Stella Foster


I studied chemistry at the University of York followed by environmental science at the UEA, Norwich, where I was awarded the Scottish Power Foundation Scholarship for outstanding postgraduate candidates in the field of energy and environment. I am currently an EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership funded PhD candidate.

Research interests

I am interested in creating functionalised biochar-composite materials, optimised for radionuclide immobilisation/adsorption and reduction.

To this end, I use advanced synchrotron X-ray techniques: XANES/EXAFS to study the binding the mechanisms of radionuclides (Sr, Cs and U) to a range of modified biochars and composite materials. Modifications of interest include:

  • Acid/base activation

  • Iron and manganese oxide composites

  • Zero valent iron (zvi) impregnation

  • Cryogels/hydrogels

  • Cycloadditon reactions

Further, I am interested in developing X-ray μ-tomography as a quantitative tool for the pore space analysis of biochar and related materials, since standard techniques for pore space analysis yield incomplete information, especially so given biochar’s tunability dependent on feedstock, processing and modifications.

Research Themes:

  • Remediation

  • Sustainable Materials

  • Functionalisation

  • Biochar/Activated Carbon

  • Nuclear Decommissioning and Waste Disposal

  • X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS)


  • Chemistry BSc
  • Environmental Science MSc

Research groups and institutes

  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Nuclear Leeds
  • Complex Systems and Processes
  • Functional Materials
  • Industrial Biotechnology and Bio-waste
  • Materials Characterisation