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Prof. Pat Unwin

Prof. Patrick R. Unwin

Professor of Chemistry

BSc (Liverpool) MA, DPhil (Oxon), DSc (Warwick)



Research Summary

Our research seeks to develop and apply new techniques to study electrochemical and interfacial processes that are of widespread fundamental and practical importance across the whole of science. Our group has introduced experimental techniques that have provided important new capability, challenged paradigms and been adopted widely. In particular, we have developed fast, ultrasensitive, multifunctional electrochemical probe imaging techniques that provide a new way of “seeing” electrochemistry and interfacial processes in action, to reveal active surface sites directly, unambiguously and quantitatively. Our methods reveal electrode activity and dynamics (electrochemical fluxes) at the nanoscale in the form of quantitative ‘activity pictures’ and ‘activity movies’. These high resolution electrochemical data are further correlated directly with the underlying electrode structure and properties (electronic, chemical) by using complementary co-location microscopy. This new age of correlative electrochemical multi-microscopy provides major new perspectives on surface controls in electrochemistry and interfacial science. Surface structure-activity relationships have never been more important, with electrochemistry at the heart of energy storage and conversion technologies and gaining renewed interest in areas from organic synthesis to sensor systems to biology.

Our approach is multidisciplinary, involving a large and diverse team with a variety of skills in the chemical, physical and life sciences. Experimental work is further underpinned by modelling of mass transport and chemical reactivity. We have an impressive multidisciplinary infrastructure, further enhanced by key collaborations at Warwick, within Europe and beyond. Our facilities include many unique high resolution electrochemical imaging workstations, which we have developed, and for which we are world-leading. Our research is supported by the Euopean Union, the Royal Society, UK Research Councils and companies. We publish widely in leading journals. Our philosophy is to think creatively and do imaginative new experiments. We welcome approaches for new collaborations or from people wishing to join our dynamic group.

Selected Recent Publications
  • B. Tao, L. Yule, E. Daviddi, C. L. Bentley, P. R. Unwin, Correlative electrochemistry‐microscopy of Li‐ion (de) intercalation at series of individual LiMn2O4 particles, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019,
  • C. L. Bentley, M. Kang and P. R Unwin, Nanoscale Surface Structure–Activity in Electrochemistry and Electrocatalysis, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141, 2179–2193
  • D. Q. Liu, B. Tao, H. C. Ruan, C. L. Bentley, P. R. Unwin, Metal support effects in electrocatalysis at hexagonal boron nitride, Chem. Comm., 2019, 55, 628-631
  • J. Ustarroz, I. M. Ornelas, G. Zhang, D. Perry, M. Kang, C. L. Bentley, M. Walker and P. R. Unwin, Mobility and Poisoning of Mass-Selected Platinum Nanoclusters during the Oxygen Reduction Reaction, ACS Catal., 2018, 8, 6775 - 6790.
  • C. L. Bentley, C. Andronescu, M. Smialkowski, M. Kang, T. Tarnev, B. Marler, P. R. Unwin, U.‐P. Apfel, W. Schuhmann, Local Surface Structure and Composition Control the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction on Oron Nickel Sulfides, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2018, 57, 4093 - 4097.
  • C. L. Bentley, M. Kang, and P. R. Unwin, Nanoscale Structure Dynamics within Electrocatalytic Materials, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 16813 - 16821.

  • M. Kang, D. Perry, C. L. Bentley, G. West, A. Page and P. R. Unwin, Simultaneous Topography and Reaction Flux Mapping at and around Electrocatalytic Nanoparticles, ACS Nano, 2017, 11, 9525 -9535.

  • C. L. Bentley, M. Kang, F. M. Maddar, F. Li, M. Walker, J. Zhang and P. R. Unwin, Electrochemical maps and movies of the hydrogen evolution reaction on natural crystals of molybdenite (MoS2): basal vs. edge plane activity, Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 6583 - 6593.

  • A. Page, D. Perry and P. R. Unwin, Multifunctional Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM), Proc. R. Soc. A, 2017, A473 (2200), 20160889.
  • M. Adobes-Vidal, A. G. Shtukenberg, M. D. Ward and P. R. Unwin, Multiscale Visualization and Quantitative Analysis of l-Cystine Crystal Dissolution, Cryst. Growth Des., 2017, 17, 1766 - 1774.

  • A. Page, M. Kang, A. Armitstead, D. Perry and P. R. Unwin, Quantitative Visualization of Molecular Delivery and Uptake at Living Cells with Self-Referencing Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM) – Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy (SECM), Anal. Chem., 2017, 89, 3021 - 3028.

  • J. Ustarroz, M. Kang, E. Bullions and P. R Unwin, Impact and Oxidation of Single Silver Nanoparticles at Electrode Surfaces: One Shot versus Multiple Events, Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 1841 - 1853.

  • D. Momotenko, A. Page, M. Adobes-Vidal and P. R. Unwin, Write-Read 3D Patterning with a Dual-Channel Nanopipette, ACS Nano, 2016, 10, 8871 - 8878.

  • P. R. Unwin, A. G. Guell, and G. Zhang, Nanoscale Electrochemistry of sp2 Carbon Materials: From Graphite and Graphene to Carbon Nanotubes, Acc. Chem. Res., 2016, 49, 2041 - 2048.