Groups: Clarke (S.)
Telephone: 01223 336469
Our research interests cover a wide range of problems in colloid and interface science from adsorption of molecules to solid surfaces from liquids to the structure and behaviour of particles in complex fluids.
Adsorption from solution: The adsorption of molecules from liquids and solutions to solid surfaces is central to many areas of academic and industrial importance such as colloidal stability, lubrication, protein biofilms and making icecream. We have recently developed a combination of experimental methods, including coherent and incoherent neutron scattering and STM, that can provide details of the state, absolute composition and crystallographic structure of the adsorbed layers. Currently projects are available to investigate formation of crystalline layers for a number of interesting materials and also to probe their surface mixing behaviour. In particular, we are trying to determine why alkyl amides appear to form very stable mono and multilayers, materials with important industrial and biological relevance.
Orientation and deformation of Colloidal Particles: Many industrially useful materials are dispersions of tiny particles suspended in another medium, called a 'colloidal dispersion'. These particles may be rod or plate shaped; for example, pigments in inks and clay particles in paper coatings. The orientation of the particles can have a big effect on the flow behaviour of the material. We have been developing approaches that allow the orientation distribution of particle to be fully characterised. In addition, we have also developed synthetic approaches for novel shape changing particles. We are also interested in 'deformable' particles that can change shape under an external influence, like applied pressure. One of the projects currently available is to study assemblies of deformable particles, with particularly important applications in energy production.
Much of the work is at international facilities including: Institute Laue-Langevin, Grenoble, France, ISIS, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxon, UK, and ESRF, Grenoble, France.
BP Institute : My appointment is joint between the Department of Chemistry and the BP Institute at the University of Cambridge (http://www.bpi.cam.ac.uk).
The group welcomes approaches from prospective M. Phil and Ph D. students at any time. Applications for 10-12 week summer fellowships are also welcomed.
Langmuir (2010) The crystalline structures of alkyl amide monolayers adsorbed on the surface of graphite
Nature Materials (2005),4,486-490. Shape-memory Nanoparticles from Inherently Non-spherical Colloids
Current Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science, 6, 118-125 (2001), Neutron Diffraction and Incoherent Neutron Scattering from Adsorbed Layers
Europhysics Letts, 35 233-238 (1996), Diffraction to Investigate the Alignment of Anisotropic Particles