2009 McBain Medal winner

Dr Fernando Bresme’s research focuses on the investigation of complex interfaces, such as those appearing in nanoparticle and colloidal suspensions and soft matter materials (membranes and bio-molecules). His scientific contributions range from the explanation of long standing problems in interfacial science, to the development of novel computational techniques, passing through the discovery of novel phase behaviour relevant to ionic colloid crystals.

Dr Bresme’s research on nanoparticles and fluid interfaces is finding applications in a number of subjects: ionic liquid interfaces, interactions in nanoparticle suspensions and colloids at liquid-vapour and liquid-liquid interfaces, and adsorption of particles at biological tissues (nanotoxicology). On the fundamental side, his work has provided an accurate estimate of the line tension in nanometer scale systems. This has clarified the order of magnitude expected for the line tension, which is extremely difficult to measure in nanoscale systems. Moreover, his research on hydration forces has strong implications for the interactions of colloids in solution as well as on biomolecular interactions (DNA-DNA). In particular his work on Newton Black Films is relevant to understand the stability of foams, emulsions and colloidal suspensions. The discovery of a new phase in ionic solids has had an unexpected impact. This concept has found applications in the design of ionic colloidal crystals, which are currently being investigated as templates for photonic materials.

He has published over 50 papers in international journals (6 Phys Rev Lett), invited chapters in books (Interactions of polarizable media in water and the hydrophobic interactions, to appear in Physical Biology: from Molecular Interactions to Cellular Behavior, Springer Verlag), invited reviews (Nanoparticles at fluid interfaces, J Phys Condens Matter 2007), and about 50 contributions to conferences and seminars (half of them as an invited speaker).

Dr Bresme acts as referee for some 20 scientific journals (including Phys Rev Lett, J Am Chem Soc, Nanoletters, J Coll Interface Sci), as well as various funding bodies (EPSRC, European Science Foundation, Spanish Ministry of Science and Education, The Dutch Research Council). Professional activities include: EPSRC College member; Member, Physics Panel, Spanish Ministry of Science and Education; Member of the CCP5 Executive Committee; Board Member of Molecular Simulation and Open Chemical Physics journals; Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, American Chemical Society and American Physical Society. Dr Bresme has received a number of invitations to talk about his work in seminars and conferences (about 25). He was an invited speaker in the Statphys 23 conference 2007 (the main conference in statistical physics, attended by over 1,300 scientists), where he discussed his work on interfacial systems.

He is a guest scientist at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (2007-2008), where he is developing a new research area on energy transfer in biological interfaces.

Colloid and Surface Chemistry Group

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