Prof Stephen Skinner

ext: 6782



Stephen Skinner joined Imperial College in 1998 and was promoted to Reader in 2011. His research interests are in materials for new energy technologies and is primarily concerned with the chemical and physical properties of potential solid oxide fuel cell electrolytes and electrodes and encompasses the electrical and structural characteristics of materials.  He has extensive experience of the use of neutron facilities to undertake in-situ high temperature characterisation of new materials and in relating the structural characteristics of materials to their electrochemical properties.  A particular field of interest is the development of interstitial oxide ion conductors for fuel cell applications.  He has collaborated widely throughout Europe, Canada and Japan on new materials development and continues to develop links with research groups worldwide.  Further areas of interest include the development of high temperature electrolysers based on both oxide ion and proton conducting oxides and solid state electrochemical sensors for the detection of gases such as NH3, NO2 etc.  His previous experimental experience includes the use of X-ray diffraction and spectroscopy, Mössbauer spectroscopy and materials synthesis.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining, a Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry and also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  Stephen is a member of The Electrochemical Society and the American Ceramic Society and is a Chartered Chemist and Chartered Scientist.

External positions held: 

External Positions

  • Conference Chair, Oxide thin films for advanced energy applications, Fusion Conference
  • Reviewer, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, A*Star, Singapore
  • Reviewer, Canada Foundation for Innovation
  • Links with Other Academic Bodies

  • Visiting Professor, 2011, Universite du Maine, 2011 - 2011
  • Visiting Professor, 2003, Universite du Maine, 2003 - 2003
  • External Lecturer on Fuel cell technology, Uppsala University
  • Fuel cell lecturer on Sustainable Energy degree course, University of Exeter


Editorial Boards

Frontiers in Energy Research: Fuel Cells, Review Editor

Journal of Materials Chemistry A, Associate Editor

Memberships : 

My research interests centre on the properties and structures of ion conducting oxides, with emphasis on the idenification and characterisation of new materials using in- situ high temperature techniques such as x-ray and neutron powder diffraction techniques, secondary ion mass spectrometry and low energy ion scattering. This work has potential applications in the development of solid oxide fuel cell, electrolysis and permeation membranes and more has been identified as having application in the field of novel solid state gas sensors. To complement the work carried out within the department my research group is involved in many international collaborations, both in the UK and abroad. In collaboration with the University du Maine, Le Mans, France we reported the first oxide ion diffusion coefficients for the exciting new class of oxide ion conductor, La2Mo2O9 . Further, we have strong links with groups involved in ion conducting technologies, notably Vladislav Kharton and Jorge Frade, University of Averio, Portugal, Rose-Noelle Vannier, ENSC Lille, France Mona Bahout, Universite de Rennes I. In the field of sensor materials we have had fruitful collaborations with Southside Thermal Sciences Ltd. (Phosphors), and with Professor Ivan Parkin, University College London (metal oxides). The work on phosphor based materials continues through our work with Sensor Coating Systems, Ltd. on developing new materials and understanding their luminescent behaviour.

A significant interest is in the understanding of degradation mechanisms and durability of electroceramic devices. In order to achieve this we are using a suite of in-situ techniques and developing new capability to characterise cells under operating conditions. This is a multi-institution effort including partners at University College London (D. Brett), University of St Andrews (J. Irvine and C. Savaniu) and University of Newcastle (I. Metcalfe). Details of the programme can be found at Further work on degradation has been funded by Praxair Inc., to develop understanding or permeation membranes, and an international project with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia, is concerned with surfaces and interfaces in electrochemcial cells.    


Role: Course Leader


Electroceramics - MSE 411

Role: Lecturer


Materials Characterisation - MSE 302

Role: Lecturer