Dr Chris Blackman

Materials and Inorganic Chemistry

Dr Chris Blackman

Address: Room 328, Department of Chemistry, UCL
Phone No: +44 (0)20 7679 4703
Fax No: +44 (0)20 7679 7463
Extension: 24703
Photo of Chris Blackman

Research areas of interest include:

  • Environmental monitoring
  • Photocatalysis
  • Functionalised nanomaterials
  • Atomic layer deposition

Research Overview

For a more dynamic view of this page please visit my research home.

My group works on the development and application of materials to tackle problems in the fields of environmental monitoring, catalysis and energy. The materials approach we use is to leverage vapour deposition techniques (chemical vapoour deposition, atomic layer deposition) to provide direct integration of (functionalised) nanomaterials with devices and to allow new device fabrication strategies. This work is cross-disciplinary and application led, involving close collaboration with both academic and industrial partners and with stakeholders to deliver and evaluate the research.

Environmental Monitoring

C.Blackman, Adv. Funct. Mater., 2013, 23, 1313-1322; DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201201871

Recent research has focussed on the use of aerosol-assisted chemical vapour deposition for synthesis of metal nanoparticle functionalised metal oxide nanostructures for use in sensitive and selective chemoresistive sensors. The use of this technique has advantages over other methods of integrating nanomaterials and devices of having fewer processing steps, relatively low processing temperature,and no requirement for substrate pre-treatment.

In addition this provides advantages in utilising nanomaterials on low power microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) substrates, where fabrication can be difficult using conventional techniques.

Further, by simple modification of the process a family of nanosensors can be produced allowing quantative detection of mixtures of gases via a sensor array.

This work has been featured in an Emerging Investigators issue of Chemical Communications and as a cover article in Advanced Functional Materials.


Chris Blackman Research Image

We are interested in applying a range of vapour deposited functionalised nanomaterials in a range of catalytic applications, tested in collaboration with partners in Chemical Engineering and at Imperial College.

Our principal interests are in extending the range of metal nanoparticles we can synthesise, investigating parameters that control the size and dispersity of these particles and also the range of support materials we can utilise.

Results are currently at an early stage but demonstrate extremely promising selectvity in test reactions and application in microcatalysis is being investigated.



Our group is working on a range of materials and applications, from photoelectrochemical and photocatalytic water splitting, CO2 utlisation via photocatalysis and battery electrodes.

In all of these applications we are interested in the application of new nanomaterials and/or new device fabrication strategies, for instance opportunities afforded by atomic layer deposition of ultra-thin conformal coatings in water splitting and in metal nanoparticle plasmonic enhancement of visible light semiconductor photocatalysis.

Recent research on the use of CVD for the deposition of composite thin films composed of bismuth oxide and platinum nanoparticles has been featured in a“Young Investigators Award” issue of Inorganica Chimica Acta.

All Publications

Selected Publications

1. Single-Step Deposition of Au- and Pt-Nanoparticle-Functionalized Tungsten Oxide Nanoneedles Synthesized Via Aerosol-Assisted CVD, and Used for Fabrication of Selective Gas Microsensor Arrays
Vallejos, Stella; Umek, Polona; Stoycheva, Toni; et al.
Advanced Functional Materials Volume: 23 Issue: 10 Pages: 1313-1322 Published: MAR 13 2013
Times Cited: 1
DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201201871
Au nanoparticle-functionalised WO3 nanoneedles and their application in high sensitivity gas sensor devices
Vallejos, S; Stoycheva, T; Umek, P; et al.
Chemical Communications Volume: 47 Issue: 1 Pages: 565-567 Published: 2011
Times Cited: 36
DOI: 10.1039/c0cc02398a
3. Atmospheric pressure chemical vapour deposition of thermochromic tungsten doped vanadium dioxide thin films for use in architectural glazing
Blackman, CS; Piccirillo, C; Binions, R; et al.
Thin Solid Films Volume: 517 Issue: 16 Pages: 4565-4570 Published: JUN 30 2009
Times Cited: 25
DOI: 10.1016/j.tsf.2008.12.050
4. Aerosol assisted chemical vapour deposition of WO3 thin films from tungsten hexacarbonyl and their gas sensing properties
Ashraf, S; Blackman, CS; Palgrave, RG; et al.
Journal of Materials Chemistry Volume: 17 Issue: 35 Pages: 3708-3713 Published: 2007
Times Cited: 27
DOI: 10.1039/b705166b
5. Atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition of crystalline monoclinic WO3 and WO3-x thin films from reaction of WCl6 with O-containing solvents and their photochromic and electrochromic properties
Blackman, CS; Parkin, IP
Chemistry of Materials Volume: 17 Issue: 6 Pages: 1583-1590 Published: MAR 22 2005
Times Cited: 53
DOI: 10.1021/cm0403816

Learnexx 3D virtual lab simulation

My interests are in the use of web-based resources for enhancing learning outcomes from traditional methods of teaching at university level. This work has recently been acknowledged via a prestigious Provosts Teaching Award at UCL.

Recently I have been exploring the use of video lectures to create a virtual library to support postgraduate teaching and I have also been working with a software developer (Learnexx 3D) to develop 3D virtual lab simulations to be used in pre-lab preparation. A demo of the software can be found in the following link to the Learnexx simulation

This work has been supported by a variety of grants including, most recently, funding from UCL:

Enhancing the Chemistry programme using Virtual Learning Environments (VLE)

UCL Futures Grant

Developing web-based prelab tutorial support for teaching in the chemistry laboratory

UCL E-learning Development Grant