Department of Materials


Dr Ignacio Martin-Fabiani BSc, MSc, PhD, MRSC

Photo of Dr Ignacio Martin-Fabiani

UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Materials Science


Dr Nacho Martin-Fabiani is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Materials Science in the Department of Materials at Loughborough University. He leads an experimental research group working in the fields of colloid, interface, and soft matter science. Nacho combines extensive expertise in those fields together with vast knowledge in the use of advanced microscopies and scattering techniques to retrieve insightful information from such systems. He is currently working on the development of the new generation of functional coatings, including antibacterial and abrasion resistant surfaces. Moreover, he is also interested in other soft materials applications such as inks, adhesives, cosmetics, or crop protection.

Prior to his current appointment, he held a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship at Loughborough University from 2016 to 2020, and was a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey between 2014 and 2016.


  • 2020: UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship
  • 2019: Polymer Lecture Exchange Award by the Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society
  • 2016: Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship at Loughborough University
  • 2016: Santander Mobility Award
  • 2015: Award to the best PhD Thesis using synchrotron light in the year 2013/14 by the Spanish Synchrotron User Association (AUSE)
  • 2013: Best Oral Communication Award at the Young Researchers in Polymer Science conference, Cala Galdana, Spain.

Outline of main research interests:

  • Diffusion and self-assembly in aqueous colloidal blends – bimodal, trimodal, and polydisperse.
  • Design, fabrication, and testing of functional polymer and composite coatings, including antibacterial, self-cleaning, and abrasion resistant.
  • Use of X-ray and neutron scattering techniques, either on lab-based instruments or at large facilites such as synchrotrons and neutron sources, to investigate the structure of colloidal and polymer films as well as their dynamics.
  • Combination of atomic force microscopy with high-end optical microscopies for materials characterisation, including confocal fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy.

Grants and contracts:

  • 2020-2027 UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship (PI, £1.4 million, MR/T02061X/1). A bioinspired platform technology for next-generation functional paints and coatings.
  • 2019-2021 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Grant (PI, £817k, EP/T006412/1). Integrated AFM-CFLIM with fibre-coupled infrared detector for materials research.

Current teaching responsibilities:

  • MPB209 Materials Characterisation
  • Undergraduate project supervision
  • Postgraduate project supervision


Selected publications:

  • Dong, Y.; Argaiz, M.; He, B.; Tomovska, R.; Sun, T.; Martín-Fabiani, I. Zinc Oxide Superstructures in Colloidal Polymer Nanocomposite Films: Enhanced Antibacterial Activity through Slow Drying. ACS Applied Polymer Materials (2020), 2, 626-635.
  • Robbins, A.B.; Drakopoulos, S.X.; Martin-Fabiani, I.; Ronca, S.; Minnich, A.J. Ballistic thermal phonons traversing nanocrystalline domains in oriented polyethylene, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2019), 201905492.
  • Martín-Fabiani, I.; Makepeace, D.K.; Richardson, G.L.; Lesage de la Haye, J.; Alba Venero, Diego.; Rogers, S.E.; D'Agosto, F.; Lansalot, M. ; Keddie, J.L. In Situ Monitoring of Latex Film Formation by Small-Angle Neutron Scattering: Evolving Distributions of Hydrophilic Stabilizers in Drying Colloidal Films. Langmuir (2019), 35, 3822−3831
  • Martín-Fabiani, I.; Lesage de la Haye, J.; Schulz, M.; Liu, Y.; Lee, M.; Duffy, B.; D'Agosto, F.; Lansalot, M.; Keddie, J.L. Enhanced Water Barrier Properties of Surfactant-Free Polymer Films Obtained by MacroRAFT-Mediated Emulsion Polymerization. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2018), 10, 11221-11232
  • Fortini, A.; Martín-Fabiani, I; Lesage de la Haye, J.; Dugas, P.Y.; Lansalot, M.; D’Agosto, F.; Bourgeat-Lami, E.; Keddie, J.L.; Sear, R.P. Dynamic Stratification in Drying Films of Colloidal Mixtures. Physical Review Letters (2016), 116, 118301. 

View publications in our central  publications database

External collaborators:

  • University of Surrey
  • Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
  • Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1
  • European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF)
  • Sherwin-Williams
  • University of the Basque Country
  • AkzoNobel
  • Crown Paints
  • Pant Research Association
  • Indestructible Paint

External roles and appointments:

  • Committee Member of the Joint Colloids Group (RSC/SCI)
  • Member of the Materials Horizons Community Board