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Research Fellows Directory

John Attfield

Professor John Attfield

Research Fellow


University of Edinburgh

Research summary

Extreme conditions, meaning unusually high pressures combined with high or low

temperatures, can greatly help electronic materials discovery. Many new atomic

arrangements in materials are created at high pressures and temperatures – in

our laboratory we recreate the same conditions that diamonds are formed at

within the Earth. We use these high pressure-temperature conditions to make

new compounds combining several different metals with oxide and nitride

anions. High pressure also changes the electrical properties of materials, as atoms are

forced together making it easier for electrons to move between them. Experiments

to follow how the conductivity and magnetism of materials alter with changing

temperature, pressure and magnetic field are valuable to guide theory, and to

discover new properties. For example, many electronic materials become

superconducting at low temperatures - they conduct electricity with zero

resistance and repel magnets, leading to practical uses ranging from electricity

transmission to levitated trains.

The results of this project will be useful to those who design new magnetic and

conducting materials, who are trying to understand the theory of highly correlated

electrons, who build high pressure measurement equipment, and who are making

new types of electronic device.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Electronic Materials and Extreme Conditions

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Dates: Sep 2012 - Aug 2017

Value: £50,000

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