A picture of  Dr Susan Perkin

Susan Perkin is Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry and Fellow of Trinity College, University of Oxford. She graduated with a First in Chemistry from St. John's College, Oxford (with a St. John's College Academic Scholarship), then received her DPhil in 2006 studying with Jacob Klein , working both in Oxford and at the Weizmann Institute, and with a Senior Scholarship from Balliol College, Oxford. She was Junior Research Fellow at Merton College from 2005-2008. She moved to UCL in London (2007-2012, as RCUK Fellow then Lecturer) where she set up a laboratory and research group to work on ionic liquids and liquid interfaces. In 2012 she returned to the Faculty of Chemistry at Oxford. Current interests include electrostatics in concentrated electrolytes and ionic liquids, molecular mechanisms of friction and lubrication, field effects on confined liquids, graphene surface forces, and controlling surface properties through the design of switchable thin films. In the past few years Susan has been awarded a Starting Grant from the ERC, the Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry, and a Philip Leverhulme Prize from The Leverhulme Trust.



Dr Marco Balabajew

Marco studied chemistry at the University of Marburg and obtained an M.Sc. in Chemistry in the group of Professor Bernhard Roling. He has written his master thesis on ion-transport processes and the intercalation mechanism of anions in graphite in dual-ion cells. He joined the group as a Post Doc in 2016 and investigates interfaces between electrical conducting surfaces (especially graphene) and ionic liquids. The main focus of his investigations is the influence applied potentials under electrochemical conditions. In his free time Marco enjoys playing the saxophone and playing badminton.



Dr Romain Lhermerout

Romain did his phD at the Laboratoire de Physique Statistique de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, under the supervision of Kristina Davitt and Etienne Rolley, during which he studied contact angle dynamics and its link with the nanoscale properties of the solid surface. Romain has joined the Perkin Group as a Postdoctoral Research Associate to find techniques to externally control adhesion and friction in a reversible way. In his free time, he is a bass trombone player in a symphony orchestra, but also likes cooking, tinkering, bicycling, scuba diving, sightseeing...




Dr Carla Perez-Martinez

Carla Perez-Martinez earned her BS, MS and PhD from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Carla’s Ph.D. dissertation involved optimizing ionic liquid ion source technology for its application in space propulsion and also for micro and nano fabrication, particularly for focused ion beams. Carla joined Oxford in July 2016 to perform research on the effects of electric fields on ionic liquids under confinement.



James Hallett


Dr James Hallett

James did his PhD at the University of Bristol as part of the Bristol Centre for Functional Nanomaterials. His PhD work, under the supervision of Professors Paul Bartlett and Robert Richardson, focused on the use of scattering techniques to study the dynamics and structure of charged nanoparticles in salt-free conditions. Following his PhD he completed a postdoc in the group of Dr Paddy Royall, also at the university of Bristol, using confocal microscopy techniques to study dynamic arrest in colloidal materials. He joined the Perkin group in 2018 to study the effect of confinement on out-of-equilibrium liquids. In his spare time James is a bassist in a rock band, but also enjoys craft beer, running, cycling and DIY.



A Photo of Ellie Milnes Smith


Eleanor (Ellie) Milnes-Smith

Ellie was born and brought up in South London and received her MChem from Oxford University (St John's College) in 2014. She joined the Perkin Group for her Part II project in September 2013, and chose to stay on for a DPhil. She is particularly interested in plasma polymer films, and the properties of fluorinated surfaces. In her spare time, Ellie enjoys working on student welfare issues, and is also a fan of zumba.




Christian D van Engers

Christian joined the group in 2014 as a DPhil (PhD) student at Magdalen College. His research focuses on development and utilization of the Graphene Surface Force Balance (G-SFB). During his DPhil he has studied the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) based growth of graphene, polymer assisted graphene transfer, surface and interfacial energies of graphene with various liquids (using the G-SFB) and multiple beam interferometry (MBI). He currently focuses on surface forces between charged surfaces across liquids using both the (mica-) SFB and G-SFB.



Astrid Southam

Astrid was born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland, before moving to the UK to complete her MChem at the University of Nottingham; she spent the third year of her studies at the University of Hong Kong, working on new electronic transitions of platinum monofluoride. Her fourth year Master’s project explored the effect of ionic liquids on surface reactions in Ultra-High Vacuum. She joined the group in 2017 for her PhD, during which she is looking to focus on the behaviour of ionic liquids confined to the nanoscale and how they are affected by electric fields. In her free time, Astrid enjoys climbing, trail running, cycling and tea.




Christophe Diederichs (University College)


Natasha Smith (Pembroke College)

Natasha was born in South Africa and brought up in Essex. She has completed her first three years of her MChem at Oxford University (Pembroke College) and has joined the Perkin Group for her Part II project in September 2017, researching the capacitance of ionic liquids. Natasha enjoys running and tennis as well as spending her free time cooking and learning to play the guitar.