Prof Daren Caruana

Prof Daren Caruana

Professor of Physical Chemistry

Dept of Chemistry

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
27th Sep 1999

Research summary

The principal driver for my research is to investigate areas that are contemporary with a firm objective of pushing the boundaries of my field and influencing fresh scientific trends. I have several areas of interest with a central connecting theme being electrochemistry. Examples of areas that I work in are:

(a)  Gas phase electrochemistry: The central hypothesis is based on considering a gaseous plasma as either an electrolyte in much the same way as a liquid or solid electrolyte, or an electrode due to the availability of free electrons. This is a significant discovery that represents a paradigm shift in electrochemical science and is opening new avenues for research, e.g. the development of an GC analyser, surface oxide patterning as well as understanding the dynamics of gas phase redox reactions.

(b)  Bioaerosol Detection: A major research initiative from my group, with a strongly enterprise direction, is to develop a new sensing approach to detect and identify airborne biological materials or bioaerosols. This is a relatively new area of research for my group, which is focused on developing a surveillance system for the clinical environment.

(c)   Astroelectrochemistry: An example of applying my application of expertise to different disciplines is captured in a perspectives paper published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (2010, 12, 3072). In this paper, I proposed a completely new electrochemical based hypothesis for the non-equilibrium processing of chemical species in the interstellar medium, which I have named “Astroelectrochemistry”.

(d)  Surfactant films: Another example of my distinctive pioneering research is demonstrated by the paper describing electrochemical measurements in a free-standing surfactant film (Electrochem. Commun., 2009, 11, 1226). This paper presents the first investigation of mass transport in 2D liquid films. The innovative aspect is the uncomplicated experimental set-up that made the work possible.


University of Southampton
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1994
University of Warwick
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 1990


My training is fairly interdisciplinary, having read Biochemistry at the University of Warwick, and then completing a PhD in Electrochemistry under the supervision of Prof. P.N. Bartlett at the University of Southampton. I held postdoctoral positions; at the University of Malta, with Prof Joe Bannister, University of Texas at Austin working on the development of enzyme linked electrochemical oligonucleotide hybridisation in the laboratory of Prof. Adam Heller, and at the Department of Chemistry at UCL in the laboratory of Prof. David E. Williams, working on the development of semiconductor solid state gas sensors for the measurement of gaseous ozone.

I have been at UCL as an academic since 1999 and I am currently Professor of Physical Chemistry at the department of chemistry