We synthesise new solids and correlate their physical properties with composition and crystal structure. Particular targets include include new superconductors and magnetic materials. We are able to use a very wide variety of techniques to synthesise target phases. Conventional high-temperature 'ceramic' processing is important, and very high temperatures (up to 2000 °C) may be achieved under rigorously inert conditions using arc and induction furnaces. However we are able to employ increasingly lower temperature routes to access solids with metastable strucutres. These methods include solvothermal synthesis of nitrides in liquid ammonia, heating under reactive atmospheres such as CS2 and the reductive intercalation of metals into suitable solid hosts using reagents such as n-BuLi or alkali metal/ammonia solutions. Much of our work concentrates on the synthesis and detailed structural and magnetic characterisation of these new novel materials.