2 January 2020

Professor Derek Sinclair receives prestigious RSC award

Professor Derek Sinclair, Professor of Materials Chemistry in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has been named as the recipient of the Peter Day Award by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Professor Derek Sinclair

Professor Derek Sinclair, Professor of Materials Chemistry in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has been named as the recipient of the Peter Day Award by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The award is presented for outstanding contributions to, and advancement of, the field of materials chemistry of continuous lattice solids. Specifically, Professor Sinclair was recognised for his work in the application of impedance spectroscopy to understanding the defect chemistry and functional properties of oxides.

This work contributes to the advancement of multilayered ceramic capacitors - components that are essential to the operation of the majority of electronic appliances and instruments in use today, from mobile phones to washing machines, cars to supercomputers.

This honour comes with an associated lecture tour, so Professor Sinclair has been delivering lectures on his work at four venues around the country, and will be presented with his award at the final lecture in the Department of Chemistry at the St Andrews University on 27th May 2020.

Professor Sinclair received BSc (Hons) Chemistry and PhD degrees from Aberdeen University and was a lecturer at the School of Materials, Leeds University (1993-94) and the Chemistry Department, Aberdeen University (1994-99) prior to moving to Sheffield in 1999.

His research contribution includes elucidating structure-composition-property relationships in a variety of material types with particular expertise in chemical doping (and distribution) to manipulate the defect chemistry and conduction mechanisms of perovskite-based oxides for energy applications. The range of functionality has spanned from polar dielectrics, incipient ferroelectrics, thermoelectrics, high temperature superconductors to mixed ionic/electronic conductors and solid electrolytes. Device applications include; multilayer ceramic capacitors, thermoelectric generators and solid oxide fuel cells.  

An expertise of the group is to use impedance spectroscopy to characterise the electrical microstructures of heterogeneous electroceramics that contain (via dopant and/or defect segregation) core-shell intra-grain architectures and/or Schottky-barrier dominated grain boundaries/surface layers. Recent efforts (in collaboration with Dr Julian Dean at Sheffield) include simulation of impedance spectroscopy data from conventional and micro-probe contact electrodes on heterogeneous microstructures to provide a more complete understanding of current flow on both an average and local scale.  

He works with industry and a Knowledge Transfer Project with AVX Ltd (Coleraine, NI) led to a new range of BaTiO3-based Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors.