Imperial College London

Dr Martyn A McLachlan

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Materials

Reader in Materials



+44 (0)20 7594 9692martyn.mclachlan Website




RSM G03Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





The focus of my research to date has been the synthesis of three dimensionally periodic macroporous solids, specifically a class of materials referred to as synthetic opals. These materials posses a periodic arrangement of pores on a length scale which can be controllably altered from tens to hundreds of nanometres. It is this property which presents exciting potential for use as nanoscale templates - this theme is central to all of the research areas in which I am currently involved.

In my current research I am investigating two specific areas where the incorporation of nanostructured materials should have a significant impact. One area is the developing field of renewable energy, I am investigating the synthesis of organic and hybrid organic/inorganic photovoltaic devices. The structure formed by the templating approach theoretically should permit a marked increase in the efficiency in these devices. The materials challenges of this project lie in tuning the properties of the components of the photovoltaic device Ð I believe that the synthetic strategy employed offers this control.

The second major area in which my current interest lies is the use of synthetic opals to form photonic crystals, again using the template directed synthesis. By forming devices which can predictably alter their properties as a response to external stimuli the properties of the device can be controllably altered. By investigating response to chemical, electrical or magnetic stimuli it will be possible to form nanostructured devices which can be used as sensors and simple switches.

I maintain a strong research interest in the synthesis of the colloidal building blocks used in the formation of the synthetic opals, the common link between all of my research interests. I have developed a reproducible synthesis for the formation of monodisperse spheres in a range of organic and inorganic materials, to develop this I am interested in forming surface functionalised spheres to facilitate the infiltration of target materials into the template - thus obtaining control not only of the chemicals and materials used to obtain the functional structures but also in controlling the chemistry and surface properties of the template.


Guest Lectures

RSC-CCS Symposium on Organic and Molecular Materials for Light Harvesting, Chengdu UniversityTianjin University University of Chemical TechnologyBeijingChina, 2012

Oxides in Plastic Electronics, Nagoya Institute of Technology (NITech), Nagoya, Japan, 2012

The role of metal oxides in plastic electronics, Centre for Plastic Electronics, 2nd Annual CPE WInter School, Bergün, Switzerland, 2012

Optimising the morphology of hybrid photovoltaic devices, King Abdullah University o Science and Technology, Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2011

Morphology and structure control of hybrid photovoltaic active layers, Oxford University, Condensed Matter Physics, Department of Physics, 2011

The role of hybrid nanostructures in photovoltaic development, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland, 2011

Developing efficient hybrid photovoltaics, Tyndall National Institute, Cork, Ireland, 2011

Developing hybrid (oxide: organic) photovoltaics, Centre for Plastic Electronics Symposium 2010, Imperial College London, 2010

Hybrid Photovoltaic Heterostructures: Understanding Planar Systems and Developing Nanostructured Devices., International Forum on Clean Energy and Green Economy, Ordos, China, 2010

Research Staff


Research Student Supervision

Petros,E, Water purification and energy generation

Yong,A, Water purification and energy generation

Costas,J, Nanostructured hybrid LEDs

Hewlett,R, Hybrid Electronics

Ling,Z, Novel fabrication routes for large area colloidal crystals (Meng Oct 2010-Jun 2011)

Philpott,A, Synthesis of Inverse Opal Nanostructures for Photovoltaic Applications (Meng Oct 2009-Jun 2010)

Lavergne,M-A, Crystallisation studies of polymer thin films on ZnO (Feb-Jul 2010)

Franklin,JB, Solution Processing Methods for ZnO/CuPc Hybrid Photovoltaic Devices

Downing,J, Structured Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Photovoltaics