Functional Materials Group (Chemistry)

Institute of Materials and Investigative Sciences (IMIS)

Supported by state-of-the-art facilities, our research into materials and their properties involves significant collaborative activity with international partners and industry to provide a focus for cutting-edge research.

The Functional Materials Group (FMG) provides a focus for the investigation of materials and their properties, with impact in healthcare technologies and the environment.

The Group’s active research themes include:

  • Nanomaterials (e.g. magnetic nanoparticles and carbon dots)
  • Nuclear materials (e.g. zeolites and ion-exchange materials)
  • Biomaterials (e.g. lipid nanostructures and molecularly imprinted polymers)
  • Organic materials (Photoactive dyes)
  • Organometallics and catalysts
  • Polymers
  • Microwave technology
  • Materials processes
  • Theoretical modelling

The Functional Materials Group activities are located in purpose-built laboratories boasting a well-equipped analytical instrumentation suite.


UCLan research staff within the FMG are engaged in a number of collaborative research programmes, with international partners.

Academic collaborations include:

  • University of Graz (Austria) for C-dot research;
  • University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) and University of Tokyo for biomimetic materials research;
  • Delhi University; Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (India); University of Manchester; Ilmenau Technical University (Germany); ECUST and Shihezi University (China) for magnetic nanoparticle research leading to water purification technologies;
  • a UCLan-led consortium, including UoReading, and Kyungpook National University and Chosun University (S Korea) to develop nanostructured hybrid composites for Advanced Radioactive Waste treatment.

Industrial/Academic Partnerships leading to benefit of society and the economy include:

  • Feedwater Ltd and Hosokawa Micron Ltd in water treatment and materials processing respectively.
  • Partnering with organisations in China and India and Nanoscale Biomagnetics SL (Spain) leading to a nanoparticles-based technology for arsenic clean-up from ground water and producing a simple arsenic extraction kit used by local communities in groundwater-polluted states of West Bengal state, India.
  • IQ-bioanalytic GmbH, Germany to produce a simple one step magnetic nanoparticles-based separation technique to replace the classical and laborious methods of separating biomolecules from cellular systems.
  • University of Manchester to develop radical new reprocessing technology, significantly reducing both CAPEX costs with consequential impacts in waste treatment and disposal.


  • the UCLan Society for Functional Nanomaterials offers a forum for academic collaborations with industry and clinicians.
  • the UCLan Research Centre for Smart Materials has attracted support from four Faculties and 50 academics. The Centre enables multidisciplinary teams of research-active academics to collaborate and achieve an effective and sustainable critical mass to address translational academic research. With a significant portion of work sponsored by industry, much of the research conducted by the Functional Materials Group includes commercially sensitive, patentable methods and devices.

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