Research

The group’s research interests are focused on the synthesis, manipulation and integration of functional nanomaterials for the manufacture of active micro- and nanoscale devices for energy and environmental applications, with an emphasis on sustainable materials and manufacturing processes as well as understanding the fate of nanomaterials in the environment.

Examples include thermoelectric and piezoelectric energy harvesters, solar thermal energy capture and storage, as well as sensors for detection of nanomaterials in the environment and acoustic structural health monitoring.

Projects

MAnufacture of Safe and Sustainable Volatile Element Functional Materials (MASSIVE)

The EPSRC-funded MASSIVE Functional Materials project explores new manufacturing technologies that could be used to create interactive devices that contain less harmful and sustainable materials with a secure supply.

The focus of the project is ensuring the availability of next generation ‘safe and sustainable’ thermoelectric, pyroelectric and piezoelectric materials and devices, by addressing the challenges in synthesis, processing and manufacturing scale-up of un-commercialised functional materials. 

The project is led by Professor Robert Dorey (University of Surrey) with co-investigators Dr Sophie Rocks (Cranfield University), Professor Robert Freer (University of Manchester) and Professor Mike Reece (Queen Mary University of London), in collaboration with 14 industrial partners. (EPSRC Project Reference EP/L017695/1, Mar 14 - Sept 19).

ENergy Harvester for AutoNomous Commercial Electronic Devices (ENHANCED)

ENHANCED will develop a modular and interchangeable platform system for autonomous sensors and electronics in marine and automotive applications, consisting of a sensor that is powered by thermoelectric energy harvesting technology.

Collaborative project with European Thermodynamics Ltd and Rolls-Royce. (Innovate UK, Jun 15 - Jun 17).

Environmental nanodetector

The project is exploring the development of real-time detection techniques suitable for detecting engineered nanomaterials within the environment. Work is exploring the way in which engineered nanomaterials interact with the sensor and how they can be detected in a rapid reproducible manner.

Novel direct write fabrication methods are being developed to allow a flexible manufacturing capability, able to create different sensor designs, to be established.

Novel Strategies to Detect and Mitigate the Emergence of AMR in Zoonotic Pathogens (CHAIR)

Collaborative networking project exploring routes to develop novel strategies to address the issues of antibiotic resistant microbes.

Ceramic water electrolysis catalysis

Creating nanoscale ceramic composite coatings, based on Co and Mn oxides, to reduce the activation voltage required for electrolysis of water compared to using non-noble metal electrodes. 

Sustainable cleaning of ceramic powders

Developing new washing methods for ceramic materials to reduce the significant amounts of water and energy used during cleaning and drying.

The work is exploring the use of a closed loop water extraction system employing molecular filters designed to allow the room temperature removal of water vapour from the system and its subsequent reuse.

Acoustic emission sensors for monitoring composites

Explores the integration of thick film piezoelectric devices within glass fibre reinforced composites for monitoring fibre and matrix damage during use.

Embedded piezoelectric energy harvesters

Examining the use of embedded piezoelectric energy harvesters within glass fibre composites as a route to generate energy locally as a result of movement of the composite structure during use.

Engineering Doctorate in Micro- and NanoMaterials and Technologies

Learn about becoming a Research Engineer, sponsoring one and our current opportunities.