Cameron Shearer

Dr Cameron Shearer

ARC Externally-Funded Research Fellow

School of Physical Sciences

Faculty of Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.


2012 - PhD, Flinders University of South Australia, Carbon nanotube modified surfaces for water filtration, gene transfection and as electron sources.
2012-2014, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Muenster (Germany), Photocatalytic hydrogen production using metal oxide coated carbon nanotubes.
2014-2015, Researcher in Business, PMB Defense Engineering and Flinders University, Submarine battery lifetime
2015-2017 ARC Resarch Associate, Flinders University, Carbon nanotube photovoltaics
2018 -2019, University of Adelaide Research Fellow, Nanostructured photocatalysts for energy conversion
2019-2020, Researcher in Business, Membrane Systems Australia and UniSA, Large-scale PFAS remediation
2020-Current, ARC Future Fellow, University of Adelaide, Light-driven degradation of persistent organic pollutants

I aim to use fundamental chemistry and materials science to find solutions to environmentally relevant problems such as the destruction of pollutants or the generation of renewable fuels.

Sunlight is the most abundant energy source on Earth yet it is still underutilized in chemical synthesis. Photocatalysis is the key to unlock the potential of light in a range of applications. 

Photocatalytic degradation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) can cause cancer and birth defects in humans and are destructive to animal and aquatic lifeforms.[1] POPs are by-products of some agricultural and industrial processes and do not degrade naturally due to their strong chemical bonds (e.g. C-Cl, C-F) which are resistant to chemical- and bio-degradation (example POPs are shown in Figure 1).

There is a need to develop methods and processes for effective degradation of POPs to mitigate their emerging health and environmental effects.

I synthesise of new photocatalytic materials with designed electronic band structure to break C-Cl or C-F bonds (which are present in all POPs). Materials of interest are titanium and tantalum based perovskites such as SrTiO3 and NaTa2O3.

A final aspect of this research is the translation of research to commercial application and photocatalytic processes and reactors will be developed with close ties to industry to degrade pollutants relevant to Australia (Figure 1).

Hydrogen production via photocatalytic water splitting

Hydrogen can be produced directly from water and produces only water when burned, making it a completely renewable and non-polluting fuel source that could replace fossil fuels. However, current methods to produce hydrogen requires a significant amount of energy and it is still not economically competitive with oil and gas.

My research aims to produce light absorbing materials which can produce hydrogen (H2) from water (H2O) using only energy from sunlight to drive the reaction.

To achieve this, We prepare metal oxides which absorb light, store the energy, and then use the energy to split water. This process is enhanced with co-catalysts to drive hydrogen evolution or oxygen evolution. These co-catalysts are often rare and expensive materials (platinum or rhodium), so we deposit few-atom cluster co-catalysts which we find improve performance and reduce the amount of precious materials used.

My research in reducing the cost of hydrogen production materials is shown in the video:

High resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is used to observe the materials at the atomic scale.

 

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2020 ARC Future Fellow University of Adelaide
    2019 - 2020 Researcher in Business Membrane Systems Australia and University of South Australia
    2018 - 2019 Research Fellow University of Adelaide
    2015 - 2017 ARC Research Associate Flinders University
    2014 - 2015 Researcher in Business PMB Defense Engineering and Flinders University
    2012 - 2014 Postdoctoral Research Associate University of Muenster
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2019 Fellowship ARC Future Fellow Australian Research Council Australia
    2018 Award South Australian Young Tall Poppy Australian Institute of Policy & Sciences Australia
    2017 Research Award International Synchrotron Access Program Australian synchrotron $6,400
    2016 Award Flinders University Vice Chancellor’s Award for Early Career Researchers $2,500
    2015 Award Australia-China Young Scientist Exchange Program ATSE Australia ~$10,000
    2015 Achievement Business Pitch Competition at the Nanotechnology Entrepreneurship Workshop for Early Career Researchers $1000
    2012 Award South Australian PhD Research Excellence award $10000
    2009 Achievement ARNAM student scholarship for collaborative research $3,500
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2008 - 2012 Flinders University Australia PhD
    2003 - 2007 Flinders University Australia BSc (Honours)
  • Research Interests

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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 Co-Supervisor Solar hydrogen production from Z-scheme photocatalysis Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Thomas Douglas Small
    2020 Co-Supervisor Effect of Phosphine-ligated Gold Clusters on Reduced Graphene Oxide in Electro/Photo-catalytic Water splitting Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Hanieh Mousavi
    2020 Co-Supervisor Photocatalytic Water-Splitting Under Lunar Conditions Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Froilan Mathew Directo
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  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2021 - ongoing Member Hypt-2 Organising Comittee 2nd Forum on Hydrogen Production Technologies Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2012 - ongoing Member RACI Australia
    2008 - ongoing Australian Nanotechnology Network (ANN)
  • Community Engagement

    Date Title Engagement Type Institution Country
    2021 - ongoing Assesor, Oliphant Science Award Public Community Engagement South Australian Science Teachers Association
    2019 - ongoing Speaker, Night of Science Public Community Engagement South Australian Museum
  • Position: ARC Externally-Funded Research Fellow
  • Phone: 83135770
  • Email: cameron.shearer@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Badger, floor 1
  • Room: 104
  • Org Unit: Chemistry

Connect With Me
External Profiles