Nanoscience and Materials
Overview of theme
The Nanoscience and Materials research theme draws together expertise in the design, synthesis and manipulation of matter with one or more dimensions on the nanometre lengthscale (10-9 m). In this regime material properties may no longer be characteristic of the bulk but are more likely to be governed by the quantum mechanics and statistical properties of small ensembles. This new and emerging area of science is underpinning a quiet revolution in technology with applications in a diverse range of fields from pharmaceutical drug delivery, catalysis and sensing to functional polymers and coatings. The theme is inherently multidisciplinary with the most interesting problems requiring expertise in chemistry and synthesis, modelling and theory, and quantitative analysis of structure-property relationships. As such the personnel staff involved have a wide range of backgrounds in Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy but we share a common passion for developing the science and understanding of nanoscale systems.
In particular our research focuses on the relationships between synthesis, structure, processing and properties of organic and inorganic materials. Materials properties are frequently dictated by materials structure at the nanoscale, which in its turn depends on synthetic procedures involving physical and chemical interactions at the atomic and molecular scale level. Key research questions here are: "how can the properties of materials be predicted from their nano- and micro- structures?", "how can nanostructure be predicted from molecular structure?", "how can nanostructures be analysed and understood?" and finally "how can molecular structures be designed and synthesised to yield the specific nano- and micro- structures which lead to useful properties?".