Frank Dillon

Dr Frank Dillon

ERC Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Kellog College BSc (Hons) and Ph.D. (National University of Ireland, Cork)

Short Bio

I graduated in Chemistry from the National University of Ireland, Cork in 2002. I obtained an Innovation Partnership Grant from Enterprise Ireland and Intel Ireland in order to carry out his PhD research in Materials Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Trevor Spalding. My work centred on the synthesis of carbon nanotubes as thermal conductors and reinforcing materials in mesoporous silica based composites and resulted in the award of his PhD in 2006 for the Development of carbon nanotube reinforced ceramic materials. Subsequently, I worked in the Tyndall National Institute, Cork with the Advanced Materials and Surfaces group as a post-doctoral fellow with Professor Martyn Pemble. The group is primarily concerned with the growth, characterisation and infiltration of photonic crystal based systems and, as part of this effort I was invited to the Physics Department in Macquarie University, Sydney as a visiting fellow for a month in spring 2008. I joined the Nanomaterials Group in the Department of Materials, Oxford University in July 2008. I am very interested in the promotion of science and have staffed the UCC stand at the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition on numerous occasions and have also staffed the chemistry department stand for open days at UCC. I was also involved in the “Chemistry Magic Show” for visiting primary and second level students at UCC and Tyndall. I have hosted numerous visits for secondary level students to the labs in Oxford and have demonstrated the use of SEM to the public during the Oxford Science Festival 2011. I am a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and of the British Carbon Group.

Research Summary

The addition of carbon nanotubes to ceramic or glass matrices has the potential to provide composites with novel properties but composites with a uniform dispersion of undamaged nanotubes have proved difficult to make. Frank’s work in Oxford has involved the production of nanotubes using aerosol assisted CVD which can be used to produce large quantities of clean nanotubes. These nanotubes were then coated with ceramic precursors and were characterised by XRD, HRSEM, Raman, HRTEM and TGA and their mechanical strength and thermal conductivity were also measured. Recent work has concentrated on the formation of transition metal based nanoparticles (NiP, CoO and Fe3O4) as catalysts for carbon nanototube growth. Also, he has worked to find a correlation between the magnetic properties and the synthesis parameters of iron-filled carbon nanotubes. This should enable one to optimise and tune the magnetic properties according to a specific application. Frank is also working on novel, fast and facile methods for the controlled synthesis of tungsten disulphide and other chalcogenide nanomaterials.