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Thomas Chamberlain

University Academic Fellow
Member of the Crystallisation and Directed Assembly group

Contact details

Room: 2.88b
Tel: +44 (0)113 3436468


Carbon nanomaterials
Electron microscopy
Chemistry in confinement
Sustainable chemistry
Heterogeneous nanocatalysis

Photograph of Thomas Chamberlain

Research interests

My research group is interested in forming molecular complex and nanocomposite containing nanomaterials for application in sustainable heterogeneous catalysis. Our work combines fullerene based synthesis, coordination chemistry, supramolecular assembly and nanomaterial fabrication. We are also focused on studying the interactions and reactions of molecules and nanostructures at the atomic level using electron microscopy and electrochemistry with the principle aim of learning fundamental information about the inorganic chemistry of transition metal/carbon nanotube based nanomaterials.

Carbon nanostructure based heterogeneous catalysts
Carbon nanostructures (CNS), including fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, graphitised carbon nanofibres and graphitised mesoporous carbon all contain nanosized features, well-defined channels and/or pores, which can be tailored to encapsulate molecular and nanoparticulate catalysts. The dimensions of the pores and channels in CNS, 1-50 nm, are also ideal sterically confined environments for performing controlled chemical reactions with the extreme confinement imposed directing the formation of new materials and causing changes in selectivity for established reactions.

Carbon nanoreactors are hybrid materials consisting of metal nanoparticles or complexes supported within CNS and are the ideal heterogeneous nanocatalysts for small scale fine chemical production and large scale industrial processes. The high electrical conductance of CNS also enables the internal channels to act as both nano-electrode and nanoreactors utilising immobilised metal catalytic centres for electrochemically driven chemical transformations within the tuneable reaction space imposed by the CNS. The clean and atom efficient nature of electrochemical catalysis makes this an attractive route towards more sustainable catalysis.

Watching catalysis in real time at the atomic level
All of our research is underpinned by a detailed understanding of the structure of catalytic materials at the atomic level. We use a wide range of solid state analytical techniques including aberration corrected high resolution electron microscopies (AC-HRTEM and STEM), X-ray absorption and diffraction and gas adsorption to elucidate the exact structure of our catalytic materials. In addition it is possible to 'watch' the formation of heterogeneous catalysts from metallic precursors and the evolution and behaviour of the catalyst during chemical reactions in real time using a combination of in situ AC-HRTEM and near edge X ray absorption fine structure experiments to give atomic level structural information and reveal mechanistic details of how catalysts function.


Doherty S, Knight JG, Backhouse T, Abood E, Alshaikh H, Fairlamb IJS, Bourne RA, Chamberlain TW, Stones R Highly efficient aqueous phase chemoselective hydrogenation of alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehydes catalysed by phosphine-decorated polymer immobilized IL-stabilized PdNPs GREEN CHEMISTRY 19 1635-1641, 2017

Chamberlain TW, Biskupek J, Skowron ST, Markevich AV, Kurasch S, Reimer O, Walker KE, Rance GA, Feng X, Müllen K, Turchanin A, Lebedeva MA, Majouga AG, Nenajdenko VG, Kaiser U, Besley E, Khlobystov AN Stop-Frame Filming and Discovery of Reactions at the Single-Molecule Level by Transmission Electron Microscopy ACS Nano 11 2509-2520, 2017
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Sinitsa AS, Chamberlain TW, Zoberbier T, Lebedeva IV, Popov AM, Knizhnik AA, McSweeney RL, Biskupek J, Kaiser U, Khlobystov AN Formation of Nickel Clusters Wrapped in Carbon Cages: Toward New Endohedral Metallofullerene Synthesis Nano Letters 17 1082-1089, 2017
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McSweeney RL, Chamberlain TW, Baldoni M, Lebedeva MA, Davies ES, Besley E, Khlobystov AN Direct Measurement of Electron Transfer in Nanoscale Host-Guest Systems: Metallocenes in Carbon Nanotubes Chemistry - A European Journal 22 13540-13549, 2016
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Botos A, Biskupek J, Chamberlain TW, Rance GA, Stoppiello CT, Sloan J, Liu Z, Suenaga K, Kaiser U, Khlobystov AN Carbon Nanotubes as Electrically Active Nanoreactors for Multi-Step Inorganic Synthesis: Sequential Transformations of Molecules to Nanoclusters and Nanoclusters to Nanoribbons Journal of the American Chemical Society 138 8175-8183, 2016
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Lebedeva MA, Chamberlain TW, Thomas A, Thomas BE, Stoppiello CT, Volkova E, Suyetin M, Khlobystov AN Chemical reactions at the graphitic step-edge: Changes in product distribution of catalytic reactions as a tool to explore the environment within carbon nanoreactors Nanoscale 8 11727-11737, 2016
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Zoberbier T, Chamberlain TW, Biskupek J, Suyetin M, Majouga AG, Besley E, Kaiser U, Khlobystov AN Investigation of the Interactions and Bonding between Carbon and Group VIII Metals at the Atomic Scale Small 12 1649-1657, 2016
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Lebedeva MA, Chamberlain TW, Scattergood PA, Delor M, Sazanovich IV, Davies ES, Suyetin M, Besley E, Schröder M, Weinstein JA, Khlobystov AN Stabilising the lowest energy charge-separated state in a {metal chromophore-fullerene} assembly: A tuneable panchromatic absorbing donor-acceptor triad Chemical Science 7 5908-5921, 2016
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Sherborne GJ, Chapman MR, Blacker AJ, Bourne RA, Chamberlain TW, Crossley BD, Lucas SJ, Mcgowan PC, Newton MA, Screen TEO, Thompson P, Willans CE, Nguyen BN Activation and deactivation of a robust immobilized Cp*Ir-transfer hydrogenation catalyst: A multielement in situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy study Journal of the American Chemical Society 137 4151-4157, 2015
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Chamberlain TW, Biskupek J, Skowron ST, Bayliss PA, Bichoutskaia E, Kaiser U, Khlobystov AN Isotope substitution extends the lifetime of organic molecules in transmission electron microscopy Small 11 622-629, 2015
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Chamberlain TW, Lebedeva MA, Abuajwa W, Suyetin M, Lewis W, Bichoutskaia E, Schröder M, Khlobystov AN Switching intermolecular interactions by confinement in carbon nanotubes Chemical Communications 51 648-651, 2015
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Lebedeva MA, Chamberlain TW, Khlobystov AN Harnessing the Synergistic and Complementary Properties of Fullerene and Transition-Metal Compounds for Nanomaterial Applications Chemical Reviews 115 11301-11351, 2015
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Pollack A, Alnemrat S, Chamberlain TW, Khlobystov AN, Hooper JP, Osswald S Electronic property modification of single-walled carbon nanotubes by encapsulation of sulfur-terminated graphene nanoribbons Small 10 5077-5086, 2014
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Lebedeva IV, Chamberlain TW, Popov AM, Knizhnik AA, Zoberbier T, Biskupek J, Kaiser U, Khlobystov AN The atomistic mechanism of carbon nanotube cutting catalyzed by nickel under an electron beam Nanoscale 6 14877-14890, 2014
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McSweeney RL, Chamberlain TW, Davies ES, Khlobystov AN Single-walled carbon nanotubes as nano-electrode and nano-reactor to control the pathways of a redox reaction Chemical Communications 50 14338-14340, 2014
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Lebedeva MA, Chamberlain TW, Schröder M, Khlobystov AN New pathway for heterogenization of molecular catalysts by non-covalent interactions with carbon nanoreactors Chemistry of Materials 26 6461-6466, 2014
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Chamberlain TW, Earley JH, Anderson DP, Khlobystov AN, Bourne RA Catalytic nanoreactors in continuous flow: Hydrogenation inside single-walled carbon nanotubes using supercritical CO2 Chemical Communications 50 5200-5202, 2014
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Botka B, Füstös ME, Tõháti HM, Németh K, Klupp G, Szekrényes Z, Kocsis D, Utczás M, Székely E, Váczi T, Tarczay G, Hackl R, Chamberlain TW, Khlobystov AN, Kamarás K Interactions and chemical transformations of coronene inside and outside carbon nanotubes Small 10 1369-1378, 2014
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Maggini L, Füstös ME, Chamberlain TW, Cebrián C, Natali M, Pietraszkiewicz M, Pietraszkiewicz O, Székely E, Kamarás K, De Cola L, Khlobystov AN, Bonifazi D Fullerene-driven encapsulation of a luminescent Eu(iii) complex in carbon nanotubes Nanoscale 6 2887-2894, 2014
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Lebedeva MA, Chamberlain TW, Davies ES, Thomas BE, Schröder M, Khlobystov AN Tuning the interactions between electron spins in fullerene-based triad systems Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry 10 332-343, 2014
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Chamberlain TW, Biskupek J, Skowron ST, Bayliss PA, Bichoutskaia E, Kaiser U, Khlobystov AN Isotope substitution extends the lifetime of organic molecules in transmission electron microscopy Small -, 2014
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Strauß V, Gallego A, Torre GDL, Chamberlain TW, Khlobystov AN, Torres T, Guldi DM Creating and testing carbon interfaces - Integrating oligomeric phthalocyanines onto single walled carbon nanotubes Faraday Discussions 172 61-79, 2014
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Lebedeva MA, Chamberlain TW, Davies ES, Mancel D, Thomas BE, Suyetin M, Bichoutskaia E, Schröder M, Khlobystov AN Transition metal complexes of a salen-fullerene diad: Redox and catalytically active nanostructures for delivery of metals in nanotubes Chemistry - A European Journal 19 11999-12008, 2013
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Masika E, Bourne RA, Chamberlain TW, Mokaya R Supercritical CO2mediated incorporation of Pd onto templated carbons: A route to optimizing the pd particle size and hydrogen uptake density ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces 5 5639-5647, 2013
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Rance GA, Miners SA, Chamberlain TW, Khlobystov AN The effect of carbon nanotubes on chiral chemical reactions Chemical Physics Letters 557 10-14, 2013
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Chamberlain TW, Pfeiffer R, Howells J, Peterlik H, Kuzmany H, Kräutler B, Da Ros T, Melle-Franco M, Zerbetto F, Milić D, Khlobystov AN Engineering molecular chains in carbon nanotubes Nanoscale 4 7540-7548, 2012
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Lebedeva MA, Chamberlain TW, Schröder M, Khlobystov AN An efficient route to the synthesis of symmetric and asymmetric diastereomerically pure fullerene triads Tetrahedron 68 4976-4985, 2012
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Chamberlain TW, Zoberbier T, Biskupek J, Botos A, Kaiser U, Khlobystov AN Formation of uncapped nanometre-sized metal particles by decomposition of metal carbonyls in carbon nanotubes Chemical Science 3 1919-1924, 2012
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Chamberlain TW, Biskupek J, Rance GA, Chuvilin A, Alexander TJ, Bichoutskaia E, Kaiser U, Khlobystov AN Size, structure, and helical twist of graphene nanoribbons controlled by confinement in carbon nanotubes ACS Nano 6 3943-3953, 2012
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La Torre A, Giménez-López MDC, Fay MW, Rance GA, Solomonsz WA, Chamberlain TW, Brown PD, Khlobystov AN Assembly, growth, and catalytic activity of gold nanoparticles in hollow carbon nanofibers ACS Nano 6 2000-2007, 2012
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Zoberbier T, Chamberlain TW, Biskupek J, Kuganathan N, Eyhusen S, Bichoutskaia E, Kaiser U, Khlobystov AN Interactions and reactions of transition metal clusters with the interior of single-walled carbon nanotubes imaged at the atomic scale Journal of the American Chemical Society 134 3073-3079, 2012
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Del Carmen Gimenez-Lopez M, Räisänen MT, Chamberlain TW, Weber U, Lebedeva M, Rance GA, Briggs GAD, Pettifor D, Burlakov V, Buck M, Khlobystov AN Functionalized fullerenes in self-assembled monolayers Langmuir 27 10977-10985, 2011
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Chamberlain TW, Meyer JC, Biskupek J, Leschner J, Santana A, Besley NA, Bichoutskaia E, Kaiser U, Khlobystov AN Reactions of the inner surface of carbon nanotubes and nanoprotrusion processes imaged at the atomic scale Nature Chemistry 3 732-737, 2011
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Chuvilin A, Bichoutskaia E, Gimenez-Lopez MC, Chamberlain TW, Rance GA, Kuganathan N, Biskupek J, Kaiser U, Khlobystov AN Self-assembly of a sulphur-terminated graphene nanoribbon within a single-walled carbon nanotube Nature Materials 10 687-692, 2011
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Fan J, Chamberlain TW, Wang Y, Yang S, Blake AJ, Schröder M, Khlobystov AN Encapsulation of transition metal atoms into carbon nanotubes: A supramolecular approach Chemical Communications 47 5696-5698, 2011
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Chamberlain TW, Davies ES, Khlobystov AN, Champness NR Multi-electron-acceptor dyad and triad systems based on perylene bisimides and fullerenes Chemistry - A European Journal 17 3759-3767, 2011
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Chamberlain TW, Champness NR, Schröder M, Khlobystov AN A piggyback ride for transition metals: Encapsulation of exohedral metallofullerenes in carbon nanotubes Chemistry - A European Journal 17 668-674, 2011
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Chamberlain TW, Popov AM, Knizhnik AA, Samoilov GE, Khlobystov AN The role of molecular clusters in the filling of carbon nanotubes ACS Nano 4 5203-5210, 2010
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Chamberlain TW, Gimenez-Lopez MDC, Khlobystov AN Carbon Nanotubes as Containers In Carbon Nanotubes and Related Structures: Synthesis, Characterization, Functionalization, and Applications , 2010

Chamberlain TW, Pfeiffer R, Peterlik H, Kuzmany H, Zerbetto F, Melle-Franco M, Staddon L, Champness NR, Briggs GAD, Khlobystov AN Polyarene-functionalized fullerenes in carbon nanotubes: Towards controlled geometry of molecular chains Small 4 2262-2270, 2008
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Pagona G, Rotas G, Khlobystov AN, Chamberlain TW, Porfyrakis K, Tagmatarchis N Azafullerenes encapsulated within single-walled carbon nanotubes Journal of the American Chemical Society 130 6062-6063, 2008
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Chamberlain TW, Camenisch A, Champness NR, Briggs GAD, Benjamin SC, Ardavan A, Khlobystov AN Toward controlled spacing in one-dimensional molecular chains: Alkyl-chain-functionalized fullerenes in carbon nanotubes Journal of the American Chemical Society 129 8609-8614, 2007
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