Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Zoë Ayres

Contact Details

Dr Zoë Ayres

Personal:zjayres at gmail dot com

Work:z dot ayres dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk

Department of Chemistry
University of Warwick
Gibbet Hill Road

Or contact me on LinkedIn






Some of my favourite outreach photos:



Current Research

I am a Research Fellow based at the University of Warwick, supported by a Royal Society Innovation Award. My research involves the application of boron doped diamond (BDD) for the development of sensors for extreme environments. In particular, I am working towards commercialisation of the pH sensor I invented during my PhD research. The boron doped diamond pH sensor, other than being the hardest material known to man, offers many other advantages over the commercially available glass pH probe, including resistance to fouling and the fact it does not suffer from alkali errors.

Being formally trained as an analytical scientist I am also heavily involved in the analytical community. I am an appointed member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Analytical Division, and am a committee member of the Analytical Science Network. I am also publicity officer for the RSC Analytical Methods Committee and am an RSC Electrochemistry Group Committee member.

In the Past


I studied for my PhD at the University of Warwick as a member of Warwick Electrochemisty and Interfaces Group under the supervision of Professors Julie Macpherson and Mark Newton.

My research involved the 'Development of Diamond-based Electrochemical Sensors', initially being involved in the development and implementation of the newly patented technique Electrochemical X-ray Fluorescence (EC-XRF) for the detection and quantitation of heavy metals. My work progressed into developing a BDD pH sensor as well as exploring fundamental ways to probe sp2 carbon content in boron doped diamond.


I studied for the AS:MIT (Analytical Science: Methods and Intrumental techniques) MSc degree at the University of Warwick, which provided me with the opportunity to further my knowledge of analytical techniques and regularly engage in laboratory-based work. I was involved in a 6-month research project in collaboration with AstraZeneca:


Development of Diamond Based Electrochemical Sensors and Combined Spectroscopy Sensors for the Sensitive Detection of Analytes in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Processes

Supervisors: Prof. Julie V. Macpherson and Drs. Andy Poulson, Andy Ray & Tony Bristow

I was also involved in a group research project to investigate culinary spices. This required researching analytical tests used in the food industry and taking them from methods to implementation within a short timescale. ISO standards were used as well as adapting methods from research papers. HPLC, ATR-FTIR, UV-Vis and ICP-MS were among the analytical methods used.



Previously, I studied my Bachelors's degree (BSc) at Nottingham Trent University in Forensic Science. My undergraduate project involved the analysis of Iron Age bones from Finn Cop Hillfort in Derbyshire for heavy metals, including Pb, Sr, Zn and Mn using ICP-OES. Conclusions about the daily lives of the Fin Cop individuals, such as dietary habits, could be drawn, with results validated against standard reference material.



Royal Society of Chemistry Ronald Belcher Award 2016 -Awarded for the development of a robust boron doped diamond pH sensor for in-situ pH measurements in extreme environments

Diamond Conference 2016 - Best student talk for BDD pH sensor development

Midlands Electrochemistry Group 2016 Meeting - Winner of the best talk prize

SET for Britain finalist - presented scientific poster at the parliament to politicians erty

Warwick-Brazil Electrochemistry Meeting 2016 - Best poster, selected by our colleagues from Universidade de São Paulo

Electrochem 2015 - Winner of best poster prize


Diamond Conference 2016 - Winner of the best poster prize

RSC Analytical Twitter poster competition - runner up in online competition

Winner of Sensors for Water Interest Group Early Career Research Prize 2014 - Awarded for work on Electrochemical X-ray Fluoresence (EC-XRF)



I am a STEM embassador and am always up for doing outreach activities. I have been involved in activities varying in scale from school visits to project managing an exhibition stand promoting diamond science at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2016, with over 12000 of the general public visiting us in a week.
"Diamond: more than just a gemstone" Royal Society Summer Exhibition

Chemistry at Work, ThinkTank Museum, Birmingham - giving school children an insight into chemistry at work

Science Lates 2015, Science Museum, London - promoting science to the general public
London Institute of Science Forum (LIYSF) - showing international students the work we do at Warwick


1). Electrochemical X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (EC-XRF) for Trace Heavy Metal Analysis: Enhancing XRF Detection Capabilities by Four Orders of Magnitude, Hutton, L. A; O'Neil, G. D; Read, T. L; Ayres, Z. J; Newton, M.E.; Macpherson, J.V., Anal. Chem., 2014, 86 (9), 4566–4572.

2). Controlled sp2 Functionalization of Boron Doped Diamond as a route for the Fabrication of Robust and Nernstian pH Electrodes, Ayres, Z.J.; Borrill, A.J.; Newland, J.C.; Newton, M.E.; and Macpherson, J.V., Anal. Chem., 2016, 88 (1), pp 974 - 980.

3). Quantitative Analysis of Trace Palladium Contamination in Solution using Electrochemical X-Ray Fluorescence (EC-XRF), Ayres, Z.J.; Newton, M.E., and Macpherson, J.V.; Analyst, 2016,141, 3349-3357.

4). Surface patterning of polyacrylamide gel using scanning electrochemical cell microscopy (SECCM), Oseland, E.E.; Ayres, Z.J.; Basile, A.; Haddleton, D.M.; Wilson, P. and Unwin, P.R. Chem. Commun., 2016,52, 9929-9932.

5). Quinone electrochemistry for the comparative assessment of sp2 surface content of boron doped diamond electrodes, Ayres, Z.J.; Cobb, S.J.; Newton, M.E.; and Macpherson, J.V.; Electrochem. Comm., 2016, 72, 59-63.

6).Impact of chemical vapour deposition plasma inhomogeneity on the spatial variation of sp2 carbon in boron doped diamond electrodes, Ayres, Z.J.; Newland, J.C.; Newton, M.E.; Mandal, S.; Williams, O.A.; and Macpherson, J.V. 2017. Carbon, 2017, 121.