My research focuses on the behaviour of macromolecules at interfaces and in thin films.

My interest in polymers began when undertaking a PhD (on granular materials) under the supervision of Sam Edwards at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. Since then I have worked on computational & experimental aspects of polymer processing (at Courtaulds plc), and on structure/behaviour of polymers in thin films (beginning at Sheffield within the group of Richard Jones).

My studies are focused on trying to understand the behaviour of polymer-based systems including amorphous/flexible polymers, semi-conducting (conjugated) polymers and small molecule (eg fullerene) systems. This includes characterisation using techniques such as (specular and off-specular) neutron reflectivity, optical microscopy and scanning probe techniques (eg Higgins, A. M. et al. Advanced Functional Materials (2009) 19, 157-163, Chang, S. S. et al. Soft Matter (2008 ) 4, 2220-2224.The motivation for this work is to provide a fundamental understanding of the physical structure and behaviour of these macromolecules, which it is hoped will provide knowledge that can contribute towards improving the performance of organic devices, such as light-emitting diodes, photovoltaic cells and field-effect transistors.

The phenomenon of dewetting, where thin liquid films on substrates can become unstable, is another area of interest. Originally focussed on model (amorphous) polymeric systems (eg Higgins, A. M. and Jones, R. A. L. Nature (2000), 404, 476-478.), we have also attempted to control these instabilities in functional polymeric liquids, to produce self-assembled aligned conjugated polymer nanowires (Chang, S. S. et al. Advanced Functional Materials (2010) 20, 3045-3054.).

Publications

  1. & Mixing in PCBM/P3HT bilayers, using in situ and ex situ neutron reflectivity. Journal of Materials Research, 1-11.
  2. & Bimodal crystallization at polymer–fullerene interfaces. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 17(3), 2216-2227.
  3. & Measurement of molecular mixing at a conjugated polymer interface by specular and off-specular neutron scattering. Soft Matter 11(48), 9393-9403.
  4. & Patterning Polymer-Fullerene Nanocomposite Thin Films with Light. Advanced Materials 25, 985-991.
  5. & All-polymer field-effect transistors using a brush gate dielectric. Journal of Materials Chemistry C 1(46), 7736

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Teaching

  • EG-060 Mechanics

    Introductory Newtonian mechanics at Foundation level.

  • EGA325 Medical Engineering Group Design Project

    Students will carry out a medical engineering design project in groups of up to 6 people

  • EGNM02 Soft Nanotechnology

    This module introduces fundamental concepts in soft condensed matter physics/chemistry, and looks at the use of this knowledge in a wide range of 'soft matter'-based applications, including organic electronics, micro/nano-fluidics and molecular motors. A strong emphasis of the course is the fundamental physical processes that control the structure/behaviour of macromolecules.

Supervision

  • Pattern formation in frictional fluid flows (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Bjornar Sandnes
  • Polymer-fullerene nanocomposites for solar cell applications (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Paul Rees
  • 'Fullerene Crystallisation in Fullerene/Polymer Bilayers' (awarded 2014)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Paul Rees
  • XPS of ZnO nanorod surface engineering (awarded 2012)

    Student name:
    MPhil
    Other supervisor: Mr Thierry Maffeis
  • Characterisation of buried conjugated polymer interfaces by off specular neutron scattering (awarded 2012)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Paul Rees
  • The control of oral bacterial adhesion using sodium tripolyphoshate (awarded 2011)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Christopher Wright
  • Growth of ZnO nanobelt by the vapour transfer technique (awarded 2010)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Mr Thierry Maffeis
  • Optical microscopy investigation into the crystallization observed in PCBM/PS and PCBM/P3HT Bi-layers during thermal annealing (awarded 2010)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Paul Rees
  • Controlling Interface Roughness and Film Structure in Conjugated Polymer/Insulating Polymer Bilayers (awarded 2010)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Steve Wilks
  • Crystallisation of PCBM thin films (awarded 2010)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Paul Rees
  • Genotoxicity of Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes (awarded 2009)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Christopher Wright
  • Nanotomography (awarded 2006)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Christiane Norenberg
  • Ultrafiltration of Bi-Modal Colloidal Silica Dispersions (awarded 2006)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Paul Williams

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2011 Present Senior Lecturer Multidisciplinary Nanotechnology Centre (MNC), Swansea University
2004 2011 Lecturer Multidisciplinary Nanotechnology Centre (MNC), Swansea University
1998 2004 Post-Doctoral Researcher Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Sheffield
1992 1998 Scientist & Principal Scientist Research & Technology, Courtaulds plc, Coventry

Academic History

Date Qualification Location
1992 PhD Theoretical Condensed Matter Department of Physics, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University
1989 BSc Physics Imperial College London