Physical chemist Eleanor Campbell investigates the properties of complex forms of carbon, including football-shaped fullerenes, carbon nanotubes and graphene sheets. Her work is helping to realise the enormous potential of these novel materials in electronics and other nanotechnology applications.
Using ultrashort pulses of laser light, she has explored the properties and dynamics of excited electronic states of fullerene-based molecules, building a greater understanding of their fundamental behaviour and stability. She has also investigated how carbon nanotubes grow and is exploring their potential to absorb and release carbon dioxide — with a view to incorporating them in carbon-capture and storage devices.
Eleanor happily combines basic research with applications in technology: she has successfully built prototypes of working electronic components from nanocarbons, such as faster memory storage devices. She was awarded the Tilden Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2013.