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The majority of my PhD research seeks fundamental insights into complex energy storage materials.  Not stopping at the mechanistic picture, this understanding is applied to guide a rational search for, or design of, next generation materials.  Battery and supercapacitor applications are ubiquitous and the need for higher capacity, longer lifetime, faster charging rates, and higher power capability in a safe and efficient manner will only continue to rise.  Electric vehicles increasingly enter the roadways, intermittent renewable energy generation from solar and wind necessitate grid-scale energy storage, and the "internet of things" means portable energy storage will move beyond cell phones and laptops.

My research interests lie in structure–property relationships and the underlying fundamental characterisation of atomic and electronic structure.  At the atomic level, I seek to understand crystalline, disordered, and defect structures, which requires a combination of local and long-range structural techniques.  Synchrotron and neutron powder diffraction provide the long-range order while a combination of solid-state NMR, high-energy x-ray absorption, and quantum mechanical calculations give insight into the local order present in complex systems.  NMR is also useful for probing ion dynamics e.g. lithium or sodium diffusion in battery materials.  The use and development of both ex situ and in situ techniques has been important to achieve high resolution while taking care to observe metastable phases that may be induced during the charge/discharge of a battery material, especially at high-rate.

Theory and experiment are complementary; integrating the experimental evidence with quantum mechanical calculations for atomic, spectroscopic, and electronic structure details can yield deeper insights into complex systems.  For periodic systems and defect studies, I use the plane-wave DFT code CASTEP.  In combination with solid-state NMR, the calculated shift tensor (and quadrupolar tensor for I>1/2 nuclei) can help distinguish sites or select between various crystallographic models.  This combination is especially useful when analysing defects that are effectively invisible to average structure methods such as diffraction.

In terms of materials, I've been particularly interested in complex metal oxide structures such as the tungsten bronze (TB) phases and Wadsley-Roth crystallographic shear (CS) compounds.  Even when viewed as ideal versions, these structure families exhibit superstructure, unit cells with hundreds of atoms, local polyhedral distortions, and cation disorder/flexibility.  Whilst less well understood than the archetypal layered metal oxide structure of LiCoO2 or olivine structure of LiFePO4, the disorder and chemical flexibility of these TB and CS phases may be worth the effort as they yield new and unique properties.  On an entirely different note, phosphorus is a "soft" element that is most commonly amorphous (red phosphorus) but exhibits layered (black phosphorus) and two-dimensional (phosphorene) analogues, which are all interesting lithium- and sodium-ion battery anode materials.  In fact, the Na-P system represents the highest possible capacity of any sodium-ion battery anode.  Through a collaboration with the Morris group (Physics Dept., Cambridge) on ab initio structure searching methods, I am employing NMR to answer fundamental questions concerning the alkali metal phosphide intermediates that form during the cycling of phosphorus batteries.  This will be central to understanding and overcoming the capacity fade mechanism of this new battery candidate.  Other side and collaborative projects include NMR and DFT studies of Zintl phases, the defect structure and energetics in doped Si3N4 (beta-SiAlON), atomic layer deposition coatings for battery cathodes, the relationship between surface structure and electrochemical properties of two-dimensional MXene materials, new applications of quadrupolar NMR (especially 17O and 45Sc), and electrochemical theory surrounding high-rate redox properties and phase transitions.

See my profile on the Department Admissions Page:

Short video on my research by the University of Cambridge:

"Chemunicate" graphic on my work by Compound Interest:



  1. Deng, Yue; Eames, Christopher; Nguyen, Long H. B.; Pecher, Oliver; Griffith, Kent J.; Courty, Matthieu; Fleutot, Benoit; Chotard, Jean-Noël; Grey, Clare P.; Islam, M. Saiful; Masquelier, Christian Crystal Structures, Local Atomic Environments and Ion Diffusion Mechanisms of Scandium-substituted NASICON Solid Electrolytes. Chem. Mater. 2018.

  2. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b05237

  3. Griffith, Kent J.; Senyshyn, Anatoliy; Grey, Clare P. Structural Stability from Crystallographic Shear in TiO2–Nb2O5 Phases: Cation Ordering and Lithiation Behavior of TiNb24O62. Inorg. Chem. 2017, 56, 4002–4010.
    DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.6b03154

  4. Cozzan, Clayton; Griffith, Kent J.; Laurita, Geneva; Hu, Jerry G.; Grey, Clare P.; Seshadri, Ram Structural Evolution and Atom Clustering in β-SiAlON: β-Si6–zAlzOzN8–z. Inorg. Chem. 2017, 56, 2153–2158.
    DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.6b02780 (Open Access)

  5. Pecher, Oliver; Halat, David M.; Lee, Jeongjae; Liu, Zigeng; Griffith, Kent J.; Braun, Marco; Grey, Clare P. Enhanced Efficiency of Solid-State NMR Investigations of Energy Materials using an External Automatic Tuning/Matching (eATM) Robot. J. Magn. Reson. 2017, 275, 127-136.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmr.2016.12.008 (Open Access)

  6. Pecher, Oliver; Carretero-González, Javier; Griffith, Kent J.; Grey, Clare P. Materials’ Methods: NMR in Battery Research. Chem. Mater. 2016.
    DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.6b03183 (Open Access)

  7. Scherf, Lavinia M.; Pecher, Oliver; Griffith, Kent J.; Haarmann, Frank; Grey, Clare P.; Fässler, Thomas F. Zintl Phases K4−xNaxSi4 (1 ≤ x ≤ 2.2) and K7NaSi8: Synthesis, Crystal Structures, and Solid State NMR Spectroscopic Investigations. Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2016, 4674-4682.
    DOI: 10.1002/ejic.201600735

  8. Oyama, Gosuke; Pecher, Oliver; Griffith, Kent J.; Nishimura, Shin-ichi; Pigliapochi, Roberta, Grey, Clare P.; Yamada, Atsuo Sodium Intercalation Mechanism of 3.8 V Class Alluaudite Sodium Iron Sulfate. Chem. Mater. 2016, 28, 5321-5328.
    DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.6b01091 (Open Access)

  9. Editors’ Choice Article, JACS Spotlight Article
    Griffith, Kent J.; Forse, Alexander C.; Griffin, John M.; Grey, Clare P. High-Rate Intercalation without Nanostructuring in Metastable Nb2O5 Bronze Phases. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 8888–8899.
    DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b04345 (Open Access)

  10. Mayo, Martin; Griffith, Kent J.; Pickard, Chris J.; Morris, Andrew J. Ab Initio Study of Phosphorus Anodes for Lithium- and Sodium-Ion Batteries. Chem. Mater. 2016, 28, 2011-2021.
    DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.5b04208 (Open Access)

  11. Hope, Michael A.; Forse, Alex, C.; Griffith, Kent J.; Lukatskaya, Maria R.; Ghidiu, Michael; Gogotsi, Yury; Grey, Clare P. NMR Reveals the Surface Functionalisation of Ti3C2 MXene. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2016, 18, 5099-5102.
    DOI: 10.1039/C6CP00330C (Open Access)

  12. Ewing, Michael A.; Conant, Christopher R. P.; Zucker, Steven M.; Griffith, Kent J.; Clemmer, David E. Selected Overtone Mobility Spectrometry (SOMS). Anal. Chem. 2015, 87, 5132-5138.
    DOI: 10.1021/ac504555u You can view the full text of this article freely at

  13. Foley, Matthew P.; Du, Peng; Griffith, Kent J.; Karty, Jonathan A.; Mubarak, Muhammad S.; Raghavachari, Krishnan; Peters, Dennis G. J. Electrochemistry of Substituted Salen Complexes of Nickel(II): Nickel(I)-catalyzed Reduction of Alkyl and Acetylenic Halides. Electroanal. Chem. 2010, 647, 194-203.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jelechem.2010.06.001


Educational Background


University of Cambridge

Cambridge, UK

PhD+ with Prof. Clare P. Grey, FRS (Chemistry)

Indiana University

Bloomington, IN, USA

B.S. Chemistry

Minors: Mathematics, Geological Sciences

Research Projects with Prof. David E. Clemmer (Chemistry), Prof. David L. Bish (Geological Sciences), and Prof. Dennis G. Peters (Chemistry)


Contact Information

kg376 [at]

Department of Chemistry

University of Cambridge

Lensfield Road

Cambridge, CB2 1EW

United Kingdom


Electrochemistry of substituted salen complexes of nickel(II): Nickel(I)-catalyzed reduction of alkyl and acetylenic halides
MP Foley, P Du, KJ Griffith, JA Karty, MS Mubarak, K Raghavachari, DG Peters
– Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry
Crystal structures, local atomic environments and ion diffusion mechanisms of scandium-substituted NASICON solid electrolytes
Y Deng, C Eames, L Nguyen, O Pecher, KJ Griffith, M Courty, B Fleutot, J-N Chotard, C Grey, MS Islam, C Masquelier
– Chemistry of Materials
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01223 763526

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