Functional Interfaces


In Liverpool we are engaged in a wide range of projects in physical chemistry ranging from understanding the properties of nano-materials, achieving nanoscale control, design and assembly of function at surfaces to how proteins fold and to developing new energy technologies. Our work ranges from fundamental understanding of physical chemical processes at the molecular and atomic level to developing new processes and products together with industrial partners.

In the field of bio-functionalised nanoparticles we have demonstrated cellular uptake and intracellular targeting of gold nanoparticles functionalised with cell penetrating and signal peptides (ASC Nano 2008) and made an in depth study of how nanoparticles overcome membrane boundaries inside cells (ACS Nano 2011). In molecular electronics, state of the art single molecule electrical measurements have been made evaluating the mechanisms of charge transport through porphyrin oligomers (Nature Nano 2011), highly transmissive single molecular wires (JACS 2009, JACS 2008) and determined the impact of E-Z photo-isomerization on single molecular conductance (Nano Letters 2010). Time resolved pump-probe techniques were used to identify the key dynamical step in a catalytic surface reaction (Science 2009). Key contributions have been made in the areas of 2D surface chiral crystallisation and enantiomer self-organisation (Nature Chem. 2009) where we have developed a new, rigorous description of the chirality of an interface (JACS 2011, JACS 2009;ACIE 2010; ACS Nano 2012[HA1] ), demonstrated covalent coupling directly at a surface via C-C and C-metal-C bond formation (JACS 2011, ACS Nano 2011), and in wetting of metal surfaces where we have shown that water and hydroxyl do not form the ice-like networks (PRL 2011), but instead form novel 1D (Nature Materials 2009) or incomplete H bonding networks (PRL 2011) that break the ‘ice rules’ (Chem. Sci. 2012).

We have potential projects in the following research areas:

  • Nanoparticles for environmental analysis, medical diagnostics and therapy (Brust, Volk).
  • Scalable and economically viable production of nanomaterials including structured fluids (Egan).
  • Electrocatalysis for energy applications (Schifrin, Nichols, Higgins).
  • High-pressure physical chemistry and spectroscopy (Satherley, Iggo).
  • Molecular and nano-electronics (Nichols and Higgins).
  • The physical chemistry, electrochemistry and spectroscopy of new battery technologies (Hardwick).
  • Automated instrumental analytical chemistry (Myers).
  • Nanochemistry and Nanophysics of Organised Molecules at Surfaces (Prof. R. Raval)
  • Water Assembly and Behaviour at Surfaces (Prof. A. Hodgson)
  • Femtosecond Processes at Surfaces (Dr. H. Arnolds)
  • Computational Modelling of Atoms and Molecules at Surfaces (Dr G. Darling)