School of Chemistry

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Robert Menzel

University Academic Fellow
Member of the Crystallisation and Directed Assembly group

Contact details

Room: 2.91b
Tel: +44 (0)113 3436407


Materials Chemistry
Nanocarbons and metal oxide nanoparticles
Surface functionalization
Nanostructure assemblies
Heterogeneous Catalysis and CO2 adsorption

Photograph of Robert Menzel

Research interests

My research interests focus on "low-dimensional" carbon and metal oxide nanomaterials, including carbon nanotubes, graphene, nanostructured TiO2, layered double hydroxides, and their application in heterogeneous catalysis and environmental remediation.

Surface functionalization and characterisation of nanomaterials
Chemical surface functionalization with molecular moieties or polymeric chains enables to tune the compatibility of a nanomaterial with a desired reactant or processing medium, and/or allows the introduction of well-defined surface sites with specific function. Surface functionalization is, therefore, a key issue in the development of many nanomaterial applications, including heterogeneous catalysis, nucleation, sensing, energy storage and CO2 capture. I investigate a variety of gas-phase and wet-chemical functionalization methodologies, with a particular focus on a newly-developed, thermochemical methodology, which has a number of advantages over more conventional approaches, such as scalability and functional versatility. For the assessment of the altered surface properties of nanomaterials, inverse gas chromatography (IGC) has proven to be a versatile and sensitive tool, providing important, application-relevant thermodynamic surface parameters, including solid surface energies and adsorption capacities. Other analytical techniques utilised to study the surface of the nanomaterials, are TGA-MS, XPS and contact angle measurements.

Nanostructured aerogels and membranes
The assembly of nanostructures into well-defined three-dimensional networks, such as nanocarbon aerogels and membranes, and the use of these assemblies as support frameworks for functional nanoparticles is studied. The open, porous structure and high specific surface area of these structured assemblies are explored with the aim to boost the activity and improve regeneration properties of functional nanoparticles (e.g. layered double hydroxides, metal nanoparticles) in heterogeneous catalysis and pollutant adsorption. Further, the excellent Joule heating properties of the carbon framework are studied with a view to utilise Joule heating for quick, energy-efficient and uniform temperature control in context of temperature-sensitive heterogeneous catalysis and thermal adsorber regeneration.

Low-dimensional TiO2 nanocrystals
Different strategies, including non-hydrolytic sol-gel reactions and hydrothermal conversions, are explored to synthesise anisotropic TiO2 and titanate nanostructures, including nanotubes, nanorods and nanoplatelets, and to control the crystallographic structure and surface chemistry of the nanomaterials produced. A particular focus is on two-dimensional TiO2 nanoplatelets. The impact of morphology and predominant crystal facet is studied. Applications for organised TiO2 nanoplatelet structures lie in the areas of photocatalysis, dielectrics, and ductile composites.


Huang P, Kazlauciunas A, Menzel R, Lin L Determining the mechanism and efficiency of industrial dye adsorption through facile structural control of organo-montmorillonite adsorbents. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces -, 2017
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Ahmed NS, Menzel R, Wang Y, Garcia-Gallastegui A, Bawaked SM, Obaid AY, Basahel SN, Mokhtar M Graphene-oxide-supported CuAl and CoAl layered double hydroxides as enhanced catalysts for carbon-carbon coupling via Ullmann reaction Journal of Solid State Chemistry 246 130-137, 2017
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Menzel R, Iruretagoyena D, Wang Y, Bawaked SM, Mokhtar M, Al-Thabaiti SA, Basahel SN, Shaffer MSP Graphene oxide/mixed metal oxide hybrid materials for enhanced adsorption desulfurization of liquid hydrocarbon fuels Fuel 181 531-536, 2016
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Liberti E, Menzel R, Shaffer MSP, McComb DW Probing the size dependence on the optical modes of anatase nanoplatelets using STEM-EELS Nanoscale 8 9727-9735, 2016
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De Marco M, Markoulidis F, Menzel R, Bawaked SM, Mokhtar M, Al-Thabaiti SA, Basahel SN, Shaffer MSP Cross-linked single-walled carbon nanotube aerogel electrodes: Via reductive coupling chemistry Journal of Materials Chemistry A 4 5385-5389, 2016
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Leese HS, Govada L, Saridakis E, Khurshid S, Menzel R, Morishita T, Clancy AJ, White ER, Chayen NE, Shaffer MSP Reductively PEGylated carbon nanomaterials and their use to nucleate 3D protein crystals: A comparison of dimensionality Chemical Science 7 2916-2923, 2016
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Govada L, Leese HS, Saridakis E, Kassen S, Chain B, Khurshid S, Menzel R, Hu S, Shaffer MSP, Chayen NE Exploring Carbon Nanomaterial Diversity for Nucleation of Protein Crystals Scientific Reports 6 -, 2016
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Bayazit MK, Hodge SA, Clancy AJ, Menzel R, Chen S, Shaffer MSP Carbon nanotube anions for the preparation of gold nanoparticle-nanocarbon hybrids Chemical Communications 52 1934-1937, 2016
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De Luca F, Menzel R, Blaker JJ, Birkbeck J, Bismarck A, Shaffer MSP Nacre-nanomimetics: Strong, Stiff, and Plastic ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces 7 26783-26791, 2015
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Menzel R, Barg S, Miranda M, Anthony DB, Bawaked SM, Mokhtar M, Al-Thabaiti SA, Basahel SN, Saiz E, Shaffer MSP Joule heating characteristics of emulsion-templated graphene aerogels Advanced Functional Materials 25 28-35, 2015
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Hu S, Chen S, Menzel R, Goode AD, Ryan MP, Porter AE, Shaffer MSP Aqueous dispersions of oligomer-grafted carbon nanomaterials with controlled surface charge and minimal framework damage Faraday Discussions 173 273-285, 2014
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Chen S, Hu S, Smith EF, Ruenraroengsak P, Thorley AJ, Menzel R, Goode AE, Ryan MP, Tetley TD, Porter AE, Shaffer MSP Aqueous cationic, anionic and non-ionic multi-walled carbon nanotubes, functionalised with minimal framework damage, for biomedical application Biomaterials 35 4729-4738, 2014
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Hodge SA, Tay HH, Anthony DB, Menzel R, Buckley DJ, Cullen PL, Skipper NT, Howard CA, Shaffer MSP Probing the charging mechanisms of carbon nanomaterial polyelectrolytes Faraday Discussions 172 311-325, 2014
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Menzel R, Duerrbeck A, Liberti E, Yau HC, McComb D, Shaffer MSP Determining the morphology and photocatalytic activity of two-dimensional anatase nanoplatelets using reagent stoichiometry Chemistry of Materials 25 2137-2145, 2013
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Liberti E, McGilvery CM, Menzel R, Shaffer MSP, McComb DW Size effects in nanoscale dielectric materials Journal of Physics: Conference Series 371 , 2012
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Menzel R, Bismarck A, Shaffer MSP Deconvolution of the structural and chemical surface properties of carbon nanotubes by inverse gas chromatography Carbon 50 3416-3421, 2012
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Menzel R, Cottam BF, Ziemian S, Shaffer MSP Two-stage, non-hydrolytic synthesis for improved control of TiO 2 nanorod formation Journal of Materials Chemistry 22 12172-12178, 2012
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Cunningham G, Lotya M, Cucinotta CS, Sanvito S, Bergin SD, Menzel R, Shaffer MSP, Coleman JN Solvent exfoliation of transition metal dichalcogenides: Dispersibility of exfoliated nanosheets varies only weakly between compounds ACS Nano 6 3468-3480, 2012
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Menzel R, Tran MQ, Menner A, Kay CWM, Bismarck A, Shaffer MSP A versatile, solvent-free methodology for the functionalisation of carbon nanotubes Chemical Science 1 603-608, 2010
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Menzel R, Lee A, Bismarck A, Shaffer MSP Inverse gas chromatography of as-received and modified carbon nanotubes Langmuir 25 8340-8348, 2009
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Shaffer M, Cottam B, Chyla S, Menzel R, Bismarck A Synthesis of one-dimensional titanium dioxide nanostructures Technical Proceedings of the 2008 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show, NSTI-Nanotech, Nanotechnology 2008 1 , 2008
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Menzel R, Peiro AM, Durrant JR, Shaffer MSP Impact of hydrothermal processing conditions on high aspect ratio titanate nanostructures CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS 18 6059-6068, 2006

Menzel R, Peiró AM, Durrant JR, Shaffer MSP Impact of hydrothermal processing conditions on high aspect ratio titanate nanostructures Chemistry of Materials 18 6059-6068, 2006
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Chen S, Hu S, Smith EF, Ruenraroengsak P, Thorley AJ, Menzel R, Goode AE, Ryan MP, Tetley TD, Porter AE, Shaffer MSP Water-soluble multi-walled carbon nanotubes, functionalised with minimal framework damage, for biological investigations and applications Biomaterials -,
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