Paul Attfield is furthering our understanding of the electronic structure of solids through his notable experimental work. A central theme of Paul’s research is to discover how unusual conducting and magnetic properties arise as a consequence of a material’s chemical composition and structure.
He devotes much of his time to investigating charge ordering — a phase transition seen in strongly correlated materials. Charge ordering was first observed at low temperatures in the iron oxide magnetite — the most magnetic naturally occurring mineral on Earth — by Evert Verwey in 1939. Using X-ray spectroscopy, Paul and his team were able to reveal the charge-ordered structure of magnetite, which they published in the journal Nature in 2011.
Paul also synthesises and characterises new materials with technologically important electronic properties. Such properties include superconductivity at high temperatures, colossal magnetoresistance — the extreme change in a material’s electrical resistance under a magnetic field — and negative thermal expansion, where a material contracts rather than expands upon heating.