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Karen Robertson

Anne McLaren Fellow, Faculty of Engineering

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Biography

Karen began as an Anne McLaren fellow in the Advanced Materials Research Group (AMRG) in 2018. Her research includes the development of milli-fluidic technologies with integrated inline analysis for the control and understanding of self-assembly systems.

Karen completed her PhD at Imperial College London in 2012 focussing on targeting interconnected metal-organic framework (MOF) architectures through multi-podal ligand design. She then went on to undertake a Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Clariant Oil Services and the University of Leeds developing new corrosion inhibitors and improved in vivo test methodology for the oil and gas industry. In 2013 Karen joined the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing for Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation (CMAC, now a Future Manufacturing Hub) at the University of Bath focussing on crystal engineering techniques for agrochemical optimisation and the development of lab-based flow crystallisers. Since then she has worked on a range of projects including in situ X-ray diffraction methodologies, remote energy solutions, integrated flow chemistry and crystallisation techniques and co-crystal prediction through cheminformatics. Karen is particularly interested in using flow technologies to monitor, control and direct self-assembly mechanisms.

Research Summary

I am interested in using flow technologies to understand and control how self-assembling systems come together using a range of different flow regimes such as liquid-segmented, single phase turbulent… read more

Current Research

I am interested in using flow technologies to understand and control how self-assembling systems come together using a range of different flow regimes such as liquid-segmented, single phase turbulent and laminar flow. The properties of a material are often dictated by its structure but simply investigating the link between structure and property without understanding how it self-assembles does not allow us to make the desired material. By monitoring the self-assembling system non-invasively with online analytical techniques we can develop self-assembly mechanistic understanding of how these materials come together. Using this insight we can target materials of desire structure.

I am developing a range of crystallisers for specific materials self-assembly types such as cooling, pH, reactive and anti-solvent crystallisation. These crystallisers can either be directly used with online analytical techniques such as confocal Raman spectroscopy or the design adapted for techniques such as online X-Ray diffraction.

The KRAIC (Kinetically Regulated Automated Input Crystalliser) employs tri-segmented flow to impart plug flow, prevent encrustation and induce mixing. It can be configured for cooling, pH, reactive or anti-solvent crystallisation and has spawned a series of different crystallisers with collaborators at the University of Leeds and Diamond Light Source; the KRAIC-I (integrated flow synthesis and crystallisation), the KRAIC-D (online powder X-ray diffraction at I11 Diamond Light Source) and the KRAIC-S (online single crystal X-ray diffraction at I19 Diamond Light Source).

My materials focus is broad ranging encompassing pure phase polymorphic small molecule organics, co-crystals, coordination polymers and MOFs.

Faculty of Engineering

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD



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