Search A-Z index Contact
University of Cambridge Home
Department of Physics
Cavendish Laboratory
Cavendish Laboratory >  Research >  Quantum Matter >

Quantum Matter Links

Contact Details

Postal Address

Dr. Sian Dutton
Cavendish Laboratory
JJ Thomson Ave.
Cambridge CB3 0HE

Phone & Fax

Phone: 01223 764159


Dr. Sian Dutton

Sian Dutton

About Me

I am a Winton Advanced Fellow working in the QM group on new materials for electrodes for Li-ion batteries. I am also affiliated with the Department of Chemistry and carry out some experimental work in the department.

Dutton Group Research

Dutton group research summary

Research in the Dutton group is focused on controlling functional materials and it covers aspects of condensed matter physics with strong links to both chemistry and materials science. We focus on the preparation and characterisation of a wide range of materials from complex metal oxides insulators to hybrid inorganic-organic semiconductors for a variety of applications including:
established technologies such as Li-ion batteries, 
emerging technologies including magnetocalorics, and hybrid photovoltaics, 
exploratory work with potential technological applications, for example Mg-ion batteries, low dimensional ferroelectrics, and magnetricity. 
Through understanding the role of the composition, crystal structure and resulting electronic structure on the physical properties we explore the operating and failure mechanisms of materials and ultimately optimise performance.

New Electrodes for Rechargeable Batteries
The commercialisation of Li-ion batteries by Sony in the 1990s enabled the explosion in the use of small portable electronics. However extension to higher power or larger systems has been restricted by limitations on the component materials, most notably the positive electrode. In our research we employ a number of strategies to search for new materials, these include forming metastable materials through low temperature reactions, making complex derivatives of known electrode materials and targeted searches for new materials. By focusing on new materials and carrying out comprehensive investigations into the structural and electrochemical properties our aim is to both expand the range of candidate electrode materials and to understand the mechanisms of ion transport and failure in battery systems.
Representative Publications:
MgxMn2-xB2O5 Pyroborates (2/3≤x≤4/3): High Capacity and High Rate Cathodes for Li-ion batteries
Chemistry of  Materials, 29(7), 3118 (2017)
H. F. J. Glass, Z. Liu, P. M. Bayley, E. Suard, S.-H. Bo, P. G. Khalifah, C. P. Grey, and S. E. Dutton
LiMnTiO4 with the Na0.44MnO2 Structure as a Positive Electrode for Lithium-Ion Batteries
Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 163, A396 (2016)
A. M. Amigues, H. F. J. Glass and S. E. Dutton

Lanthanide Oxides for Solid State Magnetic Cooling
Current low temperature applications are primarily associated with scientific research; however superconducting magnets in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners and other medical applications also require cooling to low temperatures. The most common way to cool to 2 K is through the use of helium gas, however this is becoming increasingly scarce and alternative cooling methods must be explored. Magnetic cooling uses the magnetocaloric effect to change the entropy in the system and reduce the temperature. At low temperatures the limit of cooling is given by magnetic ordering temperature. Typically salts with dilute magnetic lattices to supress the magnetic ordering are used, allowing for cooling to low temperatures, 
T < 100mK. Rather than using a dilute magnetic system an alternative way to suppress the ordering transition of a magnetic material is through geometric magnetic frustration. For lanthanide ions, Ln3+, where the Weiss temperature is already small the magnetic ordering transition can be suppressed to very low temperatures. Complex oxides containing frustrated Ln3+ ions have a much greater concentration of magnetic ions than the dilute magnetic salts; greater chemical stability allows for ease of handle and ultimately an extension of the product lifetime. Their versatility allows for a wide range of accessible chemical compositions and the use of chemical manipulation to tune the properties.
Representative Publications:
Enhanced magnetocaloric effect from Cr substitution in Ising lanthanide gallium garnets Ln3CrGa4O12 (Ln = Tb, Dy, Ho)
Advanced Functional Materials, 27, 1701950 (2017)
P. Mukherjee, S. E. Dutton
Enhancement of the magnetocaloric effect driven by changes in the crystal structure of Al doped GGG, Gd3Ga5-xAlxO12 (0 < x < 5)
Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter26, 116001 (2014)
A. C. Sackville Hamilton, G. I. Lampronti, S. E. Rowley, and S. E. Dutton

Novel Order in Frustrated Magnets
Many of the lanthanide oxides we study as magnetocalorics have a geometrically frustrated magnet lattice. In a frustrated magnet it isn't possible for all of the magnetic interactions to be satisfied simultaneously, and the magnetic ordering is suppressed. Frustration can give rise to exotic magnetic phases such as spin-ices and spin-liquids. We have recently explored spin-ice properties in a two-dimensional analogue of spin-ice by preparing a cation ordered pyrochlore, Dy
3Mg2Sb3O14. We find evidence for formation of a fragmented magnetic ground state which shows features characteristic of both the presence and absence of long range magnetic order. Other systems of interest include the Ising garnets, where we have observed complete relief of the magnetic frustration on selective substitution of Mn3+, and the S=1/2 quantum spin-liquid candidate, LiCuSbO4.​
Representative Publications:
​Relieving the frustration through Mn3+ substitution in holmium gallium garnet 
Physical Review B, 96, 140412(R) (2017) 
P. Mukherjee, H. F. J. Glass, E. Suard, S. E. Dutton
Emergent Order in the Kagome Ising Magnet Dy3Mg2Sb3O14
Nature Communications, 7, 13842 (2016)
J. A. M. Paddison, H. S. Ong, J. O. Hamp, P. Mukherjee, X. Bai, M. G. Tucker, N. P. Butch, C. Castelnovo, M. Mourigal, S. E. Dutton

Development of in-situ experimental probes
In order to understand the physical properties of a material or device, such as a solar cell or battery, it is important to understand the changes occurring during operation. We have developed techniques to study the changes in the structure of hybrid-pervoskites when irradiated by light, and are now developing techniques to explore changes in the electrical and specific heat under illumination. As part of our work exploring changes in the magnetic properties of an electrode during cycling, we are developing an electrochemical cell for in-situ dc and ac magnetic susceptibility measurements.
Representative Publications:
Formation of long-lived color centers for broadband visible light emission in low-dimensional layered perovskites
Journal of American Chemical Society, 139, 18632 (2017)
E. Booker, T. Thomas, C. Quarti, M. Stanton, C. Dashwood, A. Gillett, J. Richter, A. Pearson,  N. Davis, H. Sirringhaus, M. Price, N. Greenham, D. Beljonne, S. E. Dutton, F. Deschler
MgxMn2-xB2O5 Pyroborates (2/3≤x≤4/3): High Capacity and High Rate Cathodes for Li-ion batteries
Chemistry of  Materials, 29(7), 3118 (2017)
H. F. J. Glass, Z. Liu, P. M. Bayley, E. Suard, S.-H. Bo, P. G. Khalifah, C. P. Grey, and S. E. Dutton