Dr David Lewis

Deputy Head of Department and Reader in Materials Chemistry

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I am currently the Deputy Head of the Department of Materials and Head of Research. My research group investigates materials for energy generation in a broad sense, specifically targeting inorganic thin films and nanomaterials that are of use for a range of applications including  thermoelectric, photocatalytic, electrocatalytic and photovoltaic power generation. To acheive this, we typically use materials chemistry to design low temperature bottom up syntheses utilising molecular precursors that allow exquisite control of the chemical composition of materials, thus allowing us to tailor them toward a specific application. We also use various top down processing techniques such as liquid phase exfoliation of layered crystals to produce thin inorganic semiconductors which are complementary to graphene. Recently we have pioneered the use of these processes in serial to produce new synthetic two-dimensional materials. In  general, the use of solution phase pathways toward nanomaterials also allows us to take advantage of additive manufacturing processes, AACVD, spray coating and digital printing to assemble these inorganic materials into macroscopic structures and devices.  The group collaborates internationally with a range of materials scientists, chemists, and physicists to achieve these goals.

Exemplar publications by area

Synthetic routes to complex metal chalcogenides and oxides (including high entropy materials and quantum dots)

Ward O'Brien et al 'Quantum Confined High Entropy Lanthanide Oxysulfide Colloidal Nanocrystals’ Nano Lett. 2022, 22, 8045–8051. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.2c01596

Ward-O'Brien et al 'Synthesis of High Entropy Lanthanide Oxysulfides via the Thermolysis of a Molecular Precursor Cocktail'  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 21560-21566. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c08995

Alharbi, Y.T. et al 'Molecular Precursor route to Bournonite Thin Films and Powders' Inorg. Chem. 2021, 60, 17, 13691–13698. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.1c02001

Alsowayigh, M.; Timco, G.A.; Borilovic,I.; Alanazi, A.; Vitorica-Yrezabal, I. J.; Whitehead, G.F.S.; McNaughter, P.D.; Tuna, F.; O’Brien, P.; Winpenny, R.E.P; Lewis, D.J.* ; Collison D.* ‘Heterometallic 3d–4f Complexes as Air-Stable Molecular Precursors in Low Temperature Syntheses of Stoichiometric Rare-Earth Orthoferrite Powders’ Inorg. Chem. 2020, 59, 15796-15806. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.0c02249

Murtaza, G.; Alderhami, S.; Alharbi, Y. T.; Zulfiqar, U.; Hossin, M.; Alanazi, A. M.;  Almanqur, L. ; Onche, E. U.; Venkateswaran, S.P; Lewis, D. J.* ‘Scalable and Universal Route for the Deposition of Binary, Ternary, and Quaternary Metal Sulfide Materials from Molecular Precursors’ ACS Appl. Energy Mater. 2020, 3, 1952-1961. DOI: 10.1021/acsaem.9b02359

Alanazi, A.M.; Alam, F.; Salhi, A.; Missous, ,M; Thomas, A.G.; O’Brien, P.; Lewis,D.J.* ‘A molecular precursor route to quaternary chalcogenide CFTS (Cu2FeSnS4) powders as potential solar absorber materials’ RSC Adv., 2019, 9, 24146-24153. DOI: 10.1039/C9RA02926E.

Alqahtani, T.; Cernik, R.J.; O’Brien, P.; Lewis, D. J.* ‘Solid solutions of M2−2xIn2xS3 (M = Bi or Sb) by solventless thermolysis’ J. Mater. Chem. C, 2019, 7, 5112-5121. DOI: 10.1039/C9TC00148D.

 Synthetic routes to layered and 2D materials beyond graphene: 

Zeng, N.; Wang, Y.-C.; Neilson, J.; Fairclough, S.; Zou, Y.; Thomas, A.G.; Cernik, R.J.; Haigh, S. J.; Lewis, D.J.* ‘Rapid and Low-Temperature Molecular Precursor Approach toward Ternary Layered Metal Chalcogenides and Oxides: Mo1–xWxS2 and Mo1–xWxO3 Alloys (0 ≤ x ≤ 1)’ Chem. Mater. 2020, 32, 7895–7907. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c02685

Higgins, E.P.C.; McAdams, S.G.; Hopkinson, D.G.; Byrne, C.; Walton, A. S.; Lewis, D.J.*; Dryfe, R.A.W.* ‘Room-Temperature Production of Nanocrystalline Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2) at the Liquid−Liquid Interface’ Chem. Mater. 2019, 31, 5384-5391. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.8b05232

Zeng, N.; Hopkinson, D.G.; Spencer, B.F.; McAdams, S.G.; Tedstone, A.A.; Haigh, S.J.; Lewis, D.J.* ‘Direct Synthesis of MoS2 or MoO3 via Thermolysis of a Dialkyl Dithiocarbamato Molybdenum(IV) Complex’ Chem. Commun. 2019, 55, 99-102. DOI: 10.1039/C8CC08932A

 Norton, K.; Kunstmann, J.*; Ping, L.; Rakowski, A.; Wang, C; Marsden, A.J.; Murtaza, G.; Zeng, N.; McAdams, S.; Ke J. C-R.; Bissett, M.A.; Haigh, S.J.; Derby, B.; Seifert, G.; Lewis, D.J.* ‘Synthetic 2-D Lead Tin Sulfide Nanosheets With Tuneable Optoelectronic Properties From a Potentially Scalable Reaction Pathway’ Chem. Sci. 2019, 10, 1035-1045. DOI: 10.1039/C8SC04018D

Brent, J. R. †; Lewis D. J.*; Lorenz, T.; Lewis, E. A.; Savjani, N.; Haigh, S.J.; Seifert, G.*; Derby, B.*; O’Brien, P.* ‘Tin(II) Sulfide Nanosheets by Liquid-Phase Exfoliation of Herzenbergite: IV-VI Main Group Atomic Crystals’ J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b08236

Brent, J. R.; Savjani, N.; Lewis, E. A.; Haigh, S. J.; Lewis, D. J.*; O’Brien, P.* ‘Production of Few-Layer Phosphorene  by Liquid Exfoliation of Black Phosphorus’ Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 13338-133341. DOI:10.1039/C4CC05752J

Superhydrophobic nanomaterials:

Zulfiqar U. et al 'Flexible Nanoporous Activated Carbon for Adsorption of Organics from Industrial Effluents'. Nanoscale 2021, 13, 15311-15323. DOI:10.1039/D1NR03242A


Zulfiqar, U.; Thomas, A. G.; Yearsley; K.; Bolton L. W.; Matthews, A.*; Lewis, D.J.*‘Renewable Adsorbent for the Separation of Surfactant-Stabilized Oil in Water Emulsions Based on Nanostructured Sawdust’ ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2019, 7, 18935-18942DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.9b04294

Matthews, P.D.; Hirunpinyopas, W.; Lewis, E.A.; Brent, J.R.; McNaughter, P.D.; Zeng, N.; Thomas, A.G.; O’Brien, P.; Derby, B.; Bissett, M.A.; Haigh, S. J.; Dryfe, R.A.W.; Lewis, D.J.* ‘Black phosphorus with near-superhydrophobic properties and long-term stability in aqueous media’ Chem. Commun. 2018, 54, 3831-3834. DOI: 10.1039/C8CC01789A 


Hybrid Perovskites: 

Alam,F.; Lewis, D.J.* ‘Thin films of formamidinium lead iodide (FAPI) deposited using aerosol assisted chemical vapour deposition (AACVD)’ Sci. Rep. 2020, 10, 22245. DOI:  10.1038/s41598-020-79291-1

Mokhtar, M.; He, J.; Li, M.; Chen,Q.;Ke, J.C.R.; Lewis, D.J.; Thomas, A.G.; Spencer, B.F.; Haque, S.A.; Saunders, B.R. ‘Bioinspired scaffolds that sequester lead ions in physically damaged high efficiency perovskite solar cells’ Chem. Commun, 2021, DOI: 10.1039/D0CC02957B

Ke, J.C.-R.; Lewis, D.J.; Walton, A.S.; Spencer, B.F.; O’Brien, P.; Thomas, A.G.; Flavell, W.* ‘Ambient-air-stable inorganic Cs2SnI6 double perovskite thin films via aerosol-assisted chemical vapour deposition’ J. Mat. Chem. A 2018, 6, 11205-11214. DOI: 10.1039/C8TA03133A

Lewis, D. J.*; O’Brien P.* ‘Ambient Pressure Aerosol-Assisted Chemical Vapour Deposition of (CH3NH3)PbBr3, an Inorganic-Organic Perovskite Important in Photovoltaics’ Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 6319-6321. DOI: 10.1039/C4CC02592J



Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Member of the American Chemical Society

Elected Member of the RSC Materials Chemistry Division (2021 - Present)

Areas of expertise

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms


  • Inorganic Materials, Nanomaterials

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2006 - Master in Science, Chemistry (1st Class Hons. Birm), University of Birmingham
  • Doctor of Philosophy

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