Staff Profile

Dr Ben Horrocks

Senior Lecturer



PhD and DIC, Department of Chemistry at Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, 1992.

BSc. in Chemistry (First Class Honours) at Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, London, U. K, 1988.


My research covers a range of experimental and theoretical topics in electrochemistry and nanoscale science, with considerable overlap. All of the work involves collaboration with other members of the Chemical Nanoscience Laboratory (CNL; Andrew Houlton, David Fulton, Eimer Tuite, Andrew Pike and Lidija Šiller) as well as colleagues elsewhere in Newcastle University, in industry (Intel, Alphasense) and across Europe (EU FP7 network LAMAND).


We are investigating the synthesis of nanowires using DNA as a template in order to control the length and diameter of the wires. Metals, semiconductors and conjugated polymer nanowires have all been prepared. We also study the conductance mechanism and spectroscopic properties of these materials using a range of microelectronic, probe microscopy and confocal imaging techniques. In collaboration with colleagues in EECE as well as external collaborators (Intel, EU FP7 network LAMAND) we are investigating their use in applications including sensing and novel electronics.

[1] Watson, S. M. D.; Wright, N. G.; Horrocks, B. R.; Houlton, A. Langmuir 2009, 26, 2068.

[2] Houlton, A.; Pike, A. R.; Galindo, M. A.; Horrocks, B. R. Chem. Commun. 2009, 1797.

[3] Hassanien, R.; Al-Hinai, M.; Al-Said, S. A. F.; Little, R.; Šiller, L.; Wright, N. G.; Houlton, A.; Horrocks, B. R. ACS Nano 2010, 4, 2149.

Quantum dots

Originally we came into this field via the silicon monolayer work with the discovery that under certain conditions the hydrosilation chemistry at porous silicon produces free-standing alkyl monolayer-capped silicon nanocrystals. We have investigated the photophysics and spectroscopy of these intensely luminescent quantum dots and also observed their unusual ability to 'evaporate' intact under UHV conditions. Current projects involve a mixture of fundamental studies (with Lidija Šiller in CEAM/CNL), applications as biological probes (with Harish Datta, FMS) and nanotoxicology (with Harish Datta & Elaine Mutch, FMS).

[4] Lie, L. H.; Duerdin, M.; Tuite, E. M.; Houlton, A.; Horrocks, B. R. J. Electroanal. Chem. 2002, 538-539, 183.

[5] Rostron, R. J.; Chao, Y.; Roberts, G.; Horrocks, B R. J. Phys. Cond. Matter, 2009, 21, 235301.

[6] Zidek, K.; Pelant, I.; Trojanek, F.; Maly, P.; Gilliot, P.; Honerlage, B.; Oberle, J.; Šiller, L.; Little, R.; Horrocks, B. R. Phys. Rev. B 2011, 84, 085321.

[7] Chao, Y.; Šiller, L.; Krishnamurthy, S.; Coxon, P. R.; Bangert, U.; Gass, M.; Kjeldgaard, L.; Patole, S. N.; Lie, L. H.; O'Farrell, N.; Alsop, T. A.; Houlton, A.; Horrocks, B. R. Nat. Nanotechnol. 2007, 2, 486.

[8] Al-sharif, N. H.; Berger, C. E. M.; Varanasi, S. S.; Chao, Y.; Horrocks, B. R.; Datta, H. K. Small, 2009, 5, 221.

Monolayer chemistries at hydrogen-terminated silicon

Fluoride etching of silicon is a common technique in semiconductor technology, it produces a hydrogen-terminated surface that can be handled under ambient conditions and on which there is a rich surface monolayer chemistry, analogous to the organic chemistry of silanes, but with some unique aspects. In particular, in collaboration with Bernard Connolly (FMS) we have shown that it is possible to carry out a complete DNA synthesis on atomically-flat Si(111)-H or on porous silicon.

[9] de Smet, L. C. P. M.; Zuihof, H.; Sudholter, E. J. R.; Lie, L. H.; Houlton, A.; Horrocks, B. R. J. Phys. Chem. B 2005, 109, 12020.

[10] Woods, M.; Carlsson, S.; Hong, Q.; Patole, S. N.; Lie, L. H.; Houlton, A.; Horrocks B. R. J. Phys. Chem. B 2005, 109, 24035.

[11] Cleland, C. G.; Horrocks, B. R.; Houlton, A. J. Chem. Soc. Farad. Trans. 1995, 91, 4001.

[12] Horrocks, B. R.; Houlton, A.; Bateman, J. E.; Eagling, R. D. Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. 1998, 37, 2683.

[13] Pike, A. R.; Lie, L. H.; Eagling, R. D.; Ryder, L. C.; Patole, S. N.; Connolly, B. A.; Horrocks, B. R.; Houlton, A. Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. 2002, 41, 615.

[14] Lie, L. H.; Patole, S. N.; Pike, A. R.; Ryder, L. C.; Connolly, B. A.; Ward, A. D.; Tuite, E. M.; Houlton, A.; Horrocks, B. R. Farad. Disc. 2004, 125, 235.

[15] Pike, A. R.; Ryder, L. C.; Horrocks, B. R.; Clegg, W.; Connolly, B. A.; Houlton, A. Chem. Eur. J. 2005, 11, 344.