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Laboratory for synthesis and crystallography of functional materials

From simple metal oxides to metal-organic frameworks... from Li-ion batteries to perovskite multiferrioics...

Head of Laboratory

Laboratory for synthesis and crystallography of functional materials

Our focus

Our focus is set on synthesis, structural and microstructural characterization of functional inorganic and hybrid organic-ionorganic materials, as well as in applying the characterization results for optimizing the properties of materials.

Recently we have been investigated various mixed ionic and electronic conductors, new pathways for facile synthesis of heterometallic oxide materials from single-source molecular precursors. Additionally, recently, we have been dealing with improvement of sol-gel routes for doped spinels, elucidation of the correlation between cation distribution within spinel lattice and resulting magnetic behavior and design of new dielectric material for application in integrated electronics based on emerging ULTCC-I technology (ultralow temperature co-fired ceramic technology). We also started performing structural studies of novel Pb-free hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites for solar cells.

Selected research

Spinels as high performance anodes in Li-ion batteries

Among investigation of different materials properties, recently our focus has been set on bimetallic oxide materials as a high performance anodes in Li-ion batteries. Recently we showed that the best electrochemical performance of CoMn2O4 is achieved for sample having the largest, micrometre-sized particles and high degree of cation disorder between tetrahedral and octahedral lattice site. Regarding the durability of anode material tremendous progress has been achieved – prepared material was stable over 1000 cycles of charging/discharging with exceptionally high capacity retention of 104% after 1000 cycles (compared to the 2nd cycle). We also studied graphene-wrapped ZnMn2O4 materials as anodes in LiBs: excellent battery behaviour was found for samples annealed at lower temperatures; after 500 cycles the specific capacities for as-prepared ZnMn2O4 was 909 mAh/g, while ZnMn2O4 heat-treated at 300 °C showed 1179 mAh/g which amounts to 101 % of its initial capacity. Despite excellent performance of sample processed at 300 °C at lower charge/discharge rates, a drop in the specific capacity is observed with rate increase. This issue was solved by graphene oxide wrapping; specific capacity obtained after 400th cycle for graphene oxide wrapped ZnMn2O4 heat-treated at 300 °C was 799 mAh/g at charge/discharge rate 0.5 A/g, which is higher by factor 6 compared to sample without graphene oxide wrapping.

For more details check our papers; work on CoMn2O4:!divAbstract; work on ZnMn2O4:

Tayloring boundaries between the hard and soft magnetic behavior

Recently, we studied the correlation between cation distribution within CoMn2O4 spinel lattice and resulting magnetic behavior. We showed that the sizes of CoMn2O4 nanoparticles can easily be tuned, from 40 to 8 nm, depending on the temperature of decomposition of the single-source molecular precursor{[Co(bpy)3][Mn2(C2O4)3]·H2O}n. The structural features of the CoMn2O4 spinel are also affected by the heat treatment temperature, showing a pronounced expansion of unit cell parameters as a consequence of thermally induced cation redistribution between tetrahedral and octahedral sites. Moreover, the magnetic behavior of CoMn2O4 was successfully tailored as well; depending on the heat treatment, it is possible to switch between the superparamagnetic and ferrimagnetic ordering and to tailor the magnetic transition temperatures, i.e., the boundaries between the hard and soft magnetic behavior.

For more details check our paper:

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