Smart Materials and Surfaces Group

Welcome to the Smart Materials and Surfaces research group at UNSW

Our Group

We have expertise in electrochemistry, optics, nanomaterials synthesis and surface modification with a strong focus on interfacing materials with biological systems.

Group photo from 2016
Group photo from 2016

We specialise in nanoscale control over materials either by highly controlled synthesis or via the molecule level modification of surfaces using self-assembled monolayers, biological molecules and nanomaterials to impart a desired functionality to that surface such as to:

  • Selectively detect an analyte – biosensors and nanodiagnostics
  • Influence biological processes – biomaterials and nanotherapeutics
  • Effectively catalyse reactions to generate valuable products – electrocatalysis
  • Create well defined 3D cell cultures – biomaterials

The research group has around 30 members working on a variety of research projects funded through the Australian Research Council Discovery, Linkage and Centre of Excellence programs, as well as the National Health and Medical Research Council and a variety of industrial sponsors.

The group is also part of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine of which Professor Gooding is one of the three directors. As a result, much of our research has a nanomedicine focus where we modify surfaces for diagnostic devices, imaging and biomaterials as well as more fundamental work on electron transfer, catalysis and cell-surface interactions.

Research Projects

There are four main research projects in the group:

  1. Ultrasensitive biosensors for detecting biomarkers for liquid biopsy and infection detection. (with Professor Richard Tilley, UNSW and the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine)
  2. The 3D printing of cell cultures (with Professor Maria Kavallaris and Professor Katharina Gaus, Medicine UNSW, Inventia Life Sciences and the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine)
  3.  Electrocatalysis using well defined metal nanoparticles with an emphasis on understanding the role of nanoconfinement in electrochemical systems (with Professor Richard Tilley, UNSW and Professor Wolfgang Schuhmann, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
  4.  Wearable biosensors (with Professor Katharina Gaus, Medicine UNSW and startup companies)