Dr Rebecca Boston
MRSC, FHEA, PhD Nanomaterials Chemistry, MSci (Hons) Physics
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Lloyds Register Foundation / Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow
+44 114 222 5484
Full contact details
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
Rebecca is the Lloyds Register Foundation / Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow (2016-22) researching the control of nanostructures in functional oxides. Her current research interests include the development of low temperature synthesis and sintering methods for functional ceramics. Materials of interest include Na- and Li-ion batteries, dielectrics for capacitors, thermoelectrics, superconductors, and materials for fusion applications.
- Jan 2022- present: Senior Research Fellow
- 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.
Sintering technology is also a key area of development, as at present there are very few ways to preserve nanostructures within a sintered ceramic. Cold sintering is a means to preserve this type of structure, and we have an active research interest in this for emergent morphology-function relationships
Current research projects include:
- Nanostructuring in Na-ion battery anodes and cathodes
- Materials discovery in Na-ion battery materials
- Low temperature sintering in dielectric materials
- Nanostructured La-SrTiO3 thermoelectrics
- 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.
- A comparative study of the effect of synthesis method on the formation of P2- and P3-Na0.67Mn0.9Mg0.1O2 cathodes. Materials Research Express, 10(7), 074003-074003.
- Xanthan gum as a water-based binder for P3-Na2/3Ni1/3Mn2/3O2. Frontiers in Energy Research, 10.
- Mechanical properties of cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries. Joule.
- Perspectives for next generation lithium-ion battery cathode materials. APL Materials, 9(10). View this article in WRRO
- 2021 roadmap for sodium-ion batteries. Journal of Physics: Energy, 3(3), 031503-031503.
- An ionic liquid synthesis route for mixed-phase sodium titanate (Na2Ti3O7 and Na2Ti6O13) rods as an anode for sodium-ion batteries. Nanoscale.
- Investigating the Potential of Electroless Nickel Plating for Fabricating Ultra-Porous Metal-Based Lattice Structures Using PolyHIPE Templates. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
- Research group
- Dr Pooja Kumari
- Dr Jess Andrews
- Dr Laura Wheatcroft
- Silvija Zilinskaite
- George Wilson
- Steph Mudd
- Enrique Casanas
- Ryan Emmett
- Yu-han Huang
- Yining Li
MSc students (2021-22):
- Fangxing Ai
- Connagh Launchbury
Undergraduate students (2021-22):
- Matt Turton
- 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 and memberships
- Associate Editor of Materials Today Communications
- Lloyd’s Register Foundation 100A1 Ambassador
- Associate Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry
- Member of the American Ceramic Society