Dr Alan Dunbar

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Senior Lecturer in Energy

REF Co-ordinator

Dr Alan Dunbar
+44 114 222 7551

Full contact details

Dr Alan Dunbar
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Room G56
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

I attained my MPhys in Physics with Electronics at UMIST (Manchester) in 1997, and my PhD entitled `Preparation and characterisation of Silicon – Germanium quantum dots´ in 2001 under the supervision of Dr M. Halsall. After my PhD, I moved to the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand to work for two years with Associate Professor Simon Brown investigating the electrical properties of metallic nano-particles. I applied percolation theory to explain the onset of conduction in thin films of deposited nano-particles in conjunction with morphological data obtained by atomic force microscopy and electron microscopy.

I then returned to the UK to begin working in the University of Sheffield's Department of Physics and Astronomy where I developed gas sensors for volatile organic compounds with Dr T. Richardson. The porphyrin based gas sensors undergo strong colour changes upon exposure to specific toxic gases which co-ordinate to the porphyrin as axial ligands.

I then took up a research post working with Prof. R. Jones FRS and Prof D Lidzey focused on the optimization of polymer based solar cells through understanding how the nano-scale morphology of the thin polymer films wthin the devices influences the device efficiency. This involved in situ spectroscopic ellipsometry and x-ray reflectivity to investigate the development of phase separation during the deposition of the thin films of solar cell materials.

In 2009 I was appointed as lecturer in energy in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biological at the University of Sheffield, and in 2010 I took on the role of first year tutor. In Jan 2014 I took on the role of Post Graduate Research Tutor, and then in Sept 2014 became Director of Student Support. In 2015 I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Energy. I now lead an active and diverse research group studying various research interests.

Research interests
  • Polymer Based Solar Cells
  • Experimental techniques to characterise nano-scale phase separation in polymers
  • Thin film toxic gas sensors
  • Electrical properties of nano-structured systems

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

Teaching activities
  • CPE430/ CPE6000 Low Carbon Energy, Science and Technology
  • CPE1002 Chemical Engineering Design (Chemical Process Principles 1)
  • CPE101/110