Advanced Materials Research Unit

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Research Areas

The Advanced Materials Research Unit (AMRU) of the Polymer and Advanced Materials Research Group brings together experts from organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry and polymer nanotechnology for a range of applications, including organic solar cells, quantum dots, switchable magnetic materials and safe rubber.

The AMRU applies its expertise in fundamental chemical and polymer synthetic methodologies to generate materials with pre-determined characteristics for targeted application.  Specific exemplars include the development of polymeric matrices for the incorporation of nanoparticles, synthesis of molecular, thermal and optical memories, block copolymer development for use in organic solar cells and the construction of designer polymer-peptide biomaterials. 


The AMRU is committed to working closely with local, national and international companies and research institutes/Universities. Current AMRU collaborators include Konarka, Merck, Hereaus, AMCor. Siemens, Evonik, Robinson Brothers Ltd, Nanoco Technologies Ltd, University of Groningen and the Technical University of Vienna.

Selected Collaborations-


Financial support for the research work of the AMRU is broadly based covering regional, national and international funding agencies, including the EU, EPSRC, Royal Society and Royal Society of Chemistry.

Selected Publications


7) Harikrishna Erothu, Arun A. Sohdi, Anitha C. Kumar, Andrew J. Sutherland, Christine Dagron-Lartigau, Ahmed Allal, Roger C. Hiorns, Paul D. Topham. Facile synthesis of poly(3-hexylthiophene)-block-poly(ethylene oxide) copolymers via Steglich esterification. Polymer Chemistry (2013), 4(13), 3652-3655.

6) Paul D. Topham, Andrew Glidle, Daniel T. W. Toolan, Michael P. Weir, Maximillian Skoda, Robert Barker, Jonathan R. Howse. The relationship between charge density and polyelectrolyte brush profile using simultaneous neutron reflectivity and in situ total internal reflection FTIR. Langmuir (2013). 29(20), 6068-6076.

5) Jonathan M. Behrendt, David A. Nagel, Evita Chundoo, Lois M. Alexander, Damien Dupin, Anna V. Hine, Mark Bradley, Andrew J Sutherland. Synthesis and Characterization of Dual-Functionalized Core-Shell Fluorescent Microspheres for Bioconjugation and Cellular Delivery. PLoS ONE (2013), 8(3), e50713.

4) Daniel T. W. Toolan, Ehtsham ul Haq, Alan Dunbar, Stephen Ebbens, Nigel Clarke, Paul D. Topham, Jonathan R. Howse. Direct Observation of morphological development during the spin-coating of polystyrene-poly(methyl methacrylate) polymer blends. Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics (2013), 51(11), 875-881. Featured as the front cover.

3) Sukunya Juikham, Paul D. Topham, Brian J. Tighe. Identification of Optically Clear Regions of Ternary Polymer Blends using a Novel Rapid Screening Method. Polymer International (2013). DOI: 10.1002/pi.4512.

2) Nikki Pullan, Max Liu, Paul D. Topham. Reversible Addition-Fragmentation Chain Transfer Polymerization of 2-Chloro-1,3-Butadiene. Polymer Chemistry (2013), 4(7), 2272-2277.

1) Daniel T. W. Toolan, Andrew J. Parnell, Paul D. Topham, Jonathan R. Howse. Directed phase separation of PFO:PS blends during spin-coating using feedback controlled in situ stroboscopic fluorescence microscopy. Journal of Materials Chemistry A (2013), 1, 3587-3592.

Research Leaders

Dr Andrew J. Sutherland

Dr Paul D. Topham

Dr Petra J. Van Koningsbruggen

Contact Details

a.j.sutherland@aston.ac.uk (+44 (0)121 204 3425)

p.d.topham@aston.ac.uk (+44 (0)121 204 3413)

p.vankoningsbruggen@aston.ac.uk (+44 (0)121 204 3917)

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research