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Dr Benjamin Robinson FHEA

Senior Lecturer in Quantum Nanotechnology

Benjamin Robinson

Physics Building



Tel: +44 1524 593218

PhD supervision

I have projects available in experimental aspects of molecular electronics, thermal and electrical transport in thin-film materials and their heterostructures, novel growth methods for 3D molecular architectures, and design, fabrication and characterisation of ultra-thin-film thermoelectric materials. Projects are offered on a competitive basis and are subject to availability of funding. Please get in contact for further information or discuss potential projects that are not listed above.


I am a Senior Lecturer in Physics and a Deputy Director of the Lancaster University Materials Science Institute. My research group is focused on experimental quantum nanotechnology, we are particularly interested in exploiting room temperature quantum effects in ultra-thin films comprised of well-ordered organic molecular films, quantum dots and 2D materials. To achieve this, we have a track record in developing and exploiting novel scanning probe methodologies for nanoscale characterisation of electrical, thermal and mechanical properties. From 2015-2020 I held a highly competitive 50th anniversary lectureship in Physics from Lancaster University. I have authored or co-authored on more than 40 peer reviewed journal articles and I am a past winner of Royal Society of Chemistry, Philip Lynn Adams memorial prize.

Research Interests

Current research interests

I have a wonderful research group of enthusiastic PhD students from a range of scientific backgrounds which is reflected in the highly interdisciplinary nature of our work. Broadly our work falls into the following categories, although there is a large amount of overlap between the themes.

Organic Electronics and Thermoelectrics. We aim to exploit room temperature quantum transport properties of small organic molecules in massively parallel arrays of molecules formed by techniques such as molecular self-assembly, Langmuir-Blodgett deposition and surface templating. Film structures are characterised by a range of techniques including X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Quartz Crystal Microbalance and Atomic Force Microscopy. Electric and thermal properties are studied with nanoscale resolution using our suite of bespoke scanning-probe techniques developed by the group and close collaborators in Oleg Kolosov’s group at Lancaster. We enjoy fruitful collaborations with colleagues across the UK and the world including: Theory, the groups of Colin Lambert (Lancaster University) and Hatef Sadeghi (University of Warwick, UK); Synthesis, the groups of Martin Bryce (Durham University), Nick Long (Imperial College London), Paul Low (University of Western Australia); Characterisation and Devices, the groups of Chris Ford (University of Cambridge), Lesley Cohen (Imperial College London) and Tim Albrecht (University of Birmingham).

Recent publications include:

Optimised Power Harvesting by Controlling the Pressure Applied to Molecular Junctions; Chemical Science. 12, 5230-5235 (2021)

Scale-Up of Room-Temperature Constructive Quantum Interference from Single Molecules to Self-Assembled Molecular-Electronic Films; Journal of the American Chemical Society. 142, 19, 8555-8560 (2020)

Tuning the thermoelectrical properties of anthracene-based self-assembled monolayers; Chemical Science. 11, 26, 6836-6841 (2020)

Molecular-scale thermoelectricity: As simple as 'ABC'; Nanoscale Advances. 2, 11, 5329-5334 (2020)

Carbazole‐Based Tetrapodal Anchor Groups for Gold Surfaces: Synthesis and Conductance Properties, Angewandte Chemie. 59, 2, 882-889 (2020)


Advanced scanning probe microscopy for quantitative multi-parametric nanoscale mapping of material physical properties including nanomechanical, nanothermal and nanoelectromechanical responses.

Recent publications include:

High-yield parallel fabrication of quantum-dot monolayer single-electron devices displaying Coulomb staircase, contacted by graphene; Nature Communications. 12, 10, 4307 (2021)

Quantifying thermal transport in buried semiconductor nanostructures via Cross-Sectional Scanning Thermal Microscopy. Nanoscale 13, 10829-10836 (2021)

Mapping nanoscale dynamic properties of suspended and supported multi-layer graphene membranes via contact resonance and ultrasonic scanning probe microscopies. Nanotechnology. 31 (41), 415702 (2020)

Correlation of shear forces and heat conductance in nanoscale junctions. Physical Review B, 100, 235426 (2019)

In addition, we are interested in:

Electrical and mechanical properties of biomaterials (e.g. Electroactive Silk Fibroin Films for Electrochemically Enhanced Delivery of Drugs, Macromolecular Materials and Engineering 305 (6), 2000130 (2020))

Large area nanoparticles assemblies (e.g. Large Area Heterostructures from Graphene and Silica Encapsulated Colloidal Quantum Dots via the Langmuir-Blodgett Method, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces., 10 (8), 6805-6809 (2018) and Photodetecting Heterostructures from Graphene and Encapsulated Colloidal Quantum Dot Films. ACS Omega, 4 (14), 15824-15828 (2019))

Interaction of materials and environments (e.g. Formation of Two-Dimensional Micelles on Graphene: A Multi-Scale Theoretical and Experimental Study, ACS Nano, 11 (3), 3404–3412 (2017) and Probing nanoscale graphene-liquid interfacial interactions via Ultrasonic Force Spectroscopy, Nanoscale, 6 (18), 10806-10816, (2014))

Career Details


Immediately prior to my lectureship, I was a senior research associate in the Physics department at Lancaster University where I was the work-package leader (SThM experiments and measurements) of the major European Commission programme ‘QUANTIHEAT’ (QUANTItative scanning probe microscopy techniques for HEAT transfer management in nanomaterials and nanodevices FP7-NMP-2013-LARGE-7) involving twenty international partners from academia and industry; previously I was the work-package (graphene characterisation and modelling) leader on 'GRENADA' (GRaphenE for NAnoscaleD Applications, FP7/2007-2013). Additionally, I have conducted research at University of Queensland, Daresbury Laboratory and Cranfield University.

I have a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Wales (Supervisor Prof. Geoff Ashwell) and an MPhys from Sheffield University.

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