Prof. Michael James

Prof. Michael James


Michael James

B.Sc. (Hons) Syd., Ph.D. Cambridge
Visiting Professorial Fellow
1Bragg Institute, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation,
Building 87, Locked Bag 2001, Kirrawee DC, NSW 2232, Australia.
Ph: +61-2-9717-9299; Email:
2School of Chemistry, University of New South Wales, Kensington NSW 2052, Australia


Graduate of: University of Sydney (B.Sc. Hons.; 1990); Cambridge University, UK (Ph.D., 1994). Postdoctoral Fellow: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (1995-1997), and Rutherford Appleton-Laboratory, UK (1995). Visiting Fellow: University of Nagoya, Japan (1996). Staff Member: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (1998-current); Senior Principal Research Scientist (2008-current); Lead Instrument Scientist: Platypus Neutron Reflectometer (2008-current); Leader of Chemical Deuteration Laboratory (2010-Current). Adjunct Associate Professor: Biophysics UNSW (2003-2007); Visiting Professorial Fellow: Chemistry UNSW (2007-Current).


My research interests are based around investigation of nanoscale thin-films and molecular interactions at surfaces, with applications in surface engineering, cell membrane biology and molecular sensing. In collaboration with domestic and international scientists, we study thin-film systems that are used for molecular electronics, sensing, surface passivation and platforms to investigate biological processes. For the most part these systems are developed through molecular self-assembly, however films generated from evaporated small molecules, polymers and dendrimers are also of interest. In addition to reactive molecules bound on silicon, the molecular interface between organic, metallic and inorganic semiconductors are also investigated. In addition to developing X-ray and neutron instrumentation (reflectometry) to characterise these systems, I have also been active in developing in situ electrochemical methods and AC impedance spectroscopy to complement structural studies.

Current research projects include:

  1. Studies of nanoscale adsorbed water on self-assembled monolayers (with Dr Simone Ciampi and Professor Justin Gooding, Chemistry UNSW).
  2. Studies of switchable surfaces (with Dr Simone Ciampi, Professor Justin Gooding and Dr. Jason Harper, Chemistry UNSW).
  3. Morphology of thin-film electronic devices: organic solar cells, OLEDs and explosive sensors (with Professors Paul Burn and Ian Gentle, University of Queensland).
  4. Investigation of nanoscale polymer thin films (with Dr Chiara Neto, University of Sydney).
  5. Studies of organic-dye based solar cells (with Professors David Officer and Gordon Wallace, University of Wollongong).
  6. Studies of antimicrobial and prion peptide interactions with cellular membranes (with Dr Martin Boland, Professors Steve Collins and Frances Separovic, University of Melbourne).
  7. Investigation of the outer cellular membrane of gram negative bacteria (with Drs Anton Le Brun and Stephen Holt, ANSTO).
  8. Photochromically active molecular switches (with Drs Tracey Hanley and Tamim Darwish, ANSTO and Richard Evans, CSIRO).
  9. Interactions of nanoparticle cubic phases with molecular surfaces (with Drs Patrick Hartley and Hsin-Hui Shen, CSIRO).
  10. Oxidative stress on cellular membranes (with Dr Duncan McGillivray, University of Auckland).
  11. Chemical deuteration of molecular species for NMR and neutron scattering (with Drs Peter Holden, Tamim Darwish, Emily Luks and Paramjit Bansal, ANSTO).


(Full list of publications is available here)

  1. M. James, D. Cassidy, D. J. Goossens and R. L. Withers, "The Phase Diagram and Tetragonal Superstructures of the Rare Earth Cobaltate Phases Ln1-xSrxCoO3-d (Ln = La3+, Pr3+, Nd3+, Sm3+, Gd3+, Y3+, Ho3+, Dy3+, Er3+, Tm3+ and Yb3+)", J. Solid State Chem., 177, 1886-1895 (2004).
  2. S. Ciampi, T. Böcking, K. A. Kilian, M. James, J. B. Harper, J. J. Gooding, "Functionalization of Acetylene-Terminated Monolayers on Si(100) Surfaces: A Click Chemistry Approach", Langmuir, 23, 9320-9329 (2007).
  3. S. Ciampi, P. K. Eggers, G. Le Saux, M. James, J. B. Harper, J. J. Gooding, "Silicon (100) Electrodes Resistant to Oxidation in Aqueous Solutions: An Unexpected Benefit of Surface Acetylene Moities", Langmuir, 25, 2530-2539 (2009).
  4. C. Neto, M. James, and A. Telford, "On the Presence of a PS Top Layer in Microphase Separated Thin PS-PEO Films", Macromolecules, 42, 4801-4808 (2009).
  5. H. Cavaye, A. Smith, M. James, A. Nelson, P. L. Burn, I. R. Gentle, P. Meredith, "Solid-state dendrimer sensors: probing the diffusion of an explosive analogue using neutron reflectometry", Langmuir, 25, 12800-12805 (2009).
  6. T. A. Darwish, R. A. Evans, N. Malic, G. Triani, M. James and T. Hanley, "CO2 Triggering and Controlling Orthogonally Multi-responsive Photochromic Systems", J. American Chemical Society, 132, 10748-10755 (2010).
  7. A. M. Telford, M. James, L. Meagher and C. Neto, "Thermally cross-linked PNVP films as new antifouling coatings for biomedical applications", Applied Materials and Interfaces, 2, 2399-2408 (2010)
  8. K. Wagner, M. J. Griffith, M. James, A. J. Mozer, P. Wagner, G. Triani, D. L. Officer and G. G. Wallace, "Significant performance improvement of porphyrin-sensitised TiO2 solar cells under prolonged illumination", J. Phys. Chem C, 115, 317-326 (2011).
  9. M. James, A. Nelson, S. A. Holt, T. Saerbeck, W. A. Hamilton and F. Klose, "The multipurpose time-of-flight neutron reflectometer "Platypus" at Australia's OPAL Reactor", Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, A, 632, 112-123 (2011).
  10. K. H. Lee, P. E. Schwenn, A. R. G. Smith, H. Cavaye, P. E. Shaw, M. James, K. Kruger, P. Meredith, I. R. Gentle, and P. L. Burn, "Morphology of all-solution-processed bilayer organic solar cells", Advanced Materials, 23, 766-770 (2011).