IMNIS Mentee Hugo Hartl

Hugo is a PhD student in the School of Chemistry and Physics at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). He currently hold BAppSc (Phys), BSc (Hons)(Phys), MAppSc (Research) degrees from QUT. He is interested in materials science, such as the research of the modification of small organic molecules, through the use of room temperature atmospheric plasma, and also by focused beams of ions and electrons.

Hugo considers the controlled modification of surfaces to be one of the key pursuits of the nanoscience and nanotechnology fields, as it allows for the fabrication of bespoke materials with targeted functionalities. However, many surface modifications currently require painstakingly precise and/or energy intensive processing to implement, and are thus limited in scope and scale.

He is exploring the possibilities for on-surface synthesis to be performed under ambient conditions, at much larger, industry-relevant, scales. Plasma catalysis is an emerging technology that holds great promise for the modification of materials through on-surface reactions. He is focussing on the applicability of plasma processing to a number of reactions. Hugo aims to improve upon previous methods of on-surface reactions by lowering infrastructure costs, energy usage, and raising scalability by moving away from vacuum.

He has begun an investigation into a new pathway to the direct on-surface fabrication of surface coatings by showing that application of a plasma can lead to coupling of small aromatic molecules at a catalytic surface. This research shows that a room temperature, atmospheric pressure plasma can be used to fabricate a coating through a surface-confined reaction. He then systematically studies numerous on-surface reactions in order to assess the suitability of plasma processing for on-surface synthesis, and investigates scaling these reactions to large industrially-relevant scales. He modifys these processes, to best maximise the useful properties of these coatings.

For a full list of Hugo’s publications please see: