Our current projects demonstrate a cross section of our work.
Developing more robust fluorescent nanoparticles
This project will develop the next generation of robust fluorescent nanoparticles to improve the resolution of microscopy in biomedical research.
Brightness, stability, emission control and particle size will be optimised for both nano-diamond and other wide gap materials with macroscopic readout photonic sensing architectures.
Nanoparticle-enriched active materials will serve as a bridge between nanoparticles and bulk materials while conserving and enhancing nanoprobe functionality.
The research will also bring greater understanding of the physical and chemical interactions between the nanoparticles and the host materials.
Next generation desalination
Designing the next generation of desalination devices demands a quantitative understanding of the concentration and separation of solutes in nanofluidic environments.
When solutions of salts, proteins or nanoparticles flow through a network of nanoscale pores, the resulting concentrations depend on many factors: including the nanoparticles' interactions with the pore walls, the flow conditions and the presence of temperature and pressure gradients or external forces such as electric fields.
Our researchers will develop and test new multiscale computational methods to model concentration and separation phenomena of complex fluids in nanoflows, enabling accurate predictions of solute concentrations in nanofluidic devices.
Among other applications, this work will contribute to the creation of more efficient desalination equipment for the production of potable water.
Understanding crystallisation inhibitors
This research will allow good and agricultural scientist to predict how additives can inhibit the formation of ice crystals during the freezing process.
During the freezing process, foods, cells or organisms can be damaged by ice crystals. One way to prevent ice crystals from forming is to add an inhibiting component, such as sugar.
The aim of this project is to combine traditional bench experiments, computer simulations and theory to develop a new diffuse interface model that will allow accurate predictions of how different additives can slow or even halt the crystallisation of a liquid.
By studying a bimodal hard sphere colloid and a sugar water solution separately, we will develop a robust model for fluids taken past the freezing point. This research will provide new insights into freezing, metastability and the glass transition.
Information gained from this research will allow food and agricultural scientists to predict how additives can inhibit the formation of ice crystals and promote glass formation, with applications for freezing tolerance in nature, as well as to the technology of cryopreservation.
Characterising natural systems to harvest energy from light
This project aims to bring improvements to the harvesting of solar energy and to electronics.
Natural photosynthesis remains massively more efficient than artificial systems. In a natural photosynsythetic reaction centre, light energy is converted into chemical energy by a series of electron transfer steps across a lipid bilayer. Sunlight is absorbed by light-harvesting antenna fragments such as pigments, chlorophylls and carotenoids and subsequently transferred between chromophores through an energy cascade ultimately reaching a reaction centre. Such ‘machinery of life’ was developed biologically through a long-term evolutionary process. Understanding how it works at the nanoscale could bring improvements to the harvesting of solar energy, and to electronics.
To date, scientists have been successful with the synthesis, isolation and analysis of compounds and ensembles that constitute the cell, but not with the reproduction of the working molecular apparatus.
The aim of this project is to develop molecular devices based on biological building blocks. This will be achieved by synthesising novel donor-acceptor derivatives bearing core-substituted naphthalene diimides and porphyrin entities, and by conducting a photophysical study of these dyad systems within lipid bilayer membranes. The project will also instigate the ability of these donor-acceptor architectures in vehicle bilayers to split water into molecular oxygen and hydrogen using light.