Professor Robert Hillman

Professor of Physical Chemistry

School/Department: Chemistry, School of



Robert Hillman was educated at Imperial College London (BSc 1976) and Oxford University (DPhil 1979). After post-doctoral research at Imperial College he was appointed to a Lectureship at the University of Bristol (1983) to the Chair of Physical Chemistry at the University of Leicester (1992) and Dean of the Faculty of Science (2003-2009). He was Scientific Editor of Faraday Transactions (forerunner of PCCP) and Faraday Discussions (1994-1997) and has been Editor in Chief of Electrochimica Acta since 2014. Robert has served the International Society of Electrochemistry as UK National Secretary (1994-1998) Secretary General (1999-2005) Chair of the Scientific Meetings Committee (2006-07) and President (2009-2010) and the Electrochemical Society through its Sensor Division and Education Committees. He is an elected Fellow of the International Society of Electrochemistry and of the Electrochemical Society. Robert is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry a member of the Expert Panel of the Faraday Institution and a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College.


Interfacial analysis and imaging. Themes: in situ technique development electroactive materials and forensic science. Electrochemistry provides control over interfacial processes but not species identification or spatial location. In situ techniques providing this include: nanogravimetric assays of deposition/dissolution and ion (de-)insertion; acoustic admittance analysis of polymer viscoelasticity; optical determination of solution dynamics; and neutron reflectivity spatial profiling of “buried” interfaces. Electroactive composites (of polymers metals metal oxides and carbons) combine individual component chemical electronic and optical attributes relevant to devices. In situ techniques reveal correlations between material composition structure and dynamics and device performance. Forensically fingerprints are the primary means of identification of individuals. Criminal investigations involve latent (non-visible) marks which require chemical treatments to visualise them. Electrochemistry is used to drive spatially selective metal or polymer deposition to reveal latent fingermarks on diverse (metal polymer paper) surfaces relevant to acquisitive and violent crimes.


Amidine-based ionic liquid analogues with AlCl3: a credible new electrolyte for rechargeable Al batteries, A.J. Lucio, I. Efimov, O.N. Efimov, C.J. Zaleski, S. Viles, B.B. Ignatiuk, A.P. Abbott, A.R. Hillman and K.S. Ryder, Chem. Comm., 2021. 

Highly efficient defluoridation of water through reusable poly(aniline-co-o-aminophenol) copolymer modified electrode using electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance, A. Unal, A.R. Hillman, K.S. Ryder and S. Cihangir, J. Electrochem. Soc., 168 (2021) 022502. 

Effect of electrochemical control function on the internal structure and composition of electrodeposited polypyrrole films: A neutron reflectometry study, C. Beebee, E.B. Watkins, R.M. Sapstead, V.C. Ferreira, K.S. Ryder, E.L. Smith and A.R. Hillman, Electrochim. Acta, 295 (2019) 978-988.

Real-time in situ dynamic sub-surface imaging of multi-component electrodeposited films using event mode neutron reflectivity, A.R. Hillman, R. Barker, R.M. Dalgliesh, V.C. Ferreira, E.J.R. Palin, R.M. Sapstead, E.L. Smith, N.J. Steinke, K.S. Ryder and A.D. Ballantyne, Faraday Disc., 210 (2018) 429-449. 

N-doped few-layered graphene-polyNi complex nanocomposite with excellent electrochromic properties, M. Nunes, M. Araujo, R. Bacsa, R.V. Ferreira, E. Castillejos, P. Serp, A.R. Hillman, and C. Freire, Carbon, 120 (2017) 32-43. 

Latent fingerprint enhancement via conducting electrochromic copolymer films of pyrrole and 3,4-ethylene-dioxythiophene on stainless steel, R. M. Sapstead, N. Corden and A.R. Hillman, Electrochimica Acta, 162 (2015) 119-128. 

Application of the combined electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance and probe beam deflection, A.R. Hillman, K.S. Ryder, C.J. Zaleski, V. Ferreira, C.A. Beasley and E. Vieil, Electrochimica Acta, 135 (2014), 42-51. 

Ionometallurgy: designer redox properties for metal processing, A.P. Abbott, G. Frisch, S.J. Gurman, A.R. Hillman, J. Hartley, F. Holyoak and K.S. Ryder, Chem. Comm., (2011) 10031-10033.

Time-temperature superposition and the controlling role of solvation in the viscoelastic properties of polyaniline thin films, A.R. Hillman, M.A. Mohamoud and I. Efimov, Anal. Chem., 83 (2011) 5696-5707. 

Electrochromic enhancement of latent fingerprints on stainless steel surfaces, A.R. Hillman and A. Beresford, Anal. Chem., 82 (2010) 483-486. 


Electrochemistry, including: electroactive materials, energy storage materials, analytical electrochemistry, modified electrodes, development of in situ techniques (EQCM, PBD, neutron reflectivity, spectroelectrochemistry), surface imaging 

Forensic science: fingerprints (in particular latent fingerprint visualisation), surface analysis, trace evidence analysis 


Contributions at all levels to degree programmes in: Chemistry (BSc & MChem); Chemistry with Forensic Science (BSc & MChem); Forensic Science & Justice Studies (MSc by Distance Learning) 

Module topics include: Scientific method & principles of analytical chemistry, Introductory forensic science, Advanced analytical chemistry,  Forensic science, Advanced forensic science; dissertations (BSc, MChem & MSc) 

Press and media

Electrochemical energy storage; electroanalytical chemistry; chemical aspects of forensic science (not DNA analysis)


Professional Society memberships: Royal Society of Chemistry, Electrochemical Society, International Society of Electrochemistry, Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences

Professional activities: Editor in Chief of Electrochimica Acta, Society journal of International Society of Electrochemistry (since 2014). Member of Electrochemical Society Sensor Division Executive Committee. Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Member of the Expert Panel of the Faraday Institution. Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College. Former President (2009-2010) of International Society of Electrochemistry. 


Elected Fellow of the International Society of Electrochemistry

Elected Fellow of the Electrochemical Society


Presentations at conferences (*invited): 

2021: Electrochemical Society Meeting* (Chicago); International Society of Electrochemistry annual meeting (Jeju, Korea); International Society of Electrochemistry topical meeting Energy & Water (Mikulov, Czech Republic) 

2020: International Society of Electrochemistry annual meeting* (Belgrade) 

2019: International Society of Electrochemistry annual meeting (Durban, South Africa); International Association for Identification (Warsaw); International Workshop on Electrochemistry of Electroactive Materials (Borovets, Bulgaria); International Fingerprint Research Group* (Sheffield) 

2018: International Society of Electrochemistry annual meeting (Bologna); Fischer Symposium (Germany); Royal Society of Chemistry Faraday Discussion (Bath); Chartered Society Forensic Science annual meeting (Northampton)

2017: International Fingerprint Research Group* (Beijing); International Society of Electrochemistry annual meeting* (Providence, USA); International Association for Identification (Amsterdam); Royal Society of Chemistry Faraday Discussion (Cambridge); Public Policy Exchange Symposium on Detecting and Preventing Metal Theft* (London) 


Education: Imperial College London (BSc, 1976) and Oxford University (DPhil, 1979) 

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 

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