Functionalised surfaces (Travas-Sejdic, Downard, Hall, Williams(D))

Our work focuses in three areas: i) Optimisation of new approaches for grafting nanoscale organic layers on conducting and non-conducting surfaces and development of methods for patterning the layers and exploiting their reactivity. The approach under study relies on the generation of radicals which attack and bind to the substrate, resulting in strong and stable attachment of the layer to the substrate. This opens the possibility of fabricating practical materials for real-world applications. ii)Development of conducting polymer-based nanobiosensors of high sensitivity, and synthesis and the use of novel electroactive grafted conducting polymers for reversible surface switching and cell adhesion. Growth of nanowires of conducting polymer is a key challenge for the target nanobiosensors. For construction of switchable surfaces for cell adhesion, factors such as biocompatibility and reversibility of cell adhesion must be understood. These projects are supported by use of an in-house developed scanning ion conductance microscope (SICM) for characterization and fabrication of conducting polymer thin films, micro- and nanostructures. iii) Chemical modification of high surface area carbon materials for energy storage applications. Modification of high surface area carbons with specific chemical functionalities can improve the performance of the materials in several ways. Molecular modelling techniques can be employed to identify target functionalities and to unravel the impact of functionalities on electrode performance.