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Clare P. Grey, Professor

Associate Director, Northeastern Center for Chemical Energy Storage
Geoffrey Moorhouse Gibson Professor of Chemistry, Cambridge University, UK.

Claire Grey

B.A. 1987
Ph.D. University of Oxford, 1991
Junior Research Fellow, Balliol College, University of Oxford 1990
Royal Society Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands 1991-1992

The Grey Group Website

Materials Chemistry: Structure and Function

We use a wide range of techniques, including solid state NMR and diffraction, to investigate local structure and the role that this plays in controlling the physical properties of a wide range of technologically-important, but disordered, materials. Conventional structural techniques, such as powder and single-crystal X-ray and neutron diffraction, characterize the "long-range" order, giving an average view of a structure; as a system becomes more disordered, these methods become progressively less useful. Even the most disordered system will, however, contain some local order. Solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) probes the local environment of a particular nucleus, and is ideally suited to study such materials. Systems currently under investigation include lithium-ion batteries, fuel cell materials, catalysts and molecular sieves. By using a combination of short range (NMR) and long range (XRD) structural techniques, we can build up a detailed structure of the disordered compound - this helps determine how the particular material functions and provides insight as to how it can be improved.

Anionic conductors:

We use 17O and 19F magic angle spinning NMR to study oxide and fluoride conduction. By identifying individual crystallographic or interstitial sites in often highly disordered materials, we can determine which anion sites are responsible for ionic conduction and obtain a much deeper understanding of how these materials function as "superionic" conductors. The ionic materials under investigation find potential uses as membranes in solid oxide fuel cells and as oxygen sensors.


We use lithium NMR to investigate electrode materials for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The mechanism of lithium intercalation and deintercalation are probed by using 6Li/7Li NMR and the effect of this on local structure and electronic and magnetic properties are investigated. The NMR experiments are complemented by diffraction and X-ray absorption methods.

Environmental Chemistry:

Our current interests involve the use of NMR to characterize (i) new layered materials designed to sorb high concentrations of pollutants and (ii) natural systems such as the hydrated iron and manganese oxides often found in soil samples; these oxides represent important sorbates for toxic ions such as Pb2+ or H2AsO4-.

Gas Sorption and Catalysis

Projects in this area include the study of gas adsorption and reactivity on catalysts and zeolites. We are currently using multinuclear methods to examine nitridation of zeolites, to make materials with higher basicity.


  • Visiting Scientist, DuPont Central Research and Development 1992-1993
  • NSF Young Investigator Award 1994
  • Cottrell Scholar 1997
  • DuPont Young Investigator Award 1997
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar 1998
  • Visiting Professor, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg 2000
  • NSF POWRE Award 2000
  • Visiting Professor, Université de Picardie Jules Vernes, Amiens 2006-2007, 2007-2008
  • Research Award of the Battery Division-Electrochemical Society 2007
  • NYSTAR Award 2008
  • Vaughan Lecturer 2008
  • Geoffrey Moorhouse Gibson Professor in Inorganic Chemistry, University of Cambridge, UK July 2009-Present
  • Director, Northeastern Chemical Energy Storage Center, a Department of Energy Frontier Center August 2009-Present
  • Head, Inorganic Sector, Cambridge University, UK August 2009-Present
  • AMPERE Award 2010
  • RSC John Jeyes Award 2010
  • Kavli Medal and Lecture 2011
  • Fellow of the Royal Society 2011
  • Fellow of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance 2011
  • Honorary PhD Degree “Docteur Honaris Causa” from the University of Orleans 2012