Nanomanufacturing of surfaces for smart, energy efficient buildings and transport vehicles

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering


We seek to introduce an entirely new class of precise nanomanufactured surfaces for passive, energy efficient manipulation of water condensation, freezing and optical properties. The proposed surfaces will improve the energy efficiency of industrial processes, transport vehicles such as automobiles, planes and ships as well as of the built environment (through introducing smart functional coatings). Surfaces with precise nanoscale, conical features have unique features that can be tailored for a wide ranging smart-surface applications. For example, such surfaces can enable: i) tuneable and controlled manipulation of light (absorbing/reflecting/scattering) required for heat control in smart buildings; ii) ultra-low adhesion to water, oils, and offer excellent resistance to high speed droplet impact (e.g. in rain drop impacts or plane moving through clouds); iii) control of the nucleation of water condensation and freezing; and iv) surface property tunability by external stimuli (e.g. temperature or light activation) upon conformal smart coatings of these nanostructures. The proposed project will integrate these concepts to deliver a step change in smart, nanoengineered surfaces that can resist water drops impalement up to impact speeds of 50 m/s, delay of freezing down to -30C, prevent condensation accumulation on windows and suppressing reflectivity to <1% across the entire visible spectrum - properties will be tailored to the application (not all features are necessary for the same coating).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509577/1 01/10/2016 24/03/2022
1916342 Studentship EP/N509577/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Sophia Laney
Description Nanoengineered smart surfaces
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation Lloyd's Register Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 09/2021
Description Anti-fogging collaboration 
Organisation Ecole Polytechnique
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Samples were fabricated on a continued basis, based on dimensions indicated by the collaborators. By virtue of our fabrication capabilities, we were able to precisely tune dimensions according to their requests.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners received and tested the samples for anti-fogging performance. And indicated which family of samples would be interesting to fabricate based on theory and outcome of the aforementioned tests.
Impact Paper will be published with the findings, will greatly contribute to the understanding of the anti-fogging mechanism on nano-structured surfaces
Start Year 2019
Description Metal-oxide coated nanostructures 
Organisation Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology
Country Luxembourg 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Nanostructured surfaces made in different materials, optimized for optical properties. Sent to Luxembourg
Collaborator Contribution Samples received by collaborators in Luxembourg, where they deposit metal-oxides on the structure
Impact Paper will be published.
Start Year 2018
Description Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Smart Surfaces stand at Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival in East London. The event is aimed at schools groups and families in East London. We set up a demonstration to make it interactive and had lots of questions from the school children about why the surfaces behave in such a way.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description EPSRC- School Air Pollution Monitoring 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Technology for Promoting Human Wellbeing - school air pollution monitoring and educational research project. We visited the school once a week for 2 months to discuss the health impacts of air pollution and to help them build and use an air pollution monitor. One of the main aims was to encourage more children to consider STEM subjects in the future
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018