Department of Earth Sciences
Nanoscale materials such as ferrihydrite, mackinawite, rutile and ceria are formed naturally or anthropogenically and persist under many environmental conditions. These nanomaterials have profoundly distinct physical and chemical properties primarily due to surface and quantum effects. Studying nanomaterials is vital to our understanding of chemical speciation, fate and transport of elemental species in the environment and has important implications on human health, environmental regulations and the development of future analytical technologies.
My research interest falls in four key areas: (1) physicochemical interactions at the bio-nano interface, (2) relationship between nanostructure, bioavailability and their ultimate health implications, (3) sensor development for environmental monitoring, and (4) development and improvement of physicochemical models describing interfacial and kinetic processes.
I utilise molecular-scale methods, particularly those involving X-rays from synchrotron radiation sources and high-flux neutrons from pulsed neutron facilities to study the interactions of chemical compounds, including heavy metals, at the mineral-water interface. I also employ state-of-the-art electron microscopy and surface spectroscopy techniques, in collaboration with colleagues from the Department of Materials, to unravel the crystallographic details of nanostructured materials. At Earth Sciences, we have a very well-equipped mass spectrometry labs to measure trace elements and isotopes with access to a clean-lab facility and a verity of analytical instrumentations.
Project development through discussion with DPhil candidate is always welcomed. Projects presently include the integrated use of X-ray absorption and isotope fractionation to unravel molecular-scale details of interfacial processes; reactivity of redox-active nanoscale minerals in dynamical systems; development of sensors for a variety of analytical measurements; and the behaviour of pollution-derived nanoparticles in biological systems.
Associated Research Streams
nanomaterials, synchrotron radiation in earth &, environmental sciences, chemical speciation and interfacial processes, redox-active materials, nanotoxicity and human health, air pollution