Personal Homepages

Nicole Grobert

Professor Nicole Grobert
Professor of Nanomaterials

Department of Materials
University of Oxford
16 Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3PH
UK

Tel: +44 1865 283720
Tel: +44 1865 283720 (Room 317.20.09)
Tel: +44 1865 273700 (switchboard)
Fax: +44 1865 283333

Nanomaterials by Design Group
Corpus Christi College

Summary of Interests

Summary

Nicole Grobert's research group focuses on the synthesis, processing, and characterisation of novel carbon and non-carbon based nanomaterials, including nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanorods, graphene and other 2D nanomaterials. Moreover, multifunctional hierarchical nanostructures are also developed and investigated for their implementation in the health-care sectors and for their use in energy applications.

Production routes for the controlled manufacturing of nanomaterials include chemical vapour deposition, template routes, arc discharge, and wet-chemical techniques. State-of-the-art in-situ characterisation plays a crucial role in order to elucidate the importance of individual growth parameters for the controlled formation and the study of structure properties relationships of these novel nanomaterials.

  • Pergamon Prize (2001)
  • Future Leader STS Forum Kyoto Japan (2008)
  • ERC Starting Grant Awardee (2009)
  • ERC PoC Awardee (2012)
  • Vice-Chairman British Carbon Group
  • Conference Chair NanoteC10

Current Grants:

  • Systematics for the catalytic growth of nanomaterials, ERC Starting Grant, ERC (PI)
  • Taking in-situ controlled manufacturing to market, ERC PoC, ERC (PI)
  • CONTACT - Tailored industrial supply-chain development of CNT-filled polymer composites with improved mechanical and electrical propertiesMarie Curie ITN, European Commission (PI)
  • BioTiNet - Academic-Industrial Initial Training Network on Innovative Biocompatible Titanium-base Structures for Orthopaedics, Marie Curie ITN, European Commission (PI)
  • EPSRC INSPIRE, Robust biocatalysts for energy solutions (PI)
  • DIVERSITY, Science and Society, European Comission (PI)
  • Modelling and quantitative interpretation of electron energy-loss spectra using novel density functional theory methods, Responsive mode, EPSRC (Co-PI)
  • NanoTP: "Designing novel materials for nanodevices: From Theory to Practise COST, European Commission (Co-PI)

 

Current Research Projects

Dedicated nanocatalysts for nanomaterials production
Dr. F. Dillon, Professor N. Grobert
Nanomaterials’ properties are highly depended on their atomic structure and composition. This project focuses on the synthesis of dedicated catalyst nanoparticles for the controlled generation of novel nanomaterials. We investigate the influence of catalyst particle size, shape, concentration and composition on the resulting nanostructure. Experiments involve pyrolysis techniques in conjunction with state-of-the-art electron microscopy techniques. This project is essential to the group and will be an integral part of the ongoing research activities. It is carried out in close collaboration with Dr K Moh, Prof E Arzt (Leibniz Institute for Novel Materials Saarbrücken, Germany), and industrial partners.

Carbon nanotube/beta-Ti alloy composite materials for use in artificial bones
Nataliia Stepina, Professor N. Grobert
The project aims to develop routes towards mechanically strong biocompatible carbon nanotube (CNT)/ß-Ti alloy composite materials for use in artificial bones.  Thermal chemical vapour deposition techniques are explored using temperature sensitive and porous Ti-based substrate materials. The project is part of and funded by the Marie Curie ITN BioTiNet - Academic-Industrial Initial Training Network on Innovative Biocompatible Titanium-base Structures for Orthopaedics, 

Application of nanostructured emitters for high efficiency lighting
A. Searle, Dr. T. Doyle, Professor C.R.M. Grovenor, Professor N. Grobert
Energy has become one of the top research priorities in recent years. On average ca 20% of electricity used in buildings is consumed by light bulbs. In incandescent bulbs 90% of the energy is lost as heat and only10 % of the energy used to produce light. The energy loss can be reduced significantly by replacing ordinary light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. This project aims to explore the application of nanostructured electron emitters for high-efficiency lighting. The emission characteristics will be studied using a prototype lamp. Different types of nanotube materials will be generated and studied with regard to their performance and resilience to prolonged emission. The project focus is to study the potential for improving the efficiency of fluorescent lamps by reducing the energy needed to start and to sustain the discharge.

SrTiO3 supported catalysts for carbon nanotube growth
J. Sun, Professor N. Grobert and Professor M.R. Castell.
We are investigating the possibility of using the ceramic oxide SrTiO3 as metal nanoparticle catalyst support for the growth of carbon nanotubes.

Development of spray process for manufacturing new CNT-modified films
M. Dutta, Dr. V. Nicolosi, Professor N. Grobert
The project is part of the Marie Curie Initial Training Network CONTACT (http://www.contactproject.eu/). The aim is to design and develop a new spray process for manufacturing novel CNT-modified films suitable for various applications, for example, capacitor films. Part of the study will be to investigate the dispersion behaviour or CNTs in various matrices. The project is in collaboration with Prof Steven Sheard (Department of Engineering) and Dr Peter Rocket (Department of Engineering). (Supported by The European Commission MC-ITN CONTACT)

Low-voltage, low-dose STEM for radiation sensitive materials
Professor P.D. Nellist, G. Theodossiou, Dr. V. Nicolosi, Professor N. Grobert
By the very nature of their length scales, nanoscale materials require imaging and analysis techniques at resolutions approaching individual atoms. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) can provide such capability. However, many nanoscale materials are also formed from low atomic number materials, such as carbon nanotubes and biological macromolecules, and tend to be damaged by electron beams. Aberration correction in scanning transmission electron microscopy offers an opportunity to image materials with lower electron doses, and electron energy-loss spectroscopy can provide detailed analytical material of lower-atomic number materials. The aim of the project is to develop advanced electron microscope instrumentation and develop strategies for the characterisation of materials with minimum electron exposure. Initial applications of the techniques developed will include B,N-doped carbon nanotubes, novel nanowires and carbon nanotube functionalised by enzymes.

Modelling and quantitative interpretation of electron energy-loss spectra using novel density functional theory methods
Dr. R. Nicholls, Professor P.D. Nellist, Dr. J.R. Yates, Dr. S. Lozano-Perez, Professor N. Grobert, Professor C.R.M. Grovenor, Professor D. McComb*
The research proposed here aims to further our ability to use electron energy-loss spectra to solve real problems in Materials Science by developing new computer modelling methods and by using these methods to study real-world materials problems. Funded by EPSRC.

Aerosol production of arrays of pure carbon and heteroatom containing carbon nanotubes
F. Dinc, Dr. A.A. Koos, Dr. F. Dillon, Professor N. Grobert
Pure and well-aligned carbon nanotubes can be prepared in gram quantities using homogenously dispersed aerosols generated from metal organic precursor solutions using an ultrasonic spraying device. In addition, this process can also be adapted for the synthesis of bulk amounts of nitrogen, boron, silicon, and phosphorous doped carbon nanotubes and composites of carbon nanotubes with alumina, silicon carbide and other ceramic materials. SEM and TEM investigations reveal that the products are generally arranged in carpet-like flakes containing high yields of well graphitized multi-walled carbon nanotubes and are free of polyhedral particles or amorphous carbon, which are major drawbacks of standard production methods. With this method it is now possible to explore the chemical and physical properties of, for instance, nanotubes and their composite materials without the influence of by-products or the need of additional purification processes. (Supported by The Royal Society, ERC Starting Grant, CONTACT Marie Curie ITN)

Carbon nanotube reinforced ceramics
Dr. F. Dillon, G. Otieno, Professor R.I. Todd, Professor N. Grobert
There have been several attempts recently to make ceramic nanocomposites in which the reinforcing phase consists of carbon nanotubes. None has resulted in a viable composite, either because the nanotubes have been destroyed by the high firing temperatures used, or because the nanotubes have not been properly dispersed in the ceramic matrix. We are trying to solve these problems using a variety of techniques and using both single- and multi-walled nanotubes. (Supported by The Royal Society, and ERC Starting Grant)

Carrier transport of Fe-filled multi-walled carbon nanotubes
Y. Nakajima*, T. Fukuda*, Professor N. Grobert, Professor T. Maekawa*, Dr. T. Hanajiri*
The pyrolysis of ferrocene:C60 mixtures yields Fe-filled multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs). Transport measurements are being carried out on Fe-filled and test devices are fabricated by means of lithography techniques used in semiconductor device processes. (*Bio-Nano Electronics Research Centre, Toyo University, Kawagoe, Japan) (Funded by The Royal Society, 21st Century's Centre of Excellence Programme - Bioscience and Nanotechnology)

Filling multi-walled carbon nanotubes with metals
Dr. F. Dillon, Professor N. Grobert
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can be filled with various materials. Generally a two-step process is used whereby CNTs are grown, opened via oxidation and subsequently are filled. Here we have developed a technique for the in-situ filling of CNTs using the pyrolysis of metal-organic precursors. Depending on the precursors pure metal-filled or alloy-filled CNTs can be produced. (Supported by The Royal Society, and ERC Starting Grant)

Manipulation of carbon nanotubes using a rotational magnetic field
Professor N Grobert, Dr F Dillon, Professor T Maekawa*
The manipulation of nano- and micro-particles, biological molecules and cells is a key technology for the operation of nano- and micro-electromechanical systems (NEMS/MEMS) and micro-total analysis systems (microTAS). Various manipulation techniques of magnetic particles using magnetic fields have been studied and developed in recent years. Magnetic particles tend to form chain clusters in a dc magnetic field since the magnetic dipoles are aligned in the direction of the field. It is also known that chain clusters are rotated in rotational magnetic fields under certain conditions. We have developed a novel method for manipulating both magnetic and nonmagnetic particles using a rotational magnetic field. The present method is applied to the manipulation of CNTs. (*Bio-Nano Electronics Research Centre, Toyo University, Japan) (Funded by The Royal Society, ERC Starting Grant, and The 21st Century's Centre of Excellence Programme - Bioscience and Nanotechnology)

12 public active projects

Research Publications

Boron- and nitrogen-doped multi-wall carbon nanotubes for gas detection
Jean-Joseph Adjizian, Radouane Leghrib, Antal A. Koos, Irene Suarez-Martinez, Alison Crossley, Philipp Wagner, Nicole Grobert, Eduard Llobet, Christopher P. Ewels
Carbon 66, 662-673 (2014)

Layer-by-layer spray deposition and unzipping of single-wall carbon nanotube-based thin film electrodes for electrochemical capacitors
C Huang, N Grobert, AAR Watt, C Johnston, A Crossley, NP Young, PS Grant
Carbon 61, 525–536 (2013)

In situ engineering of NanoBud geometries
RJ Nicholls, J Britton, SS Meysami, AA Koós, N Grobert
Chem Commun 49 (93), 10956-10958 (2013)

Probing the Bonding in Nitrogen-Doped Graphene Using Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy
RJ Nicholls, AT Murdock, J Tsang, J Britton, TJ Pennycook, AA Koós, PD Nellist, N Grobert, JR Yates
ACS Nano (2013)

Controlled growth of Ni nanocrystals on SrTiO3 and their application in the catalytic synthesis of carbon nanotubes
J Sun, C Wu, F Silly, AA Koos, F Dillon, N Grobert, MR Castell
Chemical Communications (2013)

Synthesis of carbon nanocoil forests on BaSrTiO3 substrates with the aid of a Sn catalyst
J Sun, AA Koós, F Dillon, K Jurkschat, MR Castell, N Grobert
Carbon (2013)

Aerosol-assisted chemical vapour deposition synthesis of multi-wall carbon nanotubes: I. mapping the reactor
Seyyed S Meysami, F Dillon, AA Koós, Z Aslam, N Grobert
Carbon 58, 151 (2013)

Aerosol-assisted chemical vapour deposition synthesis of multi-wall carbon nanotubes: II. An analytical study
Seyyed S Meysami, AA Koós, F Dillon, N Grobert
Carbon 58, 159 (2013)

Controlling the Orientation, Edge Geometry and Thickness of Chemical Vapor Depostion Graphene
AT Murdock, A Koos, TB Britton, L Houben, T Batten, T Zhang, AJ Wilkinson, RE Dunin-Borkowski, ChE Lekka, N Grobert
ACS Nano, DOI: 10.1021/nn3049297 (2013)

Boron-Mediated Nanotube Morphologies
RJ Nicholls, Z Aslam, MC Sarahan, A Koós, JR Yates, PD Nellist, N Grobert
ACS Nano, DOI: 10.1021/nn301770b (2012)

Polarized light microscopy of chemical-vapor-deposition-grown graphene on copper
K Kertész, AA Koós, AT Murdock, Z Vértesy, P Nemes-Incze, PJ Szabó, ZE Horváth, L Tapasztó, Chanyong Hwang, N Grobert, and LP Biró
Appl. Phys. Lett. 100, 213103 (2012)

N-SWCNTs production by aerosol-assisted CVD method
AA Koós, F Dillon, RJ Nicholls, L Bulusheva, N Grobert
Chemical Physics Letters 538, 108–111 (2012)

Tuning the Magnetic Properties of Iron Filled Carbon Nanotubes
F.C. Dillon, A. Bajpai, A. Koós, S. Downes, Z. Aslam and N. Grobert
Carbon 50, 10, 3674-3681 (2012)

Customised transition metal oxide nanoparticles for the controlled production of carbon nanostructures
K Mandel, F Dillon, AA Koos, Z Aslam, F Cullen, H Bishop, A Crossley, N Grobert
RSC Advances 2 (9), 3748 - 3752 (2012)

Tailoring gas sensing properties of multi-walled carbon nanotubes by in-situ modification with Si, P, and N
AA Koós, RJ Nicholls, F Dillon, K Kertész, LP Biró, A Crossley, N Grobert
Carbon 50, pp. 2816–2823 (2012)

Carbon Cover, January 2012 Nomenclature of sp2 carbons nanoforms (*Guest Editorial)
Suarez-Martinez I, Grobert N, Ewels CP
Carbon 50, pp. 741-747 (2012)

Investigating the Structural, Electronic, and Chemical Evolution of B-Doped Multi-walled Carbon Nanotubes as a Result of Joule Heating
Aslam Z, Nicholls R, Koos AA, Nicolosi V, Grobert N The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 115 (2011) 25019

Nomenclature of carbon nanoforms
Suarez-Martinez I, Grobert N, Ewels CP
“Advances in Carbon Nanomaterials: Science and Applications” publisher Pan Stanford Publishing (2011) ISBN: 9789814267878

Stable dispersions of nitrogen containing multi-walled carbon nanotubes
M Dutta, V Nicolosi, E Obratzsova, AA Koós, A Crossley, N Grobert
Materials Express, 1, 3, pp. 201-209(9) (2011)

Advanced Functional Materials, November 2011 Current-induced restructuring and chemical modification of N-doped multi-walled carbon nanotubes (*Featured article)
Z Aslam, R Nicholls, A Koos, V Nicolosi, N Grobert
Advanced Functional Materials, adfm.201101036 (2011)

Facile, fast, and inexpensive synthesis of monodisperse amorphous Nickel-Phosphide nanoparticles of predefined size
K Mandel, F Dillon, AA Koos, Z Aslam, K Jurkschat, F Cullen, A Crossley, H Bishop, K Moh, C Cavelius, E Arzt, N Grobert
Chem. Commun. 47 (2011) 4108-4110

Comparison of structural changes in nitrogen and boron-doped multi-walled carbon nanotubes (*Article of the future)
AA Koós, FC Dillon, E Obraztsova, A Crossley, N Grobert
Carbon 48 (2010) 3033-3041

Carbon Cover, January 2010 Processing and properties of aligned multi-walled carbon nanotube/aluminoborosilicate glass composites made by sol–gel processing
G Otieno, AA Koós, FC Dillon, A Wallwork, N Grobert and RI Todd
Carbon 48 (2010) 2212-2217

A Facile Route to Self-assembled Hg//MoSI Nanowire Networks
V Nicolosi, Z Aslam, K Sader, GM Hughes, D Vengust, NP Young, R Doole, D Mihailovic, AL Bleloch, AI Kirkland, N Grobert and PD Nellist
New Journal Of Chemistry, 34, 10 (2010) 2241-2246

Covalent Metal-Nanotube Heterojunctions as Ultimate Nano-Contacts
Rodríguez-Manzo JA, Banhart F, Terrones M, Terrones H, Grobert N, Ajayan PM, Sumpter BG, Meunier V, Wang M, Bando Y, Golberg D
PNAS, Vol 106, Iss 12, pp 4591-4595 (2009)

Spray deposited fluoropolymer/multi-walled carbon nanotube composite films with high dielectric permittivity at low percolation threshold
Zhao X, Koos AA, Chu BTT, Johnston C, Grobert N, Grant PS
Carbon, Vol 47, Iss 3, pp 561-569 (2009)

Effect of the experimental parameters on the structure of nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes produced by aerosol chemical vapour deposition
Koós AA, Dowling M, Jurkschat K, Crossley A, Grobert N
Carbon, Vol 47, Iss 1, pp 30-37 (2009)

The structure of 1D CuI crystals inside SWNTs
Kiselev NA, Zakalyukin RM, Zhigalina OM, Grobert N, Kumskov AS, Grigoriev YV, Chernysheva MV, Eliseev AA, Krestinin AV, Tretyakov YD, Freitag B, Hutchison JL
Journal Of Microscopy-Oxford 232, 2, 335-342 (2008)

Fabrication of carbon-nanotube-reinforced glass-ceramic nanocomposites by ultrasonic in situ sol-gel processing
Chu BTT, Tobias G, Salzmann CG, Ballesteros B, Grobert N, Todd RI, Green MLH
Journal of Materials Chemistry, Vol 18, Iss 44, pp 5344-5349 (2008)

Tumbling motion of magnetic particles on a magnetic substrate induced by a rotational magnetic field
Hisao Morimoto, Tomofumi Ukai, Yutaka Nagaoka, Nicole Grobert, and Toru Maekawa
Physical Review E 78, 021403 (2008)

Doping of carbon nanotubes with nitrogen improves protein coverage whilst retaining correct conformation
Burch HJ, Contera SA, de Planque MRR, Grobert N, Ryan JF
Nanotechnology Vol 19, Iss 38, 384001 (2008)

Effect of acid treatment on the structure and electrical properties of nitrogen-doped multiwalled carbon nanotubes
Burch HJ, Brown E, Contera SA, Toledo NC, Cox DC, Grobert N, Ling Hao, Ryan JF, Davies JA
Journal Of Physical Chemistry C, Vol 112, Iss 6, pp 1908-12 (2008)

Synthesis of SWCNT rings made by two Y junctions and possible applications in electron interferometry
Grimm D, Venezuela P, Banhart F, Grobert N, Terrones H, Ajayan PM, Terrones M, Latge A
Small, Vol 3, Iss 11, pp 1900-5 (2007)

Lipid-modulated assembly of magnetized iron-filled carbon nanotubes in millimeter-scale structures
Toledo NC, de Planque MRR, Antoranz Contera S, Grobert N, Ryan JF
Japanese Journal Of Applied Physics Vol 46, No 4B, pp 2799-2805 (2007)

Carbon nanotubes - becoming clean
Grobert N
Materials Today 10 (1-2): 28-35 (2007)

Nanotubes - grow or go?
Grobert N
Materials Today 9 (10): 64-64 (2006)

Electrical conductance and current-induced breakdown in individual CNx nanotubes
Burch HJ, Brown E, Davies JA, Hao L, Antoranz Contera S, Grobert N and Ryan JF
Applied Physics Letters 89 (14): Art. No. 143110 (2006)

Projects Available

Up-scaling graphene manufacturing to meet target device specifications
Dr. A.A. Koos, Professor N. Grobert

For graphene to become industrially viable und useful for technological applications large scale production of high-quality graphene must be developed. This project will investigate different routes to manufacturing highest grade graphene and the feasibility of up-scaling production. State of the art characterisation techniques will be employed for quality control, and close collaboration with internationally leading industries will form an integral part of the project.

Also see homepages: Nicole Grobert

Development of novel wet chemical techniques towards dedicated nanoparticles manufacturing
Dr. F. Dillon, Professor N. Grobert

Nanomaterials' properties are highly depended on their atomic structure and composition. This project will focus on the synthesis of dedicated nanoparticles defined properties. The student will investigate the influence of various parameters on particle size, shape, concentration and composition. Experiments will involve wet-chemical techniques in conjunction with state-of-the-art electron microscopy techniques. This project is essential to the group and will be an integral part of the ongoing research activities. It will be carried out in close collaboration with Dr K Moh, Prof E Arzt (Leibniz Institute for New Materials Saarbruecken, Germany), and industrial partners.

Also see homepages: Nicole Grobert

Novel routes to manufacturing layered inorganic nanomaterials
Dr. F. Dillon, Dr. R. Nicholls, Professor N. Grobert

Cabon nanotubes, have attracted increasingly more attention due to their outstanding properties in recent years. Concurrently, other 1D nanomaterials such as, inorganic nanowires and nanotubes of other layered materials, such as MoS2, WS2, BN, have been explored. Recently, new techniques for the precise structural control of WS2 nanomaterials were developed in house. Larger laboratory scale production, however, is still scarce and needs to be developed in order to make these novel nanomaterials viable for further characterisation, manipulation and application. This project will be focusing on the development of novel routes to inorganic 1D nanomaterials using chemical vapour deposition techniques. In this project the student will work closely with other members of the group and the samples produced by the student will be an integral part of a collaborative project with Dr Michael B Johnston (Department of Physics) and Dr Kylie Vincent (Department of Chemistry). It is envisaged to publish the findings in a peer reviewed journal and conference participation will be encouraged.

Also see homepages: Nicole Grobert

Graphene ribbons for nanoelectronics
Dr. A.A. Koos, Professor N. Grobert

Controlling the structure and hence properties of nanomaterials is essential for their successful implementation in devices. This project will focus on the generation of graphene ribbons and their detailed characterisation using state-of-the-art in-situ characterisation techniques.

Also see homepages: Nicole Grobert

Hierarchical nanostructures for energy applications
Dr. F. Dillon, Dr. A.A. Koos, Professor N. Grobert

This project will aim to develop fast, facile, and inexpensive routes to manufacturing hierarchical inorganic nanostructures for energy applications. Various production techniques and combinations of these will be explored including hydrothermal methods, chemical vapour deposition techniques, and wet chemistry.

Also see homepages: Nicole Grobert

Imaging and spectroscopy of 2D nanomaterials
Prof P D Nellist, Prof N Grobert, Dr J R Yates, Dr R J Nicholls

The very small (~0.1 nm) beam widths available in the scanning transmission electron microscope allow for extremely high resolution imaging and spectroscopy of materials at the individual atom level. Such an approach is extremely powerful for investigating 2D nanomaterials such as graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides that are currently of great interest in a wide range of applications because of their electronic and mechanical properties. The aim is to measure not only atomic positions by direct imaging, but also to make use of atomic resolution spectroscopy to probe bonding. An example application is graphene containing heteroatoms (e.g. nitrogen, boron and phosphorous). The incorporation of heteroatoms can be used to modify the growth processes of such materials and to control their response to mechanical deformation or electrical transport. By combining imaging and spectroscopy of such materials with simulations of bonding and structure using density functional theory calculations, we aim to further understand the mechanisms by which heteroatoms can modify the properties of these materials.

Also see homepages: Nicole Grobert Peter Nellist Rebecca Nicholls Jonathan Yates

Making and manipulating metal nanowires inside carbon nanotubes
Professor N Grobert

Ferromagnetic nanowires have attracted much interest and are widely used across different disciplines, including biology and medicine. In preliminary experiments, ferromagnetic nanoparticles and -wires have proven to be highly efficient for manipulating nano- and micro-scale objects. Recently it has been shown that carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can be filled during growth with pure metals and alloys simply by varying catalyst concentration. The carbon coating prevents nanowire oxidation making them easy to handle.

This project is aimed at the production of metal-filled carbon nanotubes, their structural characterisation using state-of the art analytical electron microscopy. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with Professor Toru Maekawa (Bio-Nano Electronics Research Centre, Toyo University, Japan). The candidate will have the opportunity to interact with researchers based at the Bio-Nano Electronic Research Centre and will be participating at the 21st Century's Centre of Excellence Programme on Bioscience and Nanotechnology.

Also see homepages: Nicole Grobert

Also see a full listing of New projects available within the Department of Materials.