Before joining ISIS earlier this year, Sacha spent three years as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Aberdeen. He also did his PhD there under the supervision of Professor Abbie Mclaughlin, after obtaining his BSc and MSc in chemistry from the University of Perugia, Italy.
Each contributor to the issue was recommended by experts in their fields as carrying out work with the potential to influence future directions in materials chemistry with applications in energy and sustainability.
In response to being nominated, Sacha said “It is a great honour and recognition of my work to have been selected as one of the 2021 Emerging Investigators by the Journal of Materials Chemistry A. To be considered part of such pool of amazing young scientists gives me a massive boost to continue my research."
Sacha's work, highlighted in a 'perspective' article in the issue, focuses on the design and discovery of novel solid-state ionic conductors for energy-related applications, and in the characterisation of their structure–property relationships.
These solid oxide proton conductors could have widespread application in fuel cells and other hydrogen technologies, replacing systems based on oxide conduction that requires a higher temperature of operation. The conventional structure for proton conductors is the ideal perovskite structure, but other materials have also shown promise thanks to the defects present in the structure.
Sacha's article gives an overview of these alternative structure-type solid oxide systems, studying the structural features and how these relate to their properties, as well as highlighting the differences between these and the traditional perovskites.
By understanding the relationship between the structure and properties of these conductors, researchers are better informed to design and develop new materials that have the potential to have superior performance to current fuel cell components.
“While incorporation and transport of protonic defects in perovskite electrolytes are well established, the effects of hydration on complex structural oxides and other compounds are often overlooked," explains Sacha. “More fundamental research is required in that direction – the best performing materials could be out there and go unnoticed!"
Sacha's contribution to the 2021 Journal of Materials Chemistry A Emerging Investigators collection can be read at DOI: 10.1039/D1TA03499E.