Professor Karl S. Ryder

Professor of Physical Chemistry

Postgraduate Tutor

Karl Ryder 200x266.jpg

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2088


Orcid ID: ORCID iD

Researcher ID: C-8619-2014

Personal details

  • B.Sc., D.Phil., (Sussex)
  • Research Group: Materials & Interfaces
  • Director of the Centre for Materials Research
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Vice-President of the Institute of Materials Finishing (IMF)
  • Technical Director of University Spin-Out company, Scionix Ltd


Research Group: Materials and Interfaces

My research activities cover three main project areas detailed below. Underpinning all these areas is an interest in electrochemistry, electrochemical interfaces and materials.

The research carried out at the Materials Centre within the University of Leicester, in collaboration with both Professor Abbott and Professor Hillman, is aimed at novel and interesting electrochemical processes and materials, and draws upon many state of the art techniques for surface and interfacial characterisation.

These include probe microscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (NCESS) neutron reflectivity (ILL, ISIS) electrochemical acoustic impedance spectroscopy and others.

Metal finishing from new Ionic liquids

With Professor Abbott

Project IONMET:

Probe microscope image
Probe microscope (AFM) image of the same stainless steel sample.

The Leicester group is at the centre of a large European network exploring the properties of novel ionic liquids as replacement technologies for the metal finishing industry. These processes include metal plating, e.g. Zn, Ni, Cr and also electrochemical dissolution processes such as polishing. The IONMET consortium consists of 33 partners both industrial manufacturers and academic researchers. Our role at Leicester is to investigate the underlying science, physical chemistry and electrochemical properties of the new processes.

Scanning electron
Scanning electron micrograph of partially polished sample of stainless steel.
The images above and below are taken from a study of electrochemical polishing of stainless steels. They show a sample with both rough (native, unpolished) regions and the smoother electropolished regions. The liquid used for this process is a very benign, non-toxic liquid that now provides an alternative to the traditional mixture of strong toxic inorganic acids. These studies are also carried in conjunction with Scionix a University of Leicester spin-out company.

Probe microscopy of electroactive surfaces and thin film coatings

DI Nanoscope Instrument

We are currently using atomic force microscopy (AFM) to study a variety of electrochemical interfaces e.g thin polymer films and metal electrode interfaces both in dry air and in liquid. The latter provides a severe technological challenge but the Department has a new DI Nanoscope III instrument (pictured below) which represents the state of the art in probe microscopy. This instrument also forms part of the University wide Advanced Microscopy Centre.

Recently we have applied the AFM to the study of thin film electroactive polymer interfaces.  These have many uses in the emerging technology of plastic electronic devices. The image below is taken of a polymer layer deposited on a thin film of gold supported but a quartz substrate. The three layers of the sample can be clearly seen in  the 3D projection (left) and their relative thickness can be quantified using profilometry.

Electronic and electroluminescent conducting polymers

single profile
Single profile slice of the AFM image.

In collaboration with Professor Mortimer at Loughborough University, we are studying the properties of electronically conducting polymer materials that change colour as a function of applied potential.  These electrochromic materials have applications in display devices, smart mirrors and windows in controlled environments.

AFM image
AFM image of polymer sample: Quartz (red), Gold layer (orange), Polymer (yellow-blue)
The diagram below shows a surface that defines the light absorption of a thin film of polymer as a function of time, where time is also related to potential. At the starting time (t = 0) and the end time (t = 600 s) the polymer absorbs strongly in the red (ca 600 nm) so the material appears blue. In the middle of the surface, however, the polymer is only weakly absorbing and so appears almost colourless.

Optical properties

Surface showing optical properties of a thin film of conducting polymer.  Electrochemical absorbance plot: absorbogram.  The slope of this surface (in the absorbance time plane) tracks with potential in a manner that is similar to the current (dQ/dt) indicating that charge injection and colour intensity are related.

Recent Publications

  • "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, A.R. Hillman, Electrochimica Acta, 2019, 295, 978-988.
  • "Shifting Desulfurization Equilibria in Ionic Liquid-Oil Mixtures", J.H. Kareem, A.P. Abbott, K.S. Ryder, Energy & Fuels, 2019, 33, 2.
  • "Influence of additives on the electrodeposition of zinc from a deep eutectic solvent", H.F. Alesary, S. Cihangir, A.D. Ballantyne, R.C. Harris, D.P. Weston, A.P. Abbott, K.S. Ryder, Electrochimica Acta, 2019, 304, 118-130.
  • "Redox fusion of metal particles using deep eutectic solvents", A.P. Abbott, S. Cihangir and K.S. Ryder, Chem. Commun., 2018, 54, 3049.
  • "Electrochemical Deposition of Silver and Copper from a Deep Eutectic Solvent Studied using Time-Resolved Neutron Reflectivity", A.D. Ballantyne, R. Barker, R.M. Dalgliesh, V.C. Ferreira, A.R. Hillman, E.J.R. Palin, R. Sapstead, E.L.Smith, N-J Steinke and K.S. Ryder, J. Electroanal. Chem.2018, 819, 511.
  • "Brønsted Acidity in Deep Eutectic Solvents and Ionic Liquids", A.P. Abbott, S.S.M. Alabdullah, A.Y.M. Al-Murshedi and K.S. Ryder, Faraday Discussions2018, 206, 365.
  • "Lubrication Studies of Some Type III Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs)". E.L. Ahmed, A.P. Abbott and K.S. Ryder, 6th International Conference and Workshops on Basic and Applied Sciences, AIP Conference Proceedings2017, 1888, UNSP 020006-1 (DOI: 10.1063/1.5004283).
  • "Liquid Pharmaceuticals Formulation by Eutectic Formation", A.P. Abbott, E. Ahmed, K. Prasad, I. Qadar and K.S. Ryder, Fluid Phase Equilibria2017, 448, 2.
  • "Bright Metal Coatings from Sustainable Electrolytes: The Effect of Molecular Additives on Electrodeposition of Nickel from a Deep Eutectic Solvent", A.P. Abbott, A. Ballantyne, R.C. Harris, J.A. Juma and K.S. Ryder, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys.2017, 19, 3219.
  • "Electropolishing and Electrolytic Etching of Ni-Based HIP Consolidated Aerospace Forms Using Deep Eutectic Solvents", A.J. Goddard, R.C. Harris, S. Saleem, M. Azam, C. Hood, D. Clark, J. Satchwell and K.S. Ryder, Trans IMF2017, 95, 3, 137.
  • "Electrochemical deposition of Bismuth Telluride Thick layers onto Nickel", C. Lei, K.S. Ryder and I.S. Nandhakumar, Electrochem. Commun., 2016, 66, 1.
  • "Electrodeposition of Copper-Tin Alloys using Deep Eutectic Solvents", A.P. Abbott, A.I. Alhaji, K.S. Ryder, M. Horne and T. Rodopolous, Trans IMF2016, 94, 104. Winner of the Westinghouse Prize, 2017.
  • "Quantitative, in-situ visualisation of metal ion dissolution and transport using 1H magnetic resonance imaging", J.M. Bray, A.J. Davenport, K.S. Ryder and M.M. Britton, Angewandte Chemie2016, 55, 9394.
  • "Removal of casting defects from CMSX-4 and CMSX-10 alloys by electropolishing in a novel electrolyte; Deep Eutectic Solvent", N. Dsouza, M.Appleton, A. Balantyne, A. Cook, R.C. Harris and K.S. Ryder, MATEC Web of Conferences2014, 16, 14675.
  • "Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) and their Applications", E.L. Smith, K.S. Ryder and A.P. Abbott, Chem. Rev., 2014, 114, 11060.
  • "Speciation, physical and electrolytic properties of eutectic mixtures based on CrCl3.6H2O and urea", A.P. Abbott, P.D. Abbott, A.A. Al-Barzinjy, G. Frisch, R.C. Harris, J. Hartley and K.S. Ryder, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, 16, 9047.
  • "Electrolytic Processing of Super-alloy Aerospace Castings using Choline chloride-based Ionic Liquids", A.P. Abbott, N. Dsouza, P. Withey and K.S. Ryder, Trans. IMF2012, 90(1), 9. Winner of the Canning Bi-Centenary Medal, 2013.
  • “Electroplating using Ionic Liquids”, A.P. Abbott, G. Frisch and K. S. Ryder, Annual Review of Materials Research2013, 43, 1.
  • ."Ion transfer mechanisms accompanying p-doping of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) films in deep eutectic solvents" A.R. Hillman, K.S. Ryder, C.J. Zaleski, C. Fullarton and E.L. Smith, Z. Phys. Chem.2012, 26, 1049.
  • “Advanced Surface Protection for Improved Reliability PCB Systems (ASPIS)”, A. Ballantyne, G. Forrest, M.Goosey, A. Griguceviciene, J. Juodkazyte, R. Kellner, A. Kosenko, R. Ramanauskas, K.S. Ryder, A. Selskis, R. Tarozaite and E. Veninga, Circuit World, 2012, 38(1), 21.
  • "Electrolytic Processing of Super-alloy Aerospace Castings using Choline chloride-based Ionic Liquids", A.P. Abbott, N. Dsouza, P. Withey and K.S. Ryder, Trans. IMF2012, 90(1), 9.
  • “Mechanism for Formation of Surface Scale During Directional Solidification of N-Based Superalloys”, H. Dong, N. D'Souza, G. Brewster and K.S. Ryder, Metallurgical & Materials Trans A2012, 43, 1288.
  • "The Electrodeposition of Silver Composites using Deep Eutectic Solvents", A.P. Abbott, K. El Ttaib, G. Frisch, K.S. Ryder and D.Weston, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2012, 14, 2443.

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Contact Details

Department of Chemistry

University of Leicester

University Rd






Tel: [+44](0)116 252 2100

Fax: [+44](0)116 252 3789