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Research interests

Emma’s main research interest is to analyse, optimise and design chemical, biochemical and photocatalytic reactions and reactors.

Emma’s approach is to take an holistic perspective in order to achieve as in depth an understanding as possible whilst retaining perspective of the final application of the research.

The research involves combining in-situ reaction analysis techniques with traditional reaction investigation methodologies and mathematical analysis. In combination with reactor design, this allows for the development of novel and environmentally sustainable processes.

Emma has co-developed the innovative and robust Spinning Cloth Disc Reactor (SCDR), which enhances and accelerates the rate of enzyme reactions.

Current research areas include:

  • Using 3D printing to develop an efficient, portable and low-cost continuous system for the treatment of contaminated drinking water
  • Making Chemicals using sunlight - reactor design and optimisation
  • Optimisation of immobilisation protocols; investigation of reaction kinetics both experimentally and theoretically; reaction design and application of microbial tools (such as fluorescence in-situ hybridisation) applicable to wastewater treatment, food and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries
  • Investigation of thin metal oxides as nanostructured catalysts, from thin film development and characterisation, to correlations between the film structure with reaction kinetics and mechanism
  • Developing, characterising and applying new catalysts for pharmaceutical and fine chemical reactions
  • All of the areas above are coupled with reactor design, optimisation and characterisation, both experimentally and theoretically.

Emma has supervised research students from around the world, including students from: Malaysia (Ministry of Higher Education funded), People's Republic of China (CSC Scholarship funded), Pakistan (Higher Education Commission [HEC] funded), France, New Zealand and the UK.

Emma has also worked with a number of different companies, advising on or applying her research and research expertise, including Fonterra New Zealand, Astra Zeneca and Mighty River Power, New Zealand. She also has good links with a number of Universities around the world, including: The University of Auckland (New Zealand), Imperial College London (UK) and Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden).

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