Research interests are focused on the photochemistry of materials for use in photovoltaic applications. Currently looking at perovskite and dye-sensitised solar cell technologies. Also interested in colourimetric and fluorescent probes and sensors.

I was appointed as Senior Lecturer on the Sêr Cymru Solar initiative in 2014. Developing capabilities in the areas of photochemistry and PV device physics and stability and currently head the Photochemistry and Laser Spectroscopy group at SPECIFIC. Previously a SPECIFIC Technology Transfer Fellow in the research group of Dr Peter Holliman at the School of Chemistry, Bangor University, I am a co-inventor of a very successful method for the ultra-fast co-sensitization of DSSCs. I carried out his Ph.D studies between Swansea and the University of Coimbra, Portugal, looking at the photophysics/photochemistry of cationic conjugated polymers and how these polymers interact with DNA.

I am passionate about the promotion of science and the importance of developing renewable energy solutions. In 2013 I organised a large-scale, ambitious, outreach project across South Africa named “Catching the Light with the Rainbow Nation” which aimed to increase the popularity and understanding of chemistry. This involved a team of 16 scientists from the UK and Africa running scientific workshops for over 1000 children over two weeks across South Africa.

Publications

  1. & Impact of Aggregation on the Photochemistry of Fullerene Films: Correlating Stability to Triplet Exciton Kinetics. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 9(27), 22739-22747.
  2. & Photoinduced charge transfer: from photography to solar energy. Science Progress 100(2), 212-230.
  3. & A facile approach towards increasing the nitrogen-content in nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes via halogenated catalysts. Journal of Solid State Chemistry 235, 202-211.
  4. & Convenient synthesis of EDOT-based dyes by CH-activation and their application as dyes in dye-sensitized solar cells. Journal of Materials Chemistry A 4(40), 15655-15661.
  5. & (2016). Third generation photovoltaics — Early intervention for circular economy and a sustainable future. Presented at 2016 Electronics Goes Green 2016+ (EGG),, 1-8. doi:10.1109/EGG.2016.7829820

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Teaching

  • EGCM10B MSc Research Practice

    A Masters level course to deliver knowledge and skills on how to write and submit scientific papers and reports. The course requires that the students prepare multiple reports focused on specific aspects involved in preparing a draft publication of journal quality. Research data is gathered and subject to suitable data analysis is used to write a draft publication. In addition to this, a graphical abstract for a highly cited paper in a relevant chosen field needs to be prepared, as does a letter to an editor. For the paper writing, data is gathered from laboratory based work and the students must analyze the data and write up the results as a suitable manuscript. They must make a reasoned choice of journal; then follow the format required by that specified Journal and its instructions. They must present results appropriately and of the correct quality and then describe and discuss these. The students must also prepare a substantial literature survey (up to 5000 words) on a topic in chemical or biochemical engineering. The course is designed as such so there are multiple smaller assignments prior to the substantial literature review so students can learn and improve through the duration of the course.

  • EGSM07 Photochemistry of functional materials

    A postgraduate level course to deliver knowledge and skills on the basics of photochemistry, describing in detail the photochemistry of interesting materials such as LEDs, semiconductors and solar cells. The first topic, basic photochemical principles, gives an introduction to the key ideas which underpin how light interacts with matter. The absorption of light and routes of deactivation within a material are outlined. The importance of atomic and molecular orbitals and the bonding of molecular orbitals are introduced and their importance to materials properties is discussed. In particular; molecular excitons and the movement of charge, bonding interactions and electronic energy band structures in semiconductors is explained. Band theory of solids is one of the central topics of the course coupled with how bands and band gap energies can be tuned for materials applications (i.e. quantum dots). Inorganic thermochromic materials are given as an example of how the temperature can affect the energy band gap. A large part of the course then focuses on the photochemistry of photovoltaic devices. The course uses examples of specific inorganic materials to highlight the topics covered including: inorganic light emitting diodes, inorganic thermochromics, semi-conductors/semi-conductor quantum dots and organolead halide perovskites for photovoltaic applications. The materials described have applications in electronic materials and photovoltaic technologies.

  • EGSM17 Engineering Concept Development

    The module is the first of two that involve the development, synthesis and application of scientific, engineering, personal, professional and project management skills to deliver an approach to a solution of the specific group and individual projects. It will require and develop self-organisation skills and the critical evaluation of options and results, as well as developing technical and specialist knowledge around sustainable engineering solutions in the project area. Ethics, stakeholder engagement and basic project planning skills will also be developed. This module is focused on literature review, relationship development and data gathering with project stakeholders based in the UK and remotely using various communication systems, and will enable students to develop their understanding of sustainable engineering solutions and options to address challenges in the local international environment.

  • EGSM23 Circular Economy and Sustainable Engineering

    The module has been designed to promote the role of circular economy and sustainable engineering within industry, commerce and society. It will equip graduates with the knowledge and skills to help industry and commerce to reduce their environmental impacts and support the objectives of sustainable development.

Supervision

  • Transient Absorption Spectroscopy of Printable Photovoltaics (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Mr Stoichko Dimitrov
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Dr Richard Johnston
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    EngD
    Other supervisor: Dr Matthew Carnie
  • Unravelling the Photochemistry of Perovskite Materials for Photovoltaics (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof James Durrant
  • Improving the stability, aesthetics and performance of perovskite materials for photovoltaics. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Cecile Charbonneau
  • ''Encapsulation of solar cells'' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Matthew Carnie