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Welcome to our lab! 

Principal Investigator:

Dr Alex Forse


I'm Alex, from Coventry in the UK. I moved to Cambridge for my undergraduate and then PhD degrees, where I worked on the energy storage mechanisms of supercapacitors. I then moved to the University of California, Berkeley, where I worked on metal-organic framework materials for carbon dioxide capture. Time living in San Francisco rekindled my love of the ocean, and I spent my spare time surfing in the Pacific. Now back in Cambridge as a group leader, I enjoy outdoor swimming, and can also be found venturing to north Norfolk, Devon and Cornwall in search of waves. I am also a budding amateur gardener and am happy to provide cuttings!




Dr Zhen Xu






I am Zhen Xu (徐朕). I am from Wuxi in Jiangsu, China. I did my PhD in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, where I explored Nature-Inspired Carbon Materials for Sodium-Based Energy Storage under the supervision of Prof. Magda Titirici. Before starting my PhD studies, I received BEng in Polymer Materials and Engineering from Donghua University in 2017. I studied Electrospun Polyindole Nanofibers for All-Solid-State Flexible Supercapacitors at State Key Laboratory for Modification of Chemical Fibres and Polymer Materials (SKLFPM) supervised by Dr. Shengyuan Yang and Prof. Meifang Zhu. Now I am a Research Associate in Dr. Alexander Forse's group at University of Cambridge, focusing on the development of Electrochemical Carbon Dioxide Capture. In my free time, I enjoy music and sports.






Dr Anouk L'Hermitte




Bonjour ! I am originally from France and I have lived in the UK since 2015 when I started my MPhil in advanced chemical engineering in Cambridge. I then worked in R&D for a food company near London, before starting a PhD at Imperial College London under the supervision of Prof Camille Petit. In my PhD, I worked on the synthesis and characterisation of inorganic adsorbents for post-combustion carbon capture and thermal energy storage. As part of my research, I had the opportunities to spend some time in Tokyo Tech, Japan and at the University of Ottawa, Canada, which were both incredible experiences. I have now moved (back) to Cambridge as a postdoctoral researcher in the Forse group and I am focusing on characterising and scaling up carbon-based adsorbents for direct air capture. Outside the department, I enjoy baking, going to the gym and being outdoors in general, whether it is for walking, skiing or surfing!





PhD Students:

Dongxun Lyu






I’m Dongxun Lyu, I am a graduate student working on carbon-based supercapacitors in aqueous electrolytes. During my MPhil study, I worked on studying the ion adsorption at carbon-electrolyte interfaces. Moving onto PhD, I am now working on the application of magnetic resonance techniques to study the charge storage mechanism in a working supercapacitor.







Jamie Gittins

I was born and raised in Chester, a city in North England on the border with Wales. In 2016, I decided to move down south to attend the University of Cambridge where I earned my BA and MSci in Natural Sciences (Chemistry). During my Masters, I started working with Alex to investigate the behaviour of two-dimensional electrically conductive metal-organic frameworks in supercapacitors. I loved the work so much that I decided to commit to 4 more years in Cambridge and continue my studies on MOF supercapacitors as a postgraduate. I have since branched out to begin investigating the local chemical structure of this family of MOFs using solid-state NMR. Outside of Cambridge, I spent a summer working with AkzoNobel to develop new polymer characterisation techniques. Away from lab work, I enjoy playing golf, watching films, cooking, and cheering on my favourite football team, Wrexham.



Emma Latchem



At the University of York, I received my MChem and conducted my Master’s research project in industry at the Solvay Composite Materials Strategic R&I Group. In the summer holidays I also took part in research projects at the Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories and the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, which were focused on understanding indoor air emissions from different materials using mass-spectrometry and low-cost metal-oxide sensors. In my current PhD research, I am investigating how NMR spectroscopy can be applied to understand the transport in separator membranes used in organic redox flow batteries. In my free time, I enjoy doing anything that involves being outdoors; my favourite activities are skiing and hiking.





Niamh Hartley



I’m originally from Manchester and went to the University of York for my undergraduate degree. While there I was able to participate in various research projects in different areas of chemistry; liquid crystal synthesis at University of York, green chemistry at Sichuan University and polyoxovanadium clusters at University of Rochester. Researching the electrochemical behaviour of clusters was when I first discovered how fun experimental electrochemistry can be. I graduated with a master’s in chemistry while working at Tokyo Technology on the role of Ni0 in direct reductive amination. After graduating, I decided to continue to research in electrochemistry and applied for a postgraduate position in the Forse lab. I am now working on electrochemical carbon capture research using porous materials. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and going for dips in the Cam.








Grace Mapstone





I completed my undergraduate masters degree in chemistry at the University of Warwick where my masters project centred around the synthesis of battery anode materials. For my postgraduate study I am a NanoDTC student. Through the masters year I have undertaken research projects looking at the solid state NMR of perovskites, designing hydrogels and looking at materials for supercapacitor electrodes. I am now completing a PhD project co-supervised with Professor Michael De Volder (Department of Engineering) investigating carbon capture using supercapacitors.








Chloe Balhatchet

I came from Leicester to Cambridge to study for a BA in Natural Sciences. In the summer of 2019, I worked in the Clarke group on metal-organic frameworks which inspired me to do an MSci in chemistry. I am passionate about the environment to work in a group whose research was aligned with my values, so in my masters project I worked with Alex and Jamie on studying the structure and electrolyte adsorption of two-dimensional electrically conductive metal-organic frameworks for supercapacitors, using diffraction, solid-state NMR and DFT. I found research was hugely rewarding, and so I decided to continue with a PhD. I have also worked with Dr Eloise Marais on rocket emissions and Dr James Keeler on the 12th Edition of Atkins’ Physical Chemistry. Outside of chemistry, I really enjoy vegan cooking (the pig in the photo is at a rescued animal sanctuary, not a farm!), and long walks in nature. 




Ben Rhodes





I’m originally form Leamington Spa in Warwickshire before I moved south to undertake my undergraduate at Oxford University in chemistry. I completed my masters project there in laser spectroscopy of plasmas, as well as various summer projects in computational methods, before crossing to over to Cambridge (a.k.a. ‘the Other Place’) for my PhD starting in Jan 2022. My projects here aim to improve understanding of the mechanistic details of CO2 capture process in materials synthesised in the group. Through the combined use of computational methods and solid-state NMR techniques, the ultimate aim is to feedback into the synthesis process to act as a guide to potential future target CO2 capture materials. Away from chemistry I enjoy playing sports: touch rugby, cricket, cycling and running, and also a bit of violin playing, when I have the time. 






Jack Taylor





Last year I worked in the Forse group for my masters project in synthesising quinone derivatives for their application in electrochemical CO₂ capture. For my PhD studies I am carrying on with this work while also adding a component of computational modelling. In my spare time I love to read and when the conditions are just right, I also enjoy sailing.





Xinyu Liu




My name is Xinyu Liu.(刘芯妤)I was born and raised in Jilin, a very northern city and the earliest automobile industry base in China. I completed my undergraduate studies majoring in materials physics at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, during which I focused on investigating the intrinsic defects in semiconductors through solid state NMR. I am now studying for my PhD at Cambridge, having previously completed my MPhil in the Forse group, and I am investigating pore accessibility of various activated carbons in supercapacitors through NMR spectroscopy. During my spare time, I enjoy cooking and trying new food.









Zeke Coady

Hello! My research in the Forse group seeks to better understand electrochemical carbon capture mechanisms using NMR spectroscopy. Prior to joining the group, I completed my undergraduate degree with Honours at the Australian National University in Canberra 2019. In my Honours I investigated the design, synthesis and properties of molecules with host-guest binding activity for use in catalysis under the supervision of Dr Nicholas White. I subsequently worked in the Australian federal government on sustainable transport policy, before coming to Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Outside of the lab, I spend my time cooking, rowing, and travelling.










Zugus Trisukhon

สวัสดีค่าา ! (Sawasdee Ka), this is Zugus, your favourite doll imported from South East Asia. I’m from Thailand. I received a BSc in Chemistry (1st Class Honour) from Chulalongkorn University in 2020. My first time travelling abroad was when I went to Texas A&M University for my summer internship. The experience was wonderfully amazing and challenging. My project during the internship was mainly focusing on synthesis of new Chemiluminescent Energy-Transfer Cassettes between iodo-cyanine dye and luminol via Suzuki Coupling Reaction. As for my senior project, I also worked on organic synthesis; however, the application of the final compounds was what made me pivot to another research area. I synthesised phthalocyanine dyes, which can be used as catalysts in a process of electrochemical reduction of CO2. That was the moment when I realised that I can save the world in some way, so I decided to work on projects tackling CO2 problems, and yes, here I am in The Forse Group. As for my project here in Cambridge, I will be focusing on CO2 capture by electrochemical method called Supercapacitive Swing Adsorption, and Charged Adsorbents. I saw everybody mentioned about their leisure time activities, I really do not have anything specific, so if you know that I am free, please give me a call! 





Part III Students: 

Tristan Spreng



My name is Tristan and I grew up near Frankfurt in Germany. After school, I moved to Cambridge to start studying Natural Sciences where I took courses like evolutionary biology and special relativity but focused on Chemistry from year 3 onwards. I joined the Forse Group in July 2022 as a summer research student working on carbon-based adsorbent materials for direct air capture with Dr Shivani Sharma. To see that there are materials removing CO2, the biggest contributor to climate change, reliably from the air was fascinating and lead me to stay for my master’s project starting in October 2022. I will be investigating the selectivity of supercapacitive swing adsorption. Outside of the lab I enjoy playing hockey, piano and cooking with friends.









Samuel Bird



My name is Samuel. I was born in Dublin but moved to the UK when I was seven and grew up in a small town in Norfolk. I am currently doing my undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge. I initially took courses in chemistry, physics, and materials science before specialising in chemistry in my later years. I am now in my fourth year and doing my master's project in the Forse group. My research focuses on electrochemical CO2 capture using quinone based materials. In my free time I read quite a lot (usually sci-fi/fantasy) or sometimes play ultimate frisbee.









Visiting Students: