Dr Rebecca Boston

PhD Nanomaterials Chemistry, MSci (Hons) Physics

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Lloyds Register Foundation / Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow

Dr Rebecca Boston
r.boston@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 5484

Full contact details

Dr Rebecca Boston
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
Mappin Street
Sheffield
S1 3JD
Profile

Rebecca is a 2016 Lloyds Register Foundation / Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship in the control of nanostructures in functional oxides. Her current research interests include functional ceramics for capacitors, thermoelectrics and batteries.

She joined the Department in 2014 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate with Professor Ian Reaney and Professor Derek Sinclair.

Prior to this, Rebecca completed her PhD with Dr Simon Hall in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol through the Bristol Centre for Functional Nanomaterials.

Qualifications
  • 2016-present: Lloyd’s Register Foundation and Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow in nanostructured oxides for sustainable energy storage and recovery
  • 2014 - 2016: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Sustainable Functional Materials, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Sheffield 
  • 2010 - 2014: PhD Researcher, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol
  • 2006 - 2010: MSci Physics, University of Bristol
Research interests

Every electronic device on the planet, from mobile phones to complex scientific equipment, relies on functional oxide materials (crystalline matter composed of a mixture of metallic elements and oxygen) to control operation or performance. This might be directly as part of a circuit, for example in capacitors, which are predicted to have a global market of $50 billion by 2020, or as a stand-alone device, e.g. a thermoelectric generator which recovers waste heat energy. Many of these materials contain rare or toxic elements, making the devices which use them expensive or difficult to recycle.

We can improve the function of these materials (and potentially remove the need for the toxic/scarce elements) by controlling the nano- and micro-structure of the devices. This requires the development of new synthetic methods which control the morphology from the bottom up. Biotemplates and solvent-based combustion syntheses are a rapid and sustainable way of doing this and so my research is concerned with improving functionality through controlling crystal morphology.

Current research projects include:

  • Nanostructuring in Na-ion battery anodes and cathodes
  • Materials discovery in Na-ion battery materials
  • Solid state electrolytes
  • Nanostructured La-SrTiO3 thermoelectrics
  • Discovery of new deep eutectic solvents
  • Nanostructured solid oxide fuel cell materials
  • Synthesis and sintering of next generation fusion materials

Applications from self-funded students are welcome and a range of projects are currently available. Please contact Dr Rebecca Boston directly to discuss further.

Current group members:

PhD students:

  • Daniel Martin
  • Silvija Zilinskaite
  • George Wilson
  • Steph Mudd
  • Enrique Casanas

MSc students (2019-20):

  • Febin Olickal
  • Yining Li
  • Haoyan Hu
  • Hongpeng Xin
  • Zhewen Yang

Undergraduate students (2019-20):

  • Hector Kaye
Publications

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

Grants
  • Lloyd's Register Foundation and Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship (Principal Investigator)
  • International Consortium of Nanotechnologies PhD studentships (Principal Investigator)
  • FutureCat (Faraday Institution) (Co-Investigator)
  • NEXGENNa (Faraday Institution) (Co-Investigator)
Professional activities
  • Member of the EPSRC Early Career Manufacturing Forum
  • Lloyd’s Register Foundation 100A1 Ambassador
  • Associate Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Member of the American Ceramic Society