Organisational unit: Research Grouping
Lasers are versatile tools that we apply to study a range of processes in Chemistry on timescales from femtosecond upwards. We use laser spectroscopy to observe molecular dynamics in both the gas and liquid phases, exploring the role of solvents in (photo)chemical reactions, and investigate pathways and rates of reactions of importance in the Earth’s atmosphere. We develop and apply sensitive absorption spectroscopy techniques for analysis of gas samples ranging from ambient air to plasmas used for deposition of technologically important materials. Much of this work benefits from world-leading spectral simulation software from the Bristol group. We also use innovative laser methods to trap, manipulate and probe single aerosol particles to examine their optical, physical and chemical properties and to observe evaporation and coalescence dynamics.
Experimental advances in solution state NMR spectroscopy are providing accurate 3D structural determination of complex dynamic molecules, and exploring chemistry in confined media such as liquid crystals. Our high-field NMR facility addresses important challenges in biological chemistry including using protein structure to define rules for assembly of natural products and antibiotics, and to guide the development of therapeutic super-antagonists that target proteins in pathways associated with several cancers. This research is underpinned by world-class NMR instrumentation designed to maximise sensitivity across a broad range of chemically relevant spin-active nuclei.