Dr Cecile Charbonneau
Senior Lecturer
Telephone: (01792) 606602
Room: Academic Office - A219
Second Floor
Engineering East
Bay Campus

My current research activities involve the development of nanomaterials and processes for the fabrication of compact and porous semiconductor metal oxide layers. I tend to favour a low-C footprint approach (aqueous precursors, low-temperature processing, roll-to-roll compatible deposition methods) to enable the commercialisation of novel products in the fields of 3rd generation photovoltaics and water purification based on the use of these advanced coatings. I also contribute to the characterization of a wide range materials across various projects and provide basic training on techniques such as FEG-SEM, surface area/porosimetry and X-Ray diffraction.

My teaching activities are spread across various portfolios of the College of Engineering: Foundation Year (EG-080: Fundamentals of Materials), Year 1 Materials and Chemical Engineering (EGA110: Instrumental and Analytical Chemistry); EGA113: Materials Case Studies) and Postgraduate Materials Engineering (EGS-M12: Applied Instrumental & Analytical Techniques, starting in February 2017)

Finally, I have joined the Employability Skills Team in November 2015 as the Materials Engineering Employability Champion. I offer support to all students in Materials Engineering with regards to their career development (CV surgery, mentoring, etc.) and develop links between our department and the industry to facilitate our students’ pathway towards employment. I also make sure that our students get linked to our professional body, the IOM3 (Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining), and work towards their Chartership.

Areas of Expertise

  • Synthesis of metal oxide nanoparticles
  • Fabrication of mesoporous and compact oxide layers
  • 3rd Generation Photovoltaics
  • Materials Characterisation
  • Low-C processing of nano-colloids


  1. Gomez, V., Bear, J., McNaughter, P., McGettrick, J., Watson, T., Charbonneau, C., O'Brien, P., Barron, A., Dunnill, C., Dunnill, C. Bi-phasic titanium dioxide nanoparticles doped with nitrogen and neodymium for enhanced photocatalysis Nanoscale 7 42 17735 17744
  2. Charbonneau, C., Cameron, P., Pockett, A., Lewis, A., Troughton, J., Jewell, E., Worsley, D., Watson, T. Solution processing of TiO2 compact layers for 3rd generation photovoltaics Ceramics International 42 10 11989 11997
  3. Hallin, I., Douglas, P., Doerr, S., Matthews, I., Bryant, R., Charbonneau, C., Douglas, P., Doerr, S., Charbonneau, C. The potential of biochar to remove hydrophobic compounds from model sandy soils Geoderma 285 132 140
  4. Charbonneau, C., Tanner, T., Davies, M., Watson, T., Worsley, D. Effect of TiO2 Photoanode Porosity on Dye Diffusion Kinetics and Performance of Standard Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Journal of Nanomaterials 2016
  5. Lee, K., Charbonneau, C., Demopoulos, G. Thin single screen-printed bifunctional titania layer photoanodes for high performing DSSCs via a novel hybrid paste formulation and process Journal of Materials Research 28 03 480 487

See more...


  • EG-080 Fundamentals of Materials

    This module is designed for foundation year engineering students and is intended to provide the fundamental principles underlying properties of materials based on their elemental composition, structure, and their uses in engineering in the following areas: construction materials; steel and other metals; cement; glass; polymers; composites; timbers; fuels and oils; lubricants; adhesives.

  • EG-233 Placement Preparation: Engineering Industrial Year

    This generic cross-disciplinary module is for all students who have enrolled (or transferred) onto the Engineering Year in Industry scheme. The module focuses on the underpinning and fundamental requisites required to gain, enter and progress effectively through an industrial placement. Learners will be introduced to a) sourcing placements, CV writing and application techniques; (b) interview techniques - how to pitch yourself and be successful; (c) workplace fundamentals and IP awareness, behaviours and expectations; (d) key employability skills; getting the most from your Industrial Placement; and (e) health and safety in the workplace.

  • EGSM12 Applied Instrumental & Analytical Techniques

    The various research groups based in the department of Materials Engineering hosts a truly World-class suite of materials and coatings characterisation and analysis equipment. The module is designed to give an overview of all the techniques available to students during their postgraduate research.

  • EGTM38 Elements of Materials Selection

    Elements of materials selection. Characterisation of mechanical properties covering elastic behaviour, tensile testing, impact testing and hardness measurement. Atomic and crystal structures of metallic and ceramic materials. Polymer structures and the influence of processing variables. Vacancies and diffusion. Elements of Dislocation Theory: Mechanism of Slip, Slip Systems, Schmidt┬┐s Law. Deformation Processes in crystals: Deformation of Polycrystals, Solid solution strengthening, Fracture of Metals Microstructural evolution covering solidification. Equilibrium diagrams. Equilibrium and non-equilibrium microstructures in plain carbon steels and the effects of heat treatment on mechanical properties. Alloy steels. Dislocation and mechanical properties. Microstructure control of properties in relation to selection criteria for engineering applications. Phase Transformations in Ferrous alloys Study of equilibrium and non equilibrium Ferrous transformations, Lever rule


  • New-concept rechargeable batteries for large scale energy storage (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Serena Margadonna
  • Precursor Formulation and Ink Jet Processing of TiO2 Compact Layers for the Manufacture of Photovoltaic Devices (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Trystan Watson
  • Synthesis and Surface functionalisation of TiO2 nanoparticles - Development of versatile colloidal formulations for the fabrication of photocatalytic self-cleaning glass. (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Charlie Dunnill
  • Improving the stability, aesthetics and performance of perovskite materials for photovoltaics. (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Matthew Davies

My Research

I graduated in 2005 from the department of Materials and Processing Engineering at the ENSIACET (Institut National Polytechnic, Toulouse, France). During my undergraduate studies, I took part in several scientific research projects related to the theme of science for fine arts through which I grew a real enthusiasm for materials investigation. One of my most significant research experience took place at the C2RMF (Le Louvre museum, Paris) where I completed a comparative study on the artificial acid-triggered ageing of industrial lead-glass and buried archaeological samples of church stained window and ceramic plates.

I carried on with my postgraduate studies in Montreal (Canada), where I completed a Fastrack (Master/PhD) program in the Department of Materials Engineering of McGill University, under the supervision of Prof. George Demopoulos, head of the Hydrometallurgy research team. My research project led to the development of a low-cost and scalable batch process for the synthesis of high surface area anatase and rutile TiO2 products. Later on in my PhD I focused on the development of water-based TiO2 pastes for the preparation of photoanodes used in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells. During my time at McGill, I also worked on developing skills in materials characterization and gained particular expertise in using advanced analytical instruments such as FEG-SEM, XRD, BET surface area/porosimetry, Raman spectroscopy, etc… My experience at McGill University was complemented with teaching activities as well as… playing ice hockey!

I moved back to Europe in July 2011 and started to work as a Technology Transfer Fellow of SPECIFIC IKC. Since the beginning of this new adventure, I have taken part into various projects as a member of the photovoltaic team (PV) while contributing to the development of photocatalytic surfaces for water purification applications. In the PV team, my research activities first focused on the use of TGA/GCMS analytical instruments to optimize the thermal curing of various types of conductive and corrosion inhibiting organic coatings formulated for steel substrates (in collaboration with our Strategic Partner TataSteel). I continued developing of TiO2 aqueous pastes and colloid formulations applicable to the preparation of mesoporous and compact thin TiO2 layers used in 3rd generation photovoltaic devices. I tried to prioritise the development and application roll-to-roll compatible deposition processes (NIR-assisted curing, sintering, platinization, automated bar coating of liquid metal oxide suspensions, etc.) in view of up-scaling the fabrication of photoanodes used in Solid-State DSCs and lead halide organometallic perovskite-based solar cells prepared both for glass and metal substrates.

My current research activities focus on the development of materials and low-C footprint/high production yield manufacturing process for the fabrication of metal oxide semiconductor thin films used in 3rd Generation Photovoltaics. This involves the formulation of colloidal precursors which are compatible with glass and metal substrates and can be stabilised at low temperature using fast UV-sinter stabilisation methods. A more recent aspect of this work theme aims to develop materials with added properties which offer better interface compatibility with lead-halide perovskite materials and can contribute to better processability and an increased life-time of MAPI perovskite solar cells. I also investigate the chemical assembly of nanoparticles in aqueous solutions, a method enabling the preparation of wet precursors used for the fabrication of high surface area macroporous photocatalytic coatings. My research activities also involve extensive materials characterization using FEG-SEM, surface area/porosimetry and X-Ray diffraction analyses of powders and thin films across various collaborative R&D projects.