He pioneered research in Australia on biomolecular lipid membranes. He developed a method for manipulating cells using radio frequency electric fields and published the first direct demonstration of electrical breakdown (electroporation) in cell membranes that is now commonly used for gene insertion and in animal cloning.
He also pioneered the method of impedance spectroscopy for research on self-assembled molecular films, polymer films, bio-membranes and synthetic separation membranes and developed a new technology that allows unprecedented precision in measuring the phase and magnitude of impedance. This allows precise determination of the dielectric substructure of materials and thin films at the sub-nanometre level. This area of research remains one of his main interests.
He founded the Centre for Membrane Science and Technology at the University of New South Wales and this Centre became an ARC Centre of Excellence in 1989 and was designated as a UNESCO Centre in 1996. He was a Co-Director of this Centre until 2004 when he moved to the University of Sydney to take up an appointment in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
He has several active research programs in membrane technology, including programs on developing new piezo-electric membranes and an on-line membrane surveillance. He has published widely on membrane science and technology. He holds several membrane technology, bio-engineering and biotechnology patents. He is involved in major collaborative projects with the Singapore Membrane Technology Centre.
Hans is also the Director of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Foundation at the University of Sydney. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Science and Engineering and a former President of the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (2002 -2004). He was awarded the UNESCO medal for outstanding contributions to science in 1998 and the inaugural Sir Rutherford Robertson Medal for Biophysics in 2002.
See also Papers & Presentations.