Professor Robert Lamb


Location: Room 354, Chemistry Building, Parkville Campus
Address: School of Chemistry, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, 3010, Australia
Phone No: 8344-6492

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  • BSc(Hons), University of Melbourne
  • PhD (Chemistry), University of Melbourne
  • PhD (Physics), University of Cambridge
  • Professor, University of New South Wales, 1997
  • Professor, University of Melbourne, 2007

Areas of Interest

Synthetic Chemistry

  • tetranuclear and octanuclear (carbamate) complexes for creation of semiconductor thin films for optoelectronic device development
  • nano particle hybrid coatings from sol gel processing for non stick surface protection

Biological Chemistry

  • bio interactions at surfaces
  • non stick/fouling chemistry

Advanced Materials and Nanoscience

  • semiconductor thin films formation at the nanoscale
  • nano wetting at nanoparticle interfaces

Spectroscopy and Molecular Characterisation

  • Surface analysis
  • Multiscale wetting analysis
  • Synchrotron science, X ray scattering at immersed interfaces


The Surface Science of Non Stick and Optically Active Interfaces

Synthesis and fabrication of thin films with particular emphasis on practical applications. Resulting in research papers and selected patent filings. Current areas of interest are

  • non stick surfaces with particular emphasis on ultra waterproof (superhydrophobic) coatings and biofouling prevention in marine environments;
  • Fabrication of semiconductor thin films from novel single source precusors applications in solar and optical devices.

In recent years there has been a focus on bio interactions at interfaces and the development of novel probes to investigate these. Currently his research group is examining the remarkable correlation between nanoscale bio compatability and in situ scattering of (2 Å) X rays ( synchrotron ) on immersed nano rough interfaces.

Surface and Coatings Technology

Created the world's first durable nanoparticle based super hydrophobic non stick coatings (1997). These highly processible and scalable coatings, made from crosslinked nanoparticles have now developed beyond ultra waterproof to encompass a more super-phobic nature - i.e. general repellency. This technology has subsequently been utilised in a range of protective applications from electronics to self cleaning textiles (US Patent : 6743467
"Hydrophobic coating material containing modified gels." Jones, Ashley; Lamb, Robert; Zhang, Hua. National File Date 1999 -published 2004). 

Extensive collaborations in USA, Europe and Asia and links into major international coatings manufacturing centres are a feature of this research.


A list of publications produced since 2001 can be viewed at - Find an Expert

Other Stuff

Head, School of Chemistry, The University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney Australia (2000-2006)
Head, Department of Food Science and Technology, (UNSW) (2003-4)
Foundation Director, Surface Science and Technology Centre, UNSW (1991-2005)

Foundation Director Australian Synchrotron (2007-2009)

Prof. Lamb was responsible for leading  the transformation from the Construction Project to National Facility Operations. This included major staff recruitment and establishment of operational structures and advisory committees that are maintained to the present day. During this period the Facility secured its first operational funding ($100 M) and 8 beamlines were constructed and eased into full user operations. A 150 m extension of a 9th beamline for imaging and radiotherapy and funding for construction of clinical and animal facilities was also secured during this period.

First published in Chemistry in Australia. Artist David GreenProf. Lamb's was also responsible for leading the planning, design and subsequent fundraising (~$40 M) for accommodation facilities (a user hotel) and new buildings such as a dedicated Engineering wing. His vision and subsequent design for a National Centre for Synchrotron Science was also realised through funding secured during this period. The present Australian Synchrotron operations, all beamlines and buildings are a result of this amazing effort by a small band of dedicated scientists and engineers in this relative short, intense startup phase. 

The Australian Synchrotron was a user success story becoming the single largest scientific research facility in Australia. During this period the synchrotron community grew sixfold from an initial 250 users. It continues to expand as new generations of users "see the light". The overseas users programme (ASRP) that had supported a generation of "suitcase" scientists was transformed into a scheme for International Scientific access (ISAP) and supplemented the fledgling Australian operations. The facility also hosted the highly successful 10th international conference on Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (SRI2009), the first time this meeting had been held in the southern hemisphere.