The College congratulates Fellow in Materials Science Prof Robert Weatherup who has been awarded the 2023 Analytical Science Early Career Prize by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Professor Weatherup has received the Joseph Black Prize for the development and application of interface-sensitive X-ray spectroscopies for observing reactions in atmospheric pressure and liquid environments.

Professor Weatherup’s work focuses on observing the reactions that occur at the interfaces between materials and their operating environment. This is often where both beneficial and undesired reactions take place. In lithium-ion batteries, for example, charge is stored by transferring lithium ions across the interface between a liquid electrolyte and a solid electrode. At the same time, the electrolyte can break down producing undesired products and wasting charge.

My group uses a lot of advanced characterisation techniques at large-scale facilities, and many of the measurements we perform simply wouldn’t be possible without working in teams.

Given these interfaces are usually buried within a battery, it can be challenging to obtain information on the chemical changes occurring. Professor Weatherup has developed several new approaches that use X-rays to access these interfaces through thin windows, helping us to better understand the processes that limit the lifetime of batteries, or the efficiency of catalysts used for the green production of chemicals.

Taken from citation on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s website.