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Driscoll Research Group


Theme 2. Storage, Generation, and Transmission

A sustainable planet requires not only less use of energy. While our aim in Theme 1 is Energy efficient ICT, i.e. in the use part of energy, we also need to consider greener energy generation, transmission and storage. There are strong links and cross-cutting themes between themes 1 and 2. For example, controlling the electrochemical processes in oxide resistive memory is relevant to thin film batteries and micro-SOFC. Oxide thin film materials are the key enabling platform for all the studies.


a) Superconductors for lossless power applications

Prof. Driscoll has worked on copper oxide high temperature superconductors (HTS) since their discovery in 1986. She invented nanopinning in YBCO and also low pO2, liquid assisting processing. These methods have been taken up by industry. There is a strong current interest in HTS for fusion power, lossless power transmission, and generators on wind turbines. Both in terms of performance and low cost, successful deployment of these applications requires novel materials science, engineering and processing of HTS systems, not only of YBCO but other less explored cuprates. We are engaged in all these areas (example in Fig. 4). We collaborate with researchers at ENEA in Italy, SuNAM in Korea, the Naval Research Lab in the US, and Tokomak Energy, UK.


Research Theme 4


Figure 4. Plot of Tc versus c parameter in La2CuO4-d with a parameter as a variable on the plot. For the first time, c and a have been tuned independently in the crystal structure which has produced an increase of the Tc from <30K to 50K.


Example references:

Choi EM, Di Bernardo A, Zhu B, Lu P, Alpern H, Zhang KLH, Shapira T, Feighan J, Sun X, Robinson J, Paltiel Y, Millo O, Wang H, Jia Q.X, MacManus-Driscoll JL, 3D strain-induced superconductivity in La2CuO4+δ using a simple vertically aligned nanocomposite approach, Science Advances. April 2019;5,eaav5532.

Choi EM, Zhu B, Lu P, Feighan J, Sun X, Wang H, and MacManus-Driscoll JL, Magnetic signatures of 120 K superconductivity at interfaces in La2CuO4+δ, Nanoscale. Jan 2020; 12, 3157

Celentano G, Rizzo F, Augieri A, Mancini A, Rufoloni A, Vannozzi A, MacManus-Driscoll JL, Feighan J, Kursumovic A, Meledin A, Van Tendeloo, G, YBa2Cu3O7-x films with Ba2Y(Nb,Ta)O6 nanoinclusions for high field application, Supercond. Sci. Tech. Feb 2020; 33, 044010



b) Ionics for Energy Storage and Conversion

Interfaces in ionic systems, whether they be solid state batteries or fuel cells, are limiting to performance. Using our perfect superlattice and nanocomposite film systems (Fig. 5), and by doing wide ranging characterisation (including NMR of films removed from substrates) we are understanding these limitations, and then devising new film compositions and structures to overcome them.


Research Theme 5


Figure 5. Self-assembled ionic nanocomposite films used for probing ionic motion along and across interfaces. (courtesy of B. Zhu, Driscoll group.


Example references:

Acosta M, Baiutti F, Tarancon A, MacManus-Driscoll JL, Nanostructured Materials and Interfaces for Advanced Ionic Electronic Conducting Oxides, Advanced Materials Interfaces. May 2019; 6, 1900462.

Zhu B, Schusteritsch G, Lu P, MacManus-Driscoll JL, Pickard CJ, Determining Interface Structures in Vertically Aligned Nanocomposite Films, APL Materials. May 2019; 7, 061105.


c) Ferroelectrics for energy storage and conversion

High performance energy storage devices are in very high demand in electric vehicles (EVs), where it is critical to store and deliver energy quickly. Ferroelectric materials have high capacitance and can deliver energy more quickly than conventional batteries, while batteries have higher energy density. Oxide thin films have an important role to play in both capacitors and solid state battery components. We have used new thin film processing approaches to demonstrate very high performance ferroelectric material (Fig. 6).


The material has a high dielectric breakdown strength, a flat capacitance from 100°C to 300°C, and high energy density, all of which are required for EVs.


Research Theme 6


Figure 6. High Energy Storage in Precision Engineered Thin films of BaTiO3+BiFeO3

In collaboration with Prof. Khare in IIT Delhi, we’ve showed the benefits of ferroelectricity for photoelectrochemical generation of H2. We used nanoporous ferroelectric Ag,Nb-codoped to achieve a ∼3-fold enhancement in photocurrent by decreasing the flat-band potential (giant ferroelectric tuning of the band alignment at the semiconductor surface) which gave rise to enhanced charge transfer.


Example references:

Kursumovic A, Cho S, The DHL, and MacManus-Driscoll JL, Lead-Free Relaxor Ferroelectric Thin Films with Huge Energy Storage Density and Low Dielectric Loss for High Temperature applications, Nano Energy. May 2020; 71,104536.

Singh S, Sangle AL, Khare N, MacManus-Driscoll JL, Growth of Doped SrTiO3, Ferroelectric Nanoporous Thin Films and Tuning of Photoelectrochemical Properties with Switchable Ferroelectric Polarization, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, Nov 2019, 11, 49.


d) Oxides in solar cells

We have been using oxides in solar cells either as hole or electron transport layers, or for new defect tolerant absorber, e.g. BiOI, or both. Oxides are excellent materials as transport layers as they can be doped to enable good band matching across interfaces (Fig. 7).


 Research Theme 7 v2


Figure 7. Band positions of electron transport layers (yellow), bismuth-based absorbers (red) and hole transport layers (green).


Example references:

Jagt R, Huq TN, Hill SA, Thway M, Liu T, Napari M, Roose B, Galkowsk K, Li W, Lin SF, Stranks SD, MacManus-Driscoll JL, Hoye RLZ, Printed high-mobility p-type buffer layers on perovskite photovoltaics for efficient semi-transparent devices, 2020.

Li Y Hoye RLZ, Gao H-H, Yan L, Zhang X, Zhou Y, MacManus-Driscoll JL, Gan J, Over 20% Efficiency in Methylammonium Lead Iodide Perovskite Solar Cells with Enhanced Stability via “In-Situ Solidification” of the TiO2 Compact Layer, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. Jan 2020; 12, 7135.

Huq TN, Lee Eyre L, Li W. Jagt RA, Kim C, Fearn S, Pecunia V, Deschler F, MacManus-Driscoll JL, Hoye RLZ, Electronic Structure and Optoelectronic Properties of Bismuth Oxyiodide Robust Against Percent-Level Iodine, Oxygen- and Bismuth-Related Surface Defects, Advanced Functional Materials. Feb 2020; 30, 1909983

Lee LC, Hug, TH, MacManus-Driscoll, JL, Hoye, RLZ, Bismuth-based perovskite-inspired photovoltaic materials. APL Materials. Aug 2018;6:084502.



Prof. Driscoll warmly welcomes enquiries from prospective students, post-docs or visitors who are interested in working with us or learning more about what we do.

For a full list of MacManus-Driscoll publications, please see: