Our expertise is in performing careful and novel experiments to address important fundamental questions in the field of soft condensed matter.
Our research contributions include surface force measurement, where we have extended the range of materials that can be studied using Atomic Layer Deposition and have made significant contributions to understanding of the influence of roughness, the forces between hydrophobic surfaces and boundary slip.
In the field of specific ion effects, we have described and codified the effect of ions on bubble coalescence and demonstrated the existence of the fundamental ion-specific series that apply across all solvents. This has reframed research in the field and with colleagues at the University of Newcastle has contributed to the first generally applicable quantitative measure of specific ion effects for the anions. Future work will address the cations.
In the field of surfactant adsorption we have revealed that the kinetics of surfactant adsorption can be very slow when aggregates are present on the surface but not in bulk. Recent work on polyelectrolytes has attributed the universally observed re-entrant solubility as a consequence of an increasing electrostatic decay length at very high salt concentrations. This remains an active area of research.
Students in the group have won a number of prestigious awards and prizes.