Professor Duncan Gregory; solid state and nitride chemistry; batteries, hydrogen storage, nanomaterials and microwave synthesis

Prof. Duncan H Gregory

School of Chemistry
University of Glasgow

Glasgow G12 8QQ


Telephone: +44 (0) 141 330 6438
FAX: +44 (0) 330 4888



Our interests lie in the synthesis, structure and physical properties of inorganic solids.

The underlying theme in our approach is to identify and modify materials on the basis of their atomic or ionic arrangements. To achieve this in often exotic systems of materials, requires use of original and unusual synthetic methodology.
We are primarily concerned with investigating non-oxide systems where new structure types and bonding arrangements lead to unexpected and exciting properties.

Our aims are to discover new materials with potentially useful physical properties, particularly with projected applications in electronics, information technology and sustainable energy.

Current research areas

The group's current research breaks down into several key areas: Non-oxide materials, fuel storage and sutainable energy materials, inorganic nanomaterials and sustainable materials processing. These are outlined briefly below. For more information, follow the hypertext links.

Our non-oxide research is concentrated in two major areas: (a) Nitrides and Pnictides, (b) Chalcogenides.

In (a) we are primarily interested in a number of low dimensionally structured materials mainly involving the transition metals but also s- and f block elements. Highlights of our work and developments in nitride chemistry are reviewed in ref. 9 and ref. 10.
In (b) our research focuses on low dimensional solids formed with S, Se and Te, transition metals and electropositive elements.

Both these broad groups require innovative synthetic approaches and yield a wealth of intriguing compounds. Potential applications include low dimensional magnets, metals and superconductors, rechargeable batteries, nanomaterials (see below) thermoelectrics and hydrogen stores (see below).

Projects funded by the EC, EPSRC and industry focus on the synthesis, characterisation and testing of novel systems for storing hydrogen and ammonia for use in future power generation (e.g. with fuel cells in automotive applications). Other work under this category includes the synthesis and characterisation of new anode and electrolyte materials for lithium ion batteries and chalcogenide nanomaterials for use as new thermoelectrics. See ref. 1 for an article highlighting some aspects of our hydrogen storage work.

Research in this area focuses chiefly on the synthesis of new nanotubes, -wires, -fibres and -sheets formed not from carbon but from a range of inorganic materials. We are able to produce nanostructures from both layered (2D) and chain-like (1D) inorganic solids. We can synthesise such materials from varied parts of the periodic table including the s-block, p-block and d-block nitrides, chalcogenides and oxides. Properties (e.g superconductivity, gas storage, thermoelectricity)can vary markedly with size and morphology. See refs. 4, 5 for recent examples.

Research here is centered on the utilisation of novel high-powered microwave techniques not only to synthesise and process industrially important materials (such as structural ceramics) but also as a way to access new metastable complex materials that are not attainable via other routes. An important part of this process is our abilty to understand the interaction of microwaves with solids and the way in which microwave driven reactions occur. This is the type of work that can only be performed by bridging cross-disciplinary boundaries and we collaborate extensively with Engineering colleagues in Glasgow and elsewhere. See ref. 3 for background.

The Research Group

The solid state group is based in refurbished laboratories, funded under WestCHEM. The materials laboratories have facilities that cater both for the diverse approach of our synthetic chemistry and for the comprehensive characterisation of the structure and properties of materials.


We have several videos describing and demonstrating some aspects of our work.

Current Positions Available

Please contact me for more information regarding postdoctoral and visiting positions.

Postgraduate studentship projects are available within the group.

Please contact me for further details.

Temporary positions and undergraduate projects

A small number of positions on summer vacation projects are regularly available for home-based penultimate-year undergraduates and overseas students. Contact me for further information.

Selected Publications

1. "Lithium Nitrides, Imides and Amides as Lightweight, Reversible Hydrogen Stores.." D. H. Gregory, J. Mater. Chem., 2008, 18, 2321.

2. "A Mechanism for Non-stoichiometry in the Lithium Amide/Lithium Imide Hydrogen Storage Reaction" W. I. F. David, M. O. Jones, D. H. Gregory, C. M. Jewell, S. R. Johnson, A. Walton and P. P. Edwards, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2007, 129, 1594.

3."Modern Microwave Methods in Solid State Inorganic Materials Chemistry; From Fundamentals to Manufacturing." H. J. Kitchen, S. R. Vallance, J. L. Kennedy, N. Tapia-Ruiz, L. Carassiti, A. Harrison, A. G. Whittaker, T. D. Drysdale, S. W. Kingman, D. H. Gregory, Chem. Rev., 2014, 114, 1170.

4."Single-step Synthesis and Surface-assisted Growth of Superconducting TaS2 Nanowires." C. W. Dunnill, H. K. Edwards, P. D. Brown and D. H. Gregory, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2006, 45, 7060

5. "Superconducting Tantalum Disulfide Nanotapes; Growth, Structure and Stoichiometry" C. W. Dunnill, I. MacLaren and D. H. Gregory, Nanoscale, 2010, 2, 90.

6."Fast Lithium Ion Diffusion in the Ternary Layered Nitridometalate LiNiN.", Z. Stoeva, R. Gomez, A. G. Gordon, M. Allan, D. H. Gregory, G. B. Hix and J. J. Titman, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2004, 126, 4066.

7."Towards New Negative Electrode Materials for Li-ion batteries; Electrochemical Properties of LiNiN.", J. Cabana, Z. Stoeva, J. J. Titman, D. H. Gregory and M. R. Palacin, Chem. Mater., 2008, 20, 1676.

8. "Tunable defect structure in the Li-Mg-N ternary phase system; a powder neutron diffraction study.", A. S. Bailey, P. Hubberstey, R. W. Hughes, C. Ritter and D. H. Gregory, Chem. Mater. 2010, 22, 2898.

9. "Nitride Chemistry of the s-block Elements.", D. H. Gregory Coord. Chem. Rev. 2001, 215, 301.

10. "Structural Families in Nitride Chemistry.", D. H. Gregory J. Chem. Soc. Dalton Trans 1999, 259.

Full list of publications

Contact details

Prof Duncan Gregory,
Room C4-05,
School of Chemistry,
Joseph Black Building,
University of Glasgow,
Glasgow G12 8QQ,

Telephone: +44 (0)141 330 6438
Fax: +44 (0)141 330 4888


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