David Lewis

Head of the Department of Materials and Professor of Materials Chemistry

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


I am the Head of the Department of Materials and Chair of Materials Chemistry. 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




I have a number of exciting projects in my lab that generally yield around 2 - 4 papers over the course of the project as lead author in journals of international repute. Please email me diretly about opportunities - specifically: 

Self funded students and research fellows are very much welcomed. 

UK/EU students please enquire about DTA funding. 

I have had a number of CSC funded students in my group with fee waivers negotiated by the department, and I am happy to host these. 

There are also a number of personal scholarships that Manchester offers to study here e.g. The Dean's award, the Presidential Doctoral Scholarship scheme, Donor Research Impact Scholarship.  A number of my students have held these.

I am also more than happy to host junior fellowships in my lab e.g. EPSRC doctoral fellowship. 

A new opportunity for funding which I am happy to host quality candidates is the Postgraduate Research Teaching Associate Scholarship 2022/23

Awardees will receive a tuition fee waiver (home fees) and £22,606 per annum which comprises a combination of PGR stipend and teaching salary and can choose to undertake their research on the following arrangements:

· 60% research/40%teaching; total duration 5 years 10 months

· 80% research/20%teaching; total duration 4 years 5 months

Please enquire with me directly for further details. 


Current Teaching and Admin Duties

Deputy Head of Department of Materials 2020 - Present 

Departmental Head of Research 2021 - Present

Student Welfare Lead 2019 - 2020

Subject Lead, Materials Science 2017 - 2020 

Lecturer in the School of Materials on undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses MATS23901 (Year 2, ‘Smart and Nano Materials’, Unit Coordinator, 10 Lectures), MATS 32702 (Year 3, ‘Nanotechnology’, 10 Lectures) and MATS44202/64802 (Year 4 and PGT, ‘Graphene and Nanomaterials’, Unit Coordinator, 10 Lectures), University of Manchester, UK.

Teaching on 'Chemical routes to 2D materials' for Graphene NoWNano EPSRC CDT  (6 h)


Temporary lecturer in School of Materials, University of Manchester (10 lecture course; ‘Nanomaterials’, Year 3/4/PGT MATS30972/40972/60632).

2013 - 2016

UG Inorganic tutor, School of Chemistry, University of Manchester, UK (Small Group Tutor).

2009 - 2012

UG Tutor for inorganic and analytical chemistry, School of Chemistry, University of Birmingham, UK (Small Group Tutor).

2005 - 2006

UG Tutor for inorganic and analytical chemistry, School of Chemistry, University of Birmingham, UK (Small Group Tutor).

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

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

Other research

Editorial Board Membership 

Scientific Reports (Springer-Nature) - Materials Chemistry  

Materials Science in Semiconductor Processing (Elsevier)

Academic Grants Awarded as PI & CI

8. EP/X016404/1 'Direct Writing of Nanodevices: A Sustainable Route to Nanofabrication' (PI) 2023-2026 Funder: EPSRC £1,735,672. 

7. EP/W033348/1 'High Entropy Sulfides as Corrosion Resistant Electrocatalysts for the Oxygen Evolution Reaction' (CI) 2021-2024 Funder: EPSRC. £312,315. 

6. EP/S033181/1 'Magnetic Properties Measurement System for Manchester and National EPR Facility' (CI) 2019-2024. Funder: EPSRC. £914,516.

5. 'Efficient CO2 conversion via interfacial engineering of electrodes' (PI) 2021-2022 Funder:  EPSRC IAA  £121,225.

4. 'Decontamination of Mercury Polluted Water and Agricultural Soils in Ghana Using Nanotechnology' 2019-2021 Funder: Royal Society (PI) £47,655.

3. EP/R020590/1 ‘Towards Self-scrubbing Stable and Scalable Perovskite Solar Cells’ 2018-2021 (CI). Funder EPSRC. £855,778.

2. EP/R013446/1 ‘Band alignment of light harvesting nanomaterials and metal oxides for photovoltaic and photocatalytic applications.’ 2017-2018 (CI). Funder: EPSRC. £10,920.

1. EP/R022518/1 ‘Soft Processing to Enable the Low Impact, Sustainable Manufacture of Inorganic Materials and Advanced Inorganic Semiconductor Composites’ 2018-2021 (PI). Funder: EPSRC. £474,388.

Capacity Building Activities

1. 'Developing Materials for Solar Cells' 2018 - 2020 (UK PI) Funder: Royal Society. £1,095,000.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Education/Academic qualification

Master in Science, Chemistry (1st Class Hons. Birm), University of Birmingham

Award Date: 1 Dec 2006

Doctor of Philosophy

External positions

Elected Member of the Materials Chemistry Division Council, The Royal Society of Chemistry


Areas of expertise

  • Q Science (General)
  • Nanomaterials
  • Inorganic Materials

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Advanced materials
  • Energy
  • Advanced Materials in Medicine


  • Inorganic Materials
  • Nanomaterials


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or
  • Capacity Building through Developing Materials for Solar Cells in Africa

    David Lewis (Participant), Taghreed El Haj (Collaborator), Imelda Bates (Collaborator), C Richard A Catlow (Collaborator), Laura Doriguzzi-Bozzo (Collaborator), Tallulah Flaxman (Collaborator), Ida Kolte (Collaborator) & Natasha Bevan (Collaborator)

    Impact: Economic, Environmental, Health and wellbeing, Policy, Awareness and understanding, Attitudes and behaviours, Society and culture, Technological