Dr James Cumby

Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry

Research summary

Solid state materials chemistry; functional electronic and ionic properties; crystallographic data science

Research overview

We are interested in studying materials with functional properties including magnetism, electronic and ionic conductivity, and structural changes (such as negative thermal expansion). A particular area of interest is to synthesis materials combining multiple anions (such as oxide and fluoride) to tune physical properties.


Our research uses a combination of experimental synthesis and characterisation with computational methods. Structural analysis is a key theme to our work, using single crystal and powder diffraction of X-rays and neutrons to determine atomic structure, including total scattering analysis to study local structure. These data are collected in-house and at international facilities. Computational methods used include data-mining of crystallographic databases, and electronic structure modelling using density functional theory (DFT).


  1. Long range electronic phase separation in CaFe3O5,K.H. Hong, J. Cumby, A. Arevalo-Lopez, C. Ritter and J.P. Attfield, Nature Communications, 9, 2018, 2975.
  2. High Pressure synthesis, crystal growth and magnetic properties of TiOF,  J. Cumby, M.B. Burchell and J.P. Attfield, Solid State Sciences, 80, 2018, 35-38.
  3. Charge order and negative thermal expansion in V2OPO­4,E. Pachoud, J. Cumby, C. Lithgow and J.P. Attfield, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 140(2), 2018, 636-641.
  4. Ellipsoidal Analysis of Coordination Polyhedra, J. Cumby and J.P. Attfield, Nature Communications, 8, 2017, 14235.
  5. Synthetic analogues of Fe(II)-Fe(III) minerals containing a pentagonal ‘Cairo’ magnetic lattice, J. Cumby, R.D. Bayliss, F.J. Berry and C. Greaves, Dalton Transactions, 45, 2016, 11801.
  6. The structures and magnetic properties of FexCo1-xSb2O4 and MnxCo1-xSb2O4, 0<= x<= 1, J. Cumby, B.P. de Laune and C. Greaves, Journal of Materials Chemistry C, 4, 2016, 201.