Meeting Xiaoyu in Beijing!

Charl and Xiaoyu (former BCFN MSc student who worked in the FRG) met up in Beijing at the recent Alumni meeting. This was the second time they met up (Xiaoyu also came to visit Charl at Tsinghua).

Xiaoyu is doing well, working for a battery R&D company, whilst also exploring further opportunities. In addition to these more formal meeting, Charl, Xiaoyu, Jennifer and other friends from BISC met up for dinner! Great to catch up!


Charl and Yuanlei meet in … Shanghai!

Yuanlei and Charl met up at the UoB’s China graduation ceremony, held, for the first time, in Shanghai! It was great to catch up with Yuanlei, who helped at the ceremony as volunteer. Yuanlei was also responsible for a for a great video of the event, which will be made public very soon!

It was a fantastic afternoon and a great privilege to share in the day with many UoB graduates and their families!

Well done and congratulations to those we graduated!

Wei’s paper accepted (and already appeared online) by Chemical Science!

A paper by Wei (who visited the Faul Research Group as a CSC visitor for one year), Maha, Alex, Kazu, Ben and other collaborators was just accepted for publication by Chemical Science!

The paper shows, for the first time, the ability to reversibly tune the packing parameter of amphiphiles (the packing parameter is a concept that has been used for many decades to predict the structures amphiphiles will form on self-assembly). We here show that it is possible to tune the tail volume of our electroactive amphiphile through non-covalent interactions (i.e., doping of the tetra(aniline)-containing tail!), providing a route to tune self-assembled structures reversibly between fibers and vesicle-like objects.

As the paper is available freely as an open-access publication, feel free to download and read “An addressable packing parameter approach for reversibly tuning the assembly of oligo(aniline)-based supra-amphiphiles“.  Well done Wei and team!

Dicker’s 2017 Scientific Reports publication a “Top 100” paper!

Congratulations to Dicker, who’s 2017 paper in Scientific Reports was recently selected as a “Top 100 accessed chemistry article“!

The open access paper, entitled, “Light-Triggered Soft Artificial Muscles: Molecular-Level Amplification of Actuation Control Signals” discussed a biomimetic molecular-level approach that employed light, with its excellent spatial and temporal control properties, to actuate soft, pH-responsive hydrogel artificial muscles. Although this actuation is triggered by light, it is largely powered by the resulting excitation and runaway chemical reaction of a light-sensitive acid autocatalytic solution in which the actuator is immersed. This process produced actuation strains of up to 45% and a three-fold chemical amplification of the controlling light-trigger, realising a new strategy for the creation of highly functional soft actuating systems.

Scientific Reports published more than 5000 chemistry papers in 2017 – outstanding achievement, well done Dicker!


Superb viva from Dr Charlie!

Charlie (jointly supervised by close collaborator Ian Manners and Charl) defended his thesis earlier this week, with Prof Gustavo Fernandez from Muenster acting as external examiner.  Charlie did a superb job, and will be wrapping up his minor corrections soon!

In addition to the viva, we also enjoyed an afternoon of student talks (with Maha from the FRG giving a great talk!), with Gustavo ending off the afternoon of exciting science with some of the detailed mechanistic work on supramolecular self-assembly from his laboratories.