Dr Alex W Robertson

I'm a materials scientist working to understand the nanoscale behaviour of materials, and how this can be related to their performance, degradation, and failure. Rechargeable batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, and catalysts all undergo complex changes during use; my goal is to reveal this at the atomic level with techniques like transmission electron microscopy.

I started in the Materials Department at Oxford with a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2018, and now work closely with the battery and catalyst communities of the Department, wider University, and internationally to understand structural dynamics and failure mechanisms of new energy materials.

E: alex.robertson@materials.ox.ac.uk

P: +44 (0)1865 212799

Positions

  • Royal Society University Research Fellow, Oxford University 01/2018

  • Post-Doctoral Researcher, Pacific Northwest National Lab 01/2017 - 12/2017

  • Post-Doctoral Researcher, Oxford University 04/2013 - 12/2016

Qualifications

  • Materials Science PhD, Oxford University 2009 - 2013

  • Physics MPhys, Durham University 2005 - 2009

Personal Statement

I am a materials scientist interested in the characterisation of nanomaterials and interface for energy applications. My particular specialities are in two-dimensional materials, transmission electron microscopy, and in-situ characterisation techniques. I am an author on over 90 publications in journals including ACS Energy Letters, Nano Letters, Nature Communications, and Science, with over 4,500 citations and an h-index of 37.

 

I completed my materials science doctorate at Oxford University in 2013, for the thesis Synthesis and Characterisation of Large Area Graphene, with Prof Jamie Warner. Synthesising graphene by chemical vapour deposition (CVD) is regarded as the most promising route to industrial scale graphene suitable for high-end electronic applications. During my PhD I developed one of the first atmospheric pressure CVD systems for graphene. I worked extensively on the atomic resolution characterisation of defects in graphene and other 2D materials, using these 2D crystals as ideal model systems to better understand how defects behave at single atom levels.

 

I continued as a post-doctoral researcher at Oxford, co-funded by an international collaboration with the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER), researching nanomaterials for energy storage and catalysis through atomic resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In tandem with this I established Oxford’s first in-situ electronic device TEM capability, building on work I had completed on in-situ heating studies of graphene sub-nanometre pores and dislocations. This was used for the characterisation of suspended 2D nanomaterial electronic devices. 

In 2017 I worked as a post-doc at the Pacific Northwest National Lab in the USA, working on in-situ liquid-cell TEM and dynamic TEM (DTEM) in Prof Nigel Browning’s group. During my time in PNNL I secured a Royal Society Research Fellowship, which I started in Oxford at the beginning of 2018.

 

Since returning to Oxford I have established a group interested in understanding the nanoscale behaviour of materials, and how this can be related to their performance, degradation, and failure. Rechargeable batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, and catalysts all undergo complex changes during use; my goal is to reveal this at the atomic level with techniques like transmission electron microscopy.