Professor Ivan Parkin

Research Overview

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Our group is concerned with developing innovative routes to technologically important inorganic materials. We also have a strong interest in the preparation and characterisation of new materials especially aspects of composition and microstructure.

Atmospheric Pressure chemical vapour deposition (APCVD)

We have developed APCVD routes to metal nitrides (VN, TiN, CrN) metal sufides (SnS, SnS2) and metal oxides (Cr2O3, VO2). These materials find application in hardness and solar control coatings. In conjunction with Pilkington Glass we are conducting pilot plant testing of metal oxynitrides as antireflective coatings and heat mirrors. In conjunction with Prof C. J. Carmalt we are designing, synthesising and evaluating new chemical precursors for the CVD of transition metal sulfides.

Solid state metathesis

We have been at the forefront of solid state metathesis reactions. These reactions are fast exothermic solid state combination reactions that enable synthesis of a wide range of crystalline materials in seconds (TiN, WC, BN, MoS2, GaP...). The reactions can progress with a small controlled chemical fireball in which temperatures reach 2,000 °C in a fraction of a second. We have been able to tune the system to control composition, microstructure and crystallinity. Recent work focuses on making metal carbides such as HfC (the highest melting point of any known material) and superconducting nitrides and carbonitrides.

Self propagating high temperature synthesis

In conjunction with Q.A.Pankhurst (Physics and astronomy, UCL) we have developed new magnetic materials by SHS. This has includes permanent magnets such as barium and strontium ferrite. We have discovered that an external magnetic field can greatly effect the velocity and temperature of an SHS synthesis wave. Ongoing work should lead to new designs for magnets and smart materials.

Antimicrobial coatings- hard surfaces and polymers

We have an interest in developing new antimicrobial coatings. This takes three forms- formation of hard photocatalytic surfaces (titania, tungsten oxide) that incorporate metal nanoparticles; formation of polymers with embedded light activated antimicrobial agents and formation of very hydrophobic surfaces. We have shown that silver can be embedded in titania coatings in the form of silver oxide and that the enhanced antimicrobial response comes from stabilisation of the photogenerated hole and electron. We have shown that light activated antimicrobials can be incorporated into polymers and that they have significant antimicrobial reponse. We have also made very hydrophobic surfaces where water droplets spin – rather than run across the surface, the spinning action promotes self – cleaning.

All work on antimicrobial surfaces is in collaboration with Prof. M. Wilson and Dr J. Pratten at the Eastman Dental Institute.

Formation of gold nanoparticles conjugates

A range of antimicrobial nanoparticle conjugates have been made by reaction of gold nanoparticles with tiopronin and Toluidene blue. This creates the most potent light activated antimicrobial agent ever made showing significant kill of staph. Aureus at sub 1 micromolar concentration. The synthesis of the conjugates is shown below in scheme 1.

Synthesis scheme for gold nanoparticle conjugates


This work is in association with Ondine biopharma.

Combinatorial CVD

We have developed combinatorial CVD for the formation of functionally graded films. This has enabled us to rapidly probe phase space and look for new materials. Using this method we have shown how morpohology and crystal orientation can be controlled in tungsten oxide films and how composite titania films consisting of rutile and anatase mixtures can be compositionally controlled. We have recently used this method to make a new oxynitride phase- Ti3O4N with the anosovite structure. The combinatorial CVd work is done in collaboration with Dr M. Green NIST, USA.

Other Areas of Interest

We have also developed projects in frustrated magnetism and metal oxychloride intercalation chemistry, amorphous alloys (Q.A.Pankhurst), chemical synthesis of nano-scaled materials and ELNES (Dr A. Craven, University of Glasgow).

Recent Grant Reports

IGR Report on Grant GR/R42511/01(PDF - 6MB) 
Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition as a Silicon Microfabrication-Compatible Route to Deposition of Gas Sensor Materials

IGR Report on Grants GR1 (PDF - 450kb) 
Intelligent Thermochromic Coatings; APCVD Prepared Metal Doped Vanadium Oxides

Final Report on Grants GR/M 82592/01 (PDF - 154kb) 
Raman Microscopy: Identification and Study of Pigments, Dyes and Thin Films on Glass Substrates 
Professor RJH Clark and Professor IP Parkin, Christopher Ingold Laboratories, University College London. 
Publications for this report can be viewed here .

IGR Report on Grants GR/M98623 and GR/M98630 (PDF - 190kb) 
Chemical Vapour Deposition of Transition and Main Group Metal Phosphides 
Prof. I. P. Parkin and Dr C. J. Carmalt, Department of Chemistry, University College London; Prof. K. C. Molloy, Department of Chemistry, University of Bath, Dr K. Sanderson Pilkington Glass and Dr S. Rushworth, Epichem.

IGR Report on Grants GR/M95059/01 and GR/M95042/01 (PDF - 2.72 MB) 
Self Cleaning Coatings - Tungsten Substituted Titania 
Prof. I. P. Parkin and Prof. R. J. H. Clark, Department of Chemistry, University College London; Prof. A. Mills, Department of Chemistry, University of Strathclyde and Dr K. Sanderson and Mr S. Hurst, Pilkington Glass.

Final reports

Awards and Medals

  • Professor Parkin was awarded the 2004 Beilby medal of the IOM-3/RSC/SCI for outstanding contributions to materials synthesis.
  • He was awarded a Royal Society /Wolfson Merrit award in 2006.
  • He was also awarded the 2007 Jubilee medal by the Russian Academy of scinces and the world ceramic congress for contributions to the research and development of SHS especially of complex oxides.