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Alison Downard


School of Physical & Chemical Sciences

17 October 2023

Qualifications & Memberships

  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) (University of Otago)

  • Doctor of Philosophy (University of Otago)

  • International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) (Professional Organisation): Technical Expert in the field of chemical testing

  • International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE) (Professional Organisation): Member and Vice President

  • MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (Teaching/Research Organisation): Principal Investigator

  • New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (NZIC) (Professional Organisation): Member

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi

  • Docteur Honoris Causa, Université de Rennes 1, France

Research Interests

Our major research focus combines electrochemistry and surface chemistry. We specialise in preparation of nanoscale organic layers on conducting materials, frequently through electrografting procedures.

Our work has contributed to the basic understanding of how the layers form, their structure and their attachment to the substrate.

Our expertise includes developing methods for patterning these layers and for preparing layers incorporating more than one chemical species in controlled amounts.

Through on-surface chemistry on reactive layers, a wide variety of functional interfaces can be prepared.

Recently we have expanded our research in two areas: preparing high-performing catalytic electrodes by tailoring immobilised molecular catalysts, and using nanoscale layers to control the surface electronic and chemical properties of transparent conducting oxides.

  • Nanoscale grafted layers
  • Electrochemistry
  • Surface chemistry
  • Carbon materials
  • Metal oxides
  • Nanotechnology

Recent Publications

  • Lynam MF., Ke NJ., Bradley SJ., Nann T., Neiman A., Reeves RJ., Downard AJ., Golovko VB. and Allen MW. (2019) Size-controlled, high optical quality ZnO nanowires grown using colloidal Au nanoparticles and ultra-small cluster catalysts. APL Materials 7(2)
  • Schuurman JC., McNeill AR., Martinez-Gazoni RF., Scott JI., Reeves RJ., Allen MW. and Downard AJ. (2019) The effect of covalently bonded aryl layers on the band bending and electron density of SnO2 surfaces probed by synchrotron X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 21(32): 17913-17922.
  • Wu T., Lankshear ER. and Downard AJ. (2019) Simultaneous Electro-Click and Electrochemically Mediated Polymerization Reactions for One-Pot Grafting from a Controlled Density of Anchor Sites. ChemElectroChem 6(19): 5149-5154.
  • Downard AJ., Farquhar AK. and Brooksby PA. (2018) Measuring the Capacitance at Few- and Many-Layered Graphene Electrodes in Aqueous Acidic Solutions. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 122(11): 6103-6108.
  • Farquhar AK., Brooksby PA. and Downard AJ. (2018) Controlled Spacing of Few-Layer Graphene Sheets Using Molecular Spacers: Capacitance That Scales with Sheet Number. ACS Applied Nano Materials 1(3): 1420-1429.
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