogen’’; B. Yao, W. Ma, S. Gonzalez‐Cortes, T. Xiao, P. P. Edwards; Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology 7, 942-957 (2017).

‘‘Microwaves effectively examine the extent and type of coking over acid zeolite catalysts’’; B. Liu, D. Slocombe, J. Wang, A. Aldawsari, S. Gonzalez-Cortes, J. Arden, V. Kuznetsov, H. AlMegren, M. AlKinany, T. Xiao, P. P. Edwards; Nature communications 8, 514 (2017).

‘‘Rapid Production of High‐Purity Hydrogen Fuel through Microwave‐Promoted Deep Catalytic Dehydrogenation of Liquid Alkanes with Abundant Metals’’; X. Jie, S. Gonzalez‐Cortes, T. Xiao, J. Wang, B. Yao, D.R. Slocombe, H.A. Al‐Megren, J.R. Dilworth, J.M. Thomas, P.P. Edwards; Angew.Chem. Int. Edit. 56, 10170-10173 (2017).

‘‘Hydrogen bonds between methanol and the light liquid olefins 1-pentene and 1-hexene: from application to fundamental science’’; Z. Zhang, T. Xiao, H. Al-Megren, S.A. Aldrees, M. Al-Kinany, V.L. Kuznetsov, M.L. Kuznetsov, P.P. Edwards; Chem. Comm. 53, 4026-4029 (2017).

‘‘Wax: A benign hydrogen-storage material that rapidly releases H2-rich gases through microwave-assisted catalytic decomposition’’; S. Gonzalez-Cortes, D. Slocombe, T. Xiao, A. Aldawsari, B. Yao, V. Kuznetsov, E. Liberti, A. Kirkland, M. Alkinani, H. Al-Megren, P.P. Edwards; Scientific Reports 6, 35315 (2016).

‘‘The Catalyst Selectivity Index (CSI): A Framework and Metric to Assess the Impact of Catalyst Efficiency Enhancements upon Energy and CO2 Footprints’’; T. Xiao, T. Shirvani, O. Inderwildi, S. Gonzalez-Cortes, H. Al Megren, D. King, P.P. Edwards; Top. Catal. 58, 682-695 (2015).

"Catalytic dehydrogenation of propane by carbon dioxide: a medium-temperature thermochemical process for carbon dioxide utilisation."X. Du, B. Yao, S. Gonzalez-Cortes, V. L. Kuznetsov, Hamid AlMegren, T. Xiao, and P. P. Edwards. Faraday discussions 183, 161-176(2015).

‘‘Methanol-to-hydrocarbons conversion over MoO 3/H-ZSM-5 catalysts prepared via lower temperature calcination: a route to tailor the distribution and evolution of promoter Mo species, and their corresponding catalytic properties’’; B. Liu, L. France, C. Wu, Z. Jiang, V.L. Kuznetsov, H.A. Al-Megren, M. Al-Kinany, S.A. Aldrees, T. Xiao, P.P. Edwards; Chem. Sci. 6, 5152-5163 (2015).

"Electronic structure of ternary CdxZn1-xO (0≤x≤0.075) alloys"; HHC Lai, VL Kuznetsov, RG Egdell, PP Edwards; Appl. Phys. Lett.; 100; 072106; (2012) 

"A combined experimental inelastic neutron scattering, Raman and ab initio lattice dynamic study of  α-lithium amidoborane"; KR Ryan, AJ Ramirez-Cuesta, K Refson, MO Jones, PP Edwards and WIF David; Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys.; 13; 12249-12253; (2011) 

"High-pressure crystal structure prediction of calcium borohydride using density functional theory"; PC Aeberhard, K Refson, PP Edwards, WIF David; Phys. Rev. B; 83(17); 174102/1-174102/7; (2011)

"Exceptional visible-light-driven photocatalytic activity over BiOBr-ZnFe2O4 heterojunctions"; L Kong , Z Jiang, T Xiao, L Lu, MO Jones, PP Edwards; Chem. Comm.; 47(19); 5512-5514; (2011) 

"Neutron Compton Scattering investigation of sodium hydride: From bulk material to encapsulated nanoparticulates in amorphous silica gel"; AG Seel, A Sartbaeva, J Mayers, AJ Ramirez-Cuesta, PP Edwards; J Chem. Phys.; 134; 114511; (2011)

"... A Metal Conducts and a Non-Metal Doesn't"; PP Edwards, MTJ Lodge, F Hensel, R Redmer; Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A; 368; 941-965; (2010)

"Turning Carbon Dioxide into Fuel"; Z Jiang, T Xiao; VL Kuznetzov; PP Edwards; Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A; 368; 3343-3364; (2010)

"Experimental and density-fuctional study of the electronic structure of In4Sn3O12"; DH O'Neil, A Walsh, RM Jacobs,VL Kuznetsov, RG Egdell and PP Edwards; Phys. Rev. B; 81; 085110; (2010)

"A molecular perspective on lithium-ammonia solutions"; E Zurek, PP Edwards, R Hoffmann; Angew. Chem. Int. Edit.; 48; 8198-8232; (2009)

"Water/oil microemulsion for the preparation of robust La-hexaaluminates for methane catalytic combustion"; Z Jiang, ZP Hao, JX Su, TC Xiao and PP Edwards; Chem. Comm.; 22; 3225-3227; (2009) 

"Tuning the decomposition temperature in complex hydrides: Synthesis of a mixed alkali metal borohydride"; EA Nickels, MO Jones, WIF David, SR Johnson, RL Lowton, M Sommariva and PP Edwards; Angew. Chem. Int. Edit.; 47; 6758-6765; (2008)

"Sir Humphry Davy: Boundless Chemist, Physicist, Poet and Man of Action"; JM Thomas; PP Edwards; VL KuznetsovChem. Phys. Chem.; 9; 59-66; (2008)

Professor P. P. Edwards FRS, ML

Inorganic Chemistry

peter.edwards@chem.ox.ac.uk

Telephone: 44 (0) 1865 272 646

http://research.chem.ox.ac.uk/Data/Sites/4/media/Edwards/ppephoto/ppenew.jpg

 

http://research.chem.ox.ac.uk/peter-edwards.aspx