Emma Smith

Emma Smith

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)
Chemistry and Forensic Science


Dr Smith is a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in the Physical Chemistry Section. She currently teaches on the following modules:

  • Introduction to Physical Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry and Advanced Physical Chemistry
  • Project40.

Career overview

Dr Smith received her Bachelor's degree (2003) and Ph.D. in Chemistry (2007) from Loughborough University. She joined the University of Leicester in 2006 as a post doctoral research associate to work on the EU funded project, IONMET which advanced the industrial application of a novel class of ionic liquids, Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) for the electropolishing of metals and metal deposition, both electrolytically and via immersion (electroless) processes. She has since been a teaching fellow and the Scientific Coordinator of another EU funded project developing a rechargeable battery for electric vehicles, utilising DESs and conducting polymers (PolyZion); before joining Nottingham Trent University in September, 2012 as a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer.

Research areas

Dr Smith's research interests have focussed on sustainable, functional coatings; concentrating on the electrochemical, physical and mechanical properties of metallic and polymeric films. She has worked on the fundamental mechanism of material growth and also on the application of the technology to pilot plant scale for industrial applications. Research activities have involved working in multi-disciplinary, international teams both in industry and at international research facilities.

  • Characterisation of Functional Coatings – with wide range of experience in electrochemistry and surface characterisation (impedance electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance, atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, neutron reflectivity, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and UV-vis spectroelectrochemistry; Dr Smith has utilised these techniques to obtain fundamental information on the fundamental mechanism of growth of both metals and conducting polymers as well as characterising the properties of surface coatings.
  • Experimental Design - a new composite analytical technique using quartz crystal acoustic impedance electrochemical spectroscopy, alongside surface characterisation using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM/EDX). This combined technique presented a new method to study metal deposition in DESs.
  • Developing Rechargeable Batteries - current research focuses on the development of rechargeable batteries using a deep eutectic solvent (DES) as an electrolyte. The resultant battery devices strive to be low cost, have low environmental impact, and have the energy and power density necessary to compete with alternative battery technologies currently on the market.

External activity

Sponsors and collaborators

Collaborators on the dynamic in situ electrochemical neutron reflectivity measurement of conducting polymer systems:

  • Dr Karl Ryder (University of Leicester)
  • Prof Rob Hillman (University of Leicester)
  • Erik Watkins (ILL, Grenoble, France)
  • Robert Dalgliesh (ISIS, RAL, Oxford, UK).

Collaborators on the fundamental study of the behaviour of Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) and their applications:

  • Professor Andrew Abbott (University of Leicester)
  • Dr Karl Ryder (University of Leicester).


Metal finishing with ionic liquids: scale-up and pilot plants form IONMET consortium. Smith E L*, Fullarton C, Harris RC, Saleem S, Abbott AP, Ryder KS, Transactions of the Institute of Metal Finishing, 2010, 88, 285-291

Pilot trials of immersion silver deposition using a choline chloride based ionic liquid. Smith EL,* Abbott AP, Griffin J, Harris, R C, O’Conner C, Ryder, KS Circuit World, 2010, 36, (1), 3-9

Time Resolved In-Situ Liquid-AFM and Simultaneous Acoustic Impedance EQCM Measurements: A Study of Zn Deposition. Abbott AP, Barron JC, Ryder KS, Smith EL,* Analytical Chemistry, 2009, 81, (20), 8466-8471

Metal chelation and spatial profiling of components in crown ether functionalised conducting copolymer films . Hillman AR, Glidle A, Ryder KS, Smith EL, Cooper JM, Dalgliesh RM, Cubitt R, Geue T. Electrochim. Acta 2009, Special Issue, 4th Gerischer Symposium, 55, (2), 439-450

Use of Neutron Reflectivity to Measure the Dynamics of Solvation and Structural Changes in Polyvinylferrocene Films During Electrochemically Controlled Redox Cycling. Glidle A, Hillman, AR, Ryder KS, Smith EL, Cooper J, Gadegaard N, Webster, JRP, Dalgliesh R, Cubitt R, Langmuir, 2009, 25, 4093-4103

Electrolytic Metal Coatings and Metal Finishing Using Ionic Liquids. Abbott AP, Barron JC, Elhadi M, Frisch G, Gurman SJ, Hillman, AR, Smith EL, Mohamouda MA, Ryder KS, ECS Transactions, 2009, 16 (36), 47-63

Electrodeposition of nickel using eutectic based ionic liquid. Abbott AP, El Ttaib K, Ryder KS, Smith EL, Transactions of the Institute of Metal Finishing, 2008, 86 (4), 234-240

Sustained electroless deposition of metallic silver from a choline chloride-based ionic liquid. Abbott AP, Griffith J, Nandhra S, O’Connor C, Postlethwaite S, Ryder, KS, Smith EL, Surface & Coatings Technology, 2008, 202, 2033-2039

See all of Emma Smith's publications...