Dr. Fernando Bresme

Computational, Theoretical
and Structural Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
Imperial College London
Room 165
Exhibition Road, London
+44 (0)207 594 5886
Fax :
+44 (0)207 594 5850


Computer simulations and statistical mechanics techniques are being applied to study colloidal, interfacial and ionic systems. Our research is focused on the development of models for understanding the molecular interactions in these systems, and in this way provide a route to obtain their structural properties and phase behaviour. I am also interested in the development of new computer simulation methodologies, in particular, to calculate interfacial properties. The research encompasses a range of systems, from colloids to thin films, relevant to a number of technological applications. Some applied areas of interest are given below.

  1. Wetting phenomena at fluid-fluid interfaces
    We are investigating the wetting behaviour of nanometer scale objects adsorbed at liquid-vapour and liquid-liquid interfaces. At the nanoscale the line tension plays an important role in determining the wetting properties of these systems. Using theoretical analyses we have recently predicted that the line tension can be used as a new variable to control surface actitivity of nanoparticles depending on their shape. This work involves both theoretical and computer simulation studies and collaborations with experimentalists.
  2. Fluids under confinement conditions
    The study of liquids confined in nanoporous systems is of great interest in science and technology. Our work is aimed to understand the structure, dynamics and thermodynamics of confined systems, with particular enphasis on crystallisation processes in confined spaces of a few nanometers size. These studies are relevant to areas such as nanotribilogy (lubrication, friction and wear) and adhesion phenomena. Also crystallisation of salts in small pores is present in geological processes and cause disruption and weakness of building stones and aggregates.
  3. Structure and stability of thin films
    Thin films exhibit a fascinating behaviour which cannot be explained in terms of standard theories. Our aim is to provide a microscopic understanding of the origin of the surface forces in thin films and in particular films of a few nanometers width. Our interests also involves the study of the synergistic behaviour observed in polymeric systems in the presence of other species. This research has important applications in several areas: stability of foams and emulsions, liquid-liquid friction, oil recovery, biological membrane interactions or molecular self-assembly.
  4. Modelling of electrochemical phenomena
    Work is currently underway to study electrochemical phenomena at electrified interfaces. Charged interfaces add a new dimension to the study of wetting phenomena. An example of this is electrocapillarity which results in dramatic changes in the wetting properties of electrolyte solution in contact with surfaces. Otherwise electro-osmosis can drive the movement of fluid molecules along charged surfaces. This process plays an important role in a new type of technology know as 'lab on a chip'. We are interested in modelling these complex phenomena by employing computer simulations, and in this way gain a microscopic understanding on why and how they occur. This knowledge could be used for the optimisation of devices based on these processes.