Postdoctoral Researcher, December 2015 – Present
Dr. Stefan Saxin is a researcher whose main interests are solid-state chemistry, materials science, technology, energy conversion and energy storage.
He did his PhD in chemistry on investigating silicon oxide phosphate as a solid proton conductor for the application of low–intermediate fuel cells, under the supervision of Prof John Irvine. Fuel cells are energy transforming devices that deliver higher efficiencies than combustion engines, with no emissions except for water. They use the chemical energy stored in e.g. hydrogen molecules and convert this directly to electric energy that can power a range of devices, even vehicles.
Materials are ubiquitous and they are something that mankind has always made use of (and something that requires constantly new knowledge in). Many technological innovations have been made possible through progress in industry and research, and all products and innovations ultimately come down to materials – how much of the materials are accessible, what price can they be made available for, what purity do they have, what are the properties, etc etc. These are all questions that merit an answer when developing products and new constructions.
A case in point can be the Forth Rail bridge in Scotland, that connects Edinburgh with Fife – it is now over 125 years ago it was finished and it was recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the first major steel construction to be built in Britain, and this was thanks to advances in steel processing with open hearth furnaces which gave consistent quality of steel. It is currently trafficked by about 200 trains per day!
This engineering masterpiece can be contrasted to the Forth road bridge that has given 51 years of service. It had an original planned lifespan of 120 years but due to a combination of exceeding the maximum capacity as well as corrosion and structural issues the bridge is now closed – more than a year ahead of the new crossing which was designed to alleviate traffic from the current road bridge.
These two examples show where a proper grasp of materials science can be very valuable, as it can have a huge impact on how an economy develops.
Stefan’s overall research goal is to learn more about how structure affects properties in solid state materials. Fields that he finds particularly interesting and would like to pursue more are solid state proton conductors, oxygen conductors, zeolites, nanomaterials, multiferroics and thin films. Stefan is also experienced and interested in the general areas of perovskites, phosphates and materials for fuel cells – the key question is how we can improve properties in these materials and tailor them to suit the applications better, while bearing in mind to keep the material costs low and processes straightforward so they are suitable for mass-production.
Currently Stefan has begun work on a sustainable energy project for golf course maintenance in collaboration with The Royal and Ancient Golf Club and St Andrews Links Trust.
In his spare time he likes to go jogging, hill walking, and experiment with both analogue and digital photography.
- PhD in Chemistry, University of St Andrews, Scotland
- Master of Science (MSc) in chemistry, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
- Bachelor of Science (BSc) in chemistry, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
School of Chemistry,
University of St Andrews
Fife KY16 9ST
Tel: +44 (0)7804 921672