I am currently in the third year of my PhD at Warwick, investigating the effect lone pair ions have on the structure of novel glasses. In order to extract information on glass structure a range of complimentary techniques are needed including neutron diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance, extended x-ray fine structure, Raman and reverse monte carlo modelling.
Lone pair cations are of general interest in glass studies due to their highly asymmetric coordinations. This asymmetry of the structural unit results in the charge associated with the lone pair being highly polarisable, producing strong non-linear optical effects. By understanding the structure of the glass and effect of changing composition on the extension of the lone pair cations, these optical properties can be better exploited.
The glass systems which I am studying include glasses where the lone pair is a network modifier, i.e. lead aluminates, and ones where the ion acts as a glass former, i.e. sodium tellurites and tellurium borates.
My work is funded by EPSRC, and I also recieve a CASE award from the CCLRC Centre for Material Physics and Chemistry.