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Professor Alison Downard

Professor Alison Downard

Principal Investigator

Tomorrow's Electronic Devices

Phone:
+64 3 364 2501

Address:
Department of Chemistry
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140

Biography

Alison Downard is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Canterbury, Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, and a Principal Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute. She gained her PhD at the University of Otago and undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Southampton with Professor Derek Pletcher and at UNC-Chapel Hill with Professor TJ Meyer. She has an Honorary Doctorate from the Université de Rennes 1, France.

In 2014 Alison was awarded the RH Stokes medal from the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. The medal is awarded in recognition of distinguished research in the field of electrochemistry carried out mainly in Australasia.

Alison has published more than 100 refereed papers on various aspects of electrochemistry. Her current major focus is on electrochemistry for surface engineering.

She has undertaken various leadership roles including Associate Dean of Science, University of Canterbury (1999-2004) and Head of Department of Chemistry (2009-2010) and is currently Vice President of the International Society of Electrochemistry.

Research interests

Alison’s research focuses on surface engineering, giving new properties to a surface while maintaining the usual properties of the bulk material.

For example, a coating can be applied to improve the biocompatibility, corrosion resistance or self-cleaning properties of a material. A surface can also be modified with small numbers of molecules that act as tethers to anchor functional species such as biomolecules, inorganic molecules or nano-objects for the smart materials of the future.

Alison’s group is expert in radical-based grafting procedures that give nanoscale coatings that are extremely strongly attached to the surface.

Current research projects include attaching nanoscale organic layers to metal oxide semiconductors to tune their electronic properties, surface coating of magnesium to control of its biocorrosion rate, and surface modification of carbon materials for improved electrocatalytic performance.

A surface can be modified with small numbers of molecules that act as tethers to anchor functional species for the smart materials of the future.

Professor Alison Downard
Professor Alison Downard

In the news

Annual Report

Beyond lithium - Annual Report 2018

April 8, 2019

In today’s tech-hungry world, lithium batteries are ubiquitous, with everything from your mobile phone to the neighbour’s electric car relying on the metal, and it’s easy to see why. Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries pack a punch, storing more energy than any other battery of equivalent size, and delivering power to where it’s needed, quickly and efficiently.

Read more about Beyond lithium - Annual Report 2018

Annual Report

When physics meets biochemistry - Annual Report 2018

April 8, 2019

Could bio-inspired self-assembled magnetic structures make computers more efficient?

Read more about When physics meets biochemistry - Annual Report 2018

Annual Report

Industry pathways for science graduates - Annual Report 2018

April 8, 2019

How do you go from a physics lab to Rocket Lab? Or from a chemistry lab to a new start-up company?

Read more about Industry pathways for science graduates - Annual Report 2018

Videos

Alison Downard - hi-tech painting

March 21, 2019

Professor Alison Downard explains "hi-tech painting" techniques to develop surface coatings to boost the effectiveness of energy storing devices.

Read more about Alison Downard - hi-tech painting