I graduated from Warwick in 2014 with a first class masters degree in chemistry. Following on from a 3rd year project in electrochemistry and sensing I knew this was an area I was interested in, I approached Prof. Julie Macpherson about a PhD on diamond based sensing.
I completed the Masters course on the DST CDT and started my PhD in the Warwick chemistry department supervised by Professor Julie Macpherson in the Warwick Electrochemistry and Interfaces group. I am sponsored by the EPSRC and DSTL.
My PhD project title is "Development of Smart Diamond Windows for Electrochemical Sensing in Real Environments" and will involve the use of boron doped diamond (BDD) for electrochemistry applications including electrochemical X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy for the detection of heavy metals.
Other projects include the use of laser micro-machining for controlling the surface chemistry of BDD by selectively introducing sp2 carbon into the diamond. Laser micro-machining has also been shown to introduce quinone groups,which have only been reported on sp2 carbon, onto the diamond surface. These functional groups give a nernstian pH response, with applications as a pH sensor, but also due to their location only on sp2 carbon could be used to characterise the sp2 content in diamond films, a measurement which is currently challenging.
Quinone electrochemistry for the comparitive assessment of sp2 surface content of boron doped diamond electrodes. Zoë J. Ayres, Sam J. Cobb, Mark E. Newton and Julie. V. Macpherson Electrochemistry Communications 2016, 72, 59-63 DOI: 10.1016/j.elecom.2016.08.024
Conferences and presentations.
Midlands electrochemistry group 2016, Leicester, UK- Quinone electrochemistry for the comparative assesment of surface sp2 content in boron doped diamond. Poster presentation.
67th De Beers diamond conference, Warwick, UK- Quinone electrochemistry for the comparative assesment of surface sp2 content in boron doped diamond. Poster presentation.
Bright sparks symposium 2016, Warwick, UK- Quinone electrochemistry for the comparative assesment of surface sp2 content in boron doped diamond.Oral presentation.
Cambridge sensors day 2016, Cambridge, UK- Control, creation and assessment of sp2 carbon in boron doped diamond for sensing applications. Poster presentation.
SBDD XXII Hasselt diamond Workshop, Hasselt, Belgium- Laser micromachining as a route to spatial control of sp2 carbon in boron doped diamond electrodes: pH electrode fabrication and application in unbuffered solutions. Oral presentation.
Faraday Joint Interest Conference 2017, Warwick, UK- Laser micromachining as a route to spatial control of sp2 carbon in boron doped diamond (BDD) electrodes: application to pH electrode sensing in unbuffered solutions. Poster presentation.
Midlands electrochemistry group 2017, Nottingham, UK- Laser micromachining as a route to spatial control of sp2 carbon in boron doped diamond (BDD) electrodes: application to pH electrode sensing in unbuffered solutions. Oral presentation.
Emerging Analytical professionals 2017, Kettering, UK- Laser micromachining as a route to spatial control of sp2 carbon in boron doped diamond (BDD) electrodes: application to pH electrode sensing in unbuffered solutions. Oral presentation.
Sensors 2017- Smart Chemical and Biological Sensing Technologies, Royal Society of Chemistry, London, UK- Laser micromachining as a route to spatial control of sp2 carbon in boron doped diamond (BDD) electrodes: application to pH electrode sensing in unbuffered solutions. Poster presentation.
Awards and Prizes
Talk Prize- Bright Sparks Symposium, Warwick, UK, September 2016
PCCP Poster Prize- Faraday Joint Interest Conference, Warwick, UK, April 2017
Talk Prize- Midlands electrochemistry group 2017, Nottingham, UK, April 2017
Teaching and Demonstrating
I am currently involved in demonstrating for two labs here at Warwick.
I demonstrate for the module CH914: Electrochemistry and Sensors on the DST , MAS and AS:MIT masters courses-Helping students conduct electrochemical experiments to measure the diffusion coefficient of various Redox mediators and to calculate the fluoride concentration in toothpaste.
Secondly I demonstrated for experiment P1 in the Year 3 Chemistry extended laboratory. Assisting students in developing a second generation glucose biosensor and measuring the degradation of organic semiconductors.
This year I have been involved in the development of a new experiment for the Year 3 Chemistry extended laboratory. The experiment is designed to teach students about Inner sphere and Outer sphere Redox reactions on different electrode materials from platinum to diamond, and then use this knowledge to study an electrocatalytic reaction such as oxygen reduction or an electroanalytical application such as the detection of dopamine.
June 2015- Science Museum lates
Involved with demonstrating the properties of diamond as a functional and interesting material to the wider public.
July 2016 - Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition
Involved with the setup and running of the crystal lattice aspect of diamond science at the Royal Society.
August 2016- London International Youth Science Forum visit to Warwick
Coordinated a visit of 30 students with the forum organisers, developed a solar cells based experiment for the visiting students to perform and coordinated a team of demonstrators and lab staff to support the visit and allow the students to gain an insight into the applications of physical chemistry to solving global challenges such as renewable energy.
1.Electrochemical X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy for Trace Heavy Metal Analysis: Enhancing X-ray Fluorescence Detection Capabilities by Four Orders of Magnitude, Laura A. Hutton, Glen D. O’Neil, Tania L. Read, Zoë J. Ayres, Mark E. Newton, and Julie V. Macpherson, Analytical Chemistry 2014 86 (9), 4566-4572 DOI: 10.1021/ac500608d
2.Controlled sp2 Functionalization of Boron Doped Diamond as a Route for the Fabrication of Robust and Nernstian pH Electrodes, Zoë J. Ayres, Alexandra J. Borrill, Jonathan C. Newland, Mark E. Newton, and Julie. V. Macpherson, Analytical Chemistry 2016 88 (1), 974-980, DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b03732