A photo of Dr Susan Perkin



We study how liquids interact with solid surfaces and how they behave in nano-scale films or pores. The aim is to solve problems and generate greater understanding relevant to a range of applications including energy storage, lubrication, adhesion, and nanomaterials.

Susan Perkin

Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry

& Fellow of Trinity College, University of Oxford





Green FringesA photo of the mica cleaving photo.A catoon of a confine ionic liquidAn example of an SFB friction loop for a thin solid like film

      Force Measurement         Graphene Surface Forces        Electrolytes in Nano-Confinement        Friction Mechanisms

October 2016- The Surface Forces Research Lab is happy to welcome three new post-doctoral researchers - Dr Carla Perez Martinez (from MIT), Dr Romain Lhermerout (from ENS, Paris), and Marco Balabajew (from Marburg, Germany) - and Sijie Liu and James Zhou as Part II students.

September 2016- We hosted an international workshop on Reversible Control of Surface Interactions here in Oxford as part of a European network on nano-friction (COST Action MP1303).

August 2016- Susan gave an invited lecture at the JCP Future of Chemical Physics conference: Ionic liquids: a challenge to our understanding of the liquid state

May 2016- In collaboration with Alpha Lee (Harvard University) we have published experimental evidence that the electrostatic screening length in concentrated electrolytes increases with concentration.

May 2016- Susan has been awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry's Harrison-Meldola prize for the most meritorious and promising original investigations in chemistry

December 2015- We explain the interaction of Lithium ions with negative surfaces in ionic liquid solvent in a recent paper in J Phys Chem Letters

November 2015- Susan has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant in the 2015 round. The grant will provide €1.5M over 5 years for a programme of work with the aim of discovering new ways to control friction and adhesion.

1st October 2015- Susan gave a lecture on The Atomic Model at the Museum of the History of Science as part of the Harry Moseley exhibition

September 2015- Dr Florian Hausen, DFG Fellow in the group from 2013-15, has been appointed as Professor at the Institute for Energy and Climate Research in Jülich.

July 2015- We are delighted to welcome Dr Bruno Zappone (University of Calabria) as Academic Visitor funded by COST Action MP1303

July 2015- Alex successfully defended his DPhil thesis in the oral examination - well done Alex!

June 2015- Susan presented our work on Quantized Friction at the European COST workshop on nanoscale friction in Istanbul.

May 2015- A researcher position is available in the lab from autumn 2016, with 3-year full scholarship. Click the 'more' tab for information.

January 2015- Susan has joined the Editorial Board of the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, in the 'liquids, soft matter, and biological physics' section.

30th December 2014- Tips and advice from the Perkin group for students preparing a first manuscript for publication is now available here.

12th December 2014- Our Graphene Surface Force Balance was highlighted by NanoWerk. Click here to look.

6th October 2014- Florian will be giving a talk on "Tracking the interfacial structure of ionic liquids - Impact on electrochemical control of atomic friction" at the Gerischer-Kolb meeting in Berlin on the 17th October.

1-2nd September 2014- The Oxford Surface Forces Research Laboratory hosted a COST Workshop on "Confined Systems Under Shear: New Materials & Mechanisms". This is part of the COST Action MP1303 on Nano-Friction

28th July 2014- Nico and Christian won a poster prize at the Faraday Discussion meeting on Carbon in Electrochemistry.

13th June 2014- Ellie and Rosalie have finished their part II projects with the group. Ellie will be continuing on in the group while Rosalie will be studying for at Royal Holloway. Well Done Both of You!

15th May 2014- Nico's paper on the Preparation and characterisation of high-density ionic liquids incorporating halobismuthate anions has been published in Dalton Transactions. Click here to have a look.


Click here for more news


Recent Publications

Lee, A.A.; Perkin S.
Ion-Image Interactions and Phase-Transition at Electrolyte-Metal Interface
J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 2016, 7, 2753-2757.

Smith, A.M.; Lee, A.A.; Perkin S.
The Electrostatic Screening Length in Concentrated Electrolytes Increases with Concentration
J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 2016, 7, 2157-2163.

Smith, A.M.; Perkin S.
Influence of Lithium Solutes on Double-Layer Structure of Ionic Liquids
J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 2015, 6, 4857–4861.

Lee A. A.; Vella D.; Perkin S.; Goriely A.
Are Room-Temperature Ionic Liquids Dilute Electrolytes?
J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 2015, 6, 159-63.

Perkin, S.; Salanne, M.
Interfaces of Ionic Liquids (Preface).
J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 2014, 26 280301.

Smith, A. M.; Parkes, M. A.; Perkin, S.
Molecular Friction Mechanisms Across Nanofilms of a Bilayer-forming Ionic Liquid.
J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2014, 5, 4032-4037.

Lee, A. A..; Vella, D.; Perkin, S.; Goriely, A.
Unravelling nanoconfined films of ionic liquids.
J. Chem. Phys. 2014,  141, 094940.

Britton, J.; Cousens, N. E. A.; Coles, S. W.; Van Engers C.D.; Babenko, V.; Murdock, A. T.; Koos A.; Perkin S.; Grobert, N.
A Graphene Surface Force Balance.
Langmuir 2014,  30, 11485-11492.

Cousens, N. E. A.; Taylor Kearney, L. J.; Clough,, M. T.; Lovelock, K. R. J.; Palgrave, R. G.; Perkin, S.
Preparation and characterisation of high-density ionic liquids incorporating halobismuthate anions.
Dalton Trans  2014, 43, 10910-10919.

Perkin, S.; Salanne, M.; Madden, P.; Lynden-Bell, R.
Is a Stern and diffuse layer model appropriate to ionic liquids at surfaces?
PNAS 2013, 110, E4121.

Smith, A. M.; Lovelock, K. R. J.; Gosvami, N. N.; Welton, T.; Perkin, S.
Quantized friction across ionic liquid thin films.
Phys Chem Chem Phys 2013, 15, 15317-15320.