Materials Physics Group

Research

Our research is focused on understanding structure-property relationships in nanomaterials, particularly two-dimensional nanomaterials such as graphene and molybdenum disulfide. Our research seeks to use low-cost, scalable solution processing techniques to develop these materials towards applications including printed electronics, strain sensors, energy storage devices, and bio-interface materials.

Enabling materials for electrical and thermal applications

Dalton Group

Theme leader: Dr Matthew Large

We are seeking to realise the superlative electrical and thermal properties measured for individual graphene sheets and carbon nanotubes in solution-processed networks and hybrids of these materials. By optimising the conductivity of graphene as a function of size, we are developing metal-free RFiD for printed recyclable Internet of Things devices. In addition, we are formulating inks with polymer binders for stretchable devices for wireless connectivity and strain sensing. Furthermore, we are working on improving thermal and mechanical properties in graphene aerogels by chemical crosslinking to enable solar thermal energy capture.

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Research projects include:

Aline Amorim Graf - Spectroscopic metrics for high-throughput 2D materials characterisation 

Marcus O'Mara - Functional composites from nanosheet-stabilised emulsions

Electrochemical devices and energy storage

Dalton Group

Theme leader: Dr Peter Lynch

We are working on controlled assembly of nanomaterials into high-surface-area and high-capacity energy storage electrodes. We are studying the electrochemical properties of novel 2D materials including layered double hydroxides for a range of sensing and energy storage applications. In addition, we are exploring the deposition and nucleation of metal-organic frameworks on 2D materials. We are also developing electrolytically-gated large-area graphene films as thermal management devices. 

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Research projects include:

Keiran Clifford - High-conductivity surfactant-exfoliated graphene for electrical and electrochemical applications

Nanoscale characterisation

Dalton Group

Theme leader: Dr Manoj Tripathi

Using a range of advanced characterisation techniques, we are studying the influence of strain, doping and defects on the nanoscale properties of graphene and molybdenum disulfide and their heterostructures. This includes high-resolution Raman spectroscopy, Kelvin probe force microscopy and conductivity atomic force microscopy, allowing us to understand the nanoscale effects which result in the macroscopic properties we observe in large-area systems.

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Research projects include:

Frank Lee - Strain and doping in graphene, MoS2 and their heterostructures

Liquid processing for (opto)electronics

Dalton Group

Theme leader: Dr Sean Ogilvie

We are developing liquid processing techniques for semiconducting 2D materials such as molybdenum disulfide to enable their applications in printed electronics and energy capture. This includes liquid phase exfoliation and size selection to understand the influence on their optoelectronic properties for transistors and heterostructure devices. We are using deposition techniques including aerosol jet printing and Langmuir film formation to study ultra-thin nanosheet networks. We have also developed a process to assemble nanosheet-stabilised emulsions which can be applied for functional inks, nanocomposites, energy storage materials and as charge separation interfaces.

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Research projects include:

Hannah Wood - Surfactant-exfoliated semiconducting nanosheets for optoelectronic applications

Anne Sehnal - Nanosheet surface energy determination for emulsion segregated network design

Abdullah Alghamdi - Charge transfer hybrids of 2D materials

Nanomaterials at bio-interfaces

King Group

Research in the King Group focuses on nanomaterials at bio-interfaces, including as scaffolds for cell culture. By controlling the structural, mechanical and chemical properties of the microenvironment, we are exploring the factors affecting cell motility and proliferation. This includes studies of 2D material thin films and porous graphene aerogels. We are also studying templated assembly of 2D materials in latex composites for low percolation threshold functional materials and photonic crystals.

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Novel 2D materials and nanocomposite sensors

Boland Group

The Boland Group is studying liquid phase exfoliation of novel layered materials with applications in electronics and energy storage. In addition, we are developing nanocomposites based on soft polymeric materials and graphene as high-sensitivity electromechanical devices for healthcare monitoring. We are also seeking to integrate these electronic, energy storage and strain sensing materials as functional fibres in textiles for wearable devices.

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