Dr Gibbs’ work focuses on making new materials with unusual magnetic and electronic properties. These properties are always intimately linked to the crystal structure and chemical makeup of the compound. Understanding these links gives fundamental insight into the endless and fascinating complexity of materials.
The compounds which Dr Gibbs’ group studies are typically at the very 'blue sky' stage of research, but underlying considerations are driven by societal challenges requiring new, non-toxic and sustainable functional and quantum materials for future technologies. The group are always investigating how they can control and tune these new electronic and magnetic states such that one day they might be relevant for devices and contribute to future technologies.
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Alex completed her MPhys at the University of St Andrews in 2008 after originally starting out in chemistry. She stayed there for her interdisciplinary PhD with Prof. P. Lightfoot and Prof. A. P. Mackenzie on structure-property relationships and emergent states in transition metal oxides. Following this, Alex took up opportunities to conduct research in Japan (at the University of Tokyo and RIKEN) and Germany (Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart) focusing on the exploration of new quantum materials. With neutron scattering being a key experimental tool for her work, she then moved to a permanent position at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source in Oxfordshire to follow her continued interest in high resolution neutron diffraction. These research streams have now converged in her EPSRC Early Career Fellowship at the School of Chemistry at St Andrews in association with the Crystallography Group at ISIS. Her research is at the chemistry–physics boundary, studying structure–property relationships in quantum and functional materials.