Frank Dillon graduated in Chemistry from the National University of Ireland, Cork in 2002. He obtained an Innovation Partnership Grant from Enterprise Ireland and Intel Ireland in order to carry out his PhD research in Materials Chemistry under the supervision of Prof Trevor Spalding. His work centred on the synthesis of carbon nanotubes as thermal conductors and reinforcing materials in mesoporous silica based composites and resulted in the award of his PhD in 2006 for the Development of carbon nanotube reinforced ceramic materials. Subsequently, he worked in the Tyndall National Institute, Cork with the Advanced Materials and Surfaces group as a post-doctoral fellow with Professor Martyn Pemble. The group is primarily concerned with the growth, characterisation and infiltration of photonic crystal based systems and, as part of this effort, Frank was invited to the Physics Department in Macquarie University, Sydney as a visiting fellow for a month in spring 2008.
He joined the Nanomaterials Group in the Department of Materials, Oxford University in July 2008.
The focus of his is to develop the great potential of carbon nanotube-inorganic hybrids and show that new scientific horizons will be opened by material combinations and their synergistic functions, rather than optimization of one particular material. Carbon nanotubes have highly tunable surface areas, aspect ratios and hollow cavities which make them ideal templates for size-controlled inorganic nanoparticles, nanotubes and nanowires respectively. These hybrid materials merge the properties of the components in a way that creates new enhanced properties and increases the robustness of the inorganic nanomaterials. These nanocomposites are expected to have excellent applicability toward various technologies such as catalysis and composites along with energy related areas such as photocatalysis, batteries and supercapacitors.