Energy and Materials Chemistry


Professor Geoff Cloke FRS

Uranium methoxide complex forms from CO and H2Uranium methoxide complex forms from CO and H2

Our major research interest in the energy area is on the development of new approaches to the activation and functionalisation of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. In particular we are looking at the reductive assembly of carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide on low oxidation state metal centres (e.g. U(III) and Zr(III)) to build simple organic molecules and rings stoichiometrically, and ultimately catalytically. The hydrogenation of CO2 or CO to methanol (thus effectively closing the carbon cycle) under mild conditions is also a major goal, which we have achieved in part as shown on the right.

For more information visit the Cloke Lab website


Dr John Turner


For more information visit the Turner Lab website


Dr Hazel Cox

Lead-water complex energy landscapeModerating the acidity of Pb(II)-Water complexes through the coordination of non-aqueous ligands

In our research we use quantum chemistry to understand fundamental aspects of the behaviour of metal ions in solution by determining the underlying chemical and physical reasons for the stability, reactivity and spectroscopy of multiply charged metal-ligand complexes in the gas phase. By mimicking the immediate environment of the metal ion with a limited number of ligands we can use it to explain other patterns of behaviour, for example, the inherent (Lewis) acidity of metal ions. Theory contributes significantly both to the development and interpretation of new gas phase experiments and to testing new and standard quantum techniques on solvated metal ions. A further objective is to identify areas where developments in the methodology are required.

For more information visit the Cox Lab website


Dr QIao Chen

Zinc oxide nanorods for water splittingZinc oxide nano rods for water splitting

Our long term research interests are on the nanochemistry and nanotechnology. The application of nanotechnology to biosensor design and fabrication promises to revolutionize diagnostics and therapy at the molecular and cellular level. Our research aims to develop medical, biological and chemical sensors with optoelectronic devices on nanometer length scales. Projects include the synthesis and chemical modification of quantum dots, nano wires and nano tubes and utilizes state of the art nanoscience facilities including scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy.

For more information visit the Chen Lab website


Dr Ian Crossley

A PhosphametalcyclophaneThe first diphospha-metacyclophane

A major focus of our work is the development of synthetic routes to polyconjugated organometallics bearing low-coordinate phosphorus centres. Conjugated organometallics are widely utilised in efforts to develop molecular electronic and opto-electronic materials; we are seeking to use low-coordinate phosphorus as a means of tuning the electronic response by modifying frontier orbital energies. In other projects we are involved the synthesis and study of novel ligands (right) and molecular scaffolds for the activation of small molecules.  

For more information visit the Crossley Lab website


Dr Mark Osborne

University Logo constructed from quantum dotsCdSe Quantum Dots from the Osborne Lab

Photo-active nanoparticles, in particular Quantum Dots, are now being used in devices and materials, from photovoltaic cells and low-energy LED lighting and displays, to self-cleaning glass. While quantum confinement effects in these zero dimensional materials have many advantages over conventional photoactive materials, namely the size tunablility of band-edge absorption and emission, surface to volume ratios at the nanoscale mean interfacial defects can have significant and detrimental effects on quantum yields and photostabilities of these particles.

Research in the Osborne Lab aims to understand the photophysics of semiconductor nanocrystals including fluorescence intermittency, photobrightening and bluing with a view to engineering properties through rational synthesis.

For more information visit the Osborne Lab website