The proposed work is in the field of inorganic-organic hybrid materials, focusing mainly on dense rather than nanoporous materials. There are a huge number of opportunities in this area, especially now that is has become relatively straightforward to control the conditions under which dense, often anhydrous phases with excellent thermal stability can be synthesized. The latter have a wide range of interesting properties in terms of optics, magnetism, electronic conductivity, catalysis and so on. We shall work on such functional hybrid materials with potential applications in areas such as lighting and displays, photovoltaic cells, data storage, ferroelectrics, catalysis, and gas storage. We shall also explore some of the fundamental questions concerning hybrid frameworks: What factors control their crystalline structures? Can we reliably simulate their structures and calculate their energies? What kinds of defects can be incorporated into hybrid frameworks? How do these affect their properties? What factors influence the mechanical properties of hybrid frameworks? Can we develop a general method for preparing nanoparticles of hybrids? The work will involve a great deal of solution-based synthesis, chemical and thermal analysis, structure determination by single crystal X-ray methods, physical property measurements (mainly optical, magnetic, electronic, and mechanical), computer simulations, and some calorimetry. Most of the facilities needed for this work are available in Cambridge, though I shall collaborate with others where appropriate (e.g. computer simulation, calorimetry).
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