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Dr Philip Davies  -  PhD BSc (Double Hons), CChem

Research Interests

Our primary interest is understanding how a surface can modifies or direct a chemical reaction. The primary driver for our work has been heterogeneous catalysis where the surface has long been recognised critical in determining activity, selectivity and lifetime, but surface chemistry is an integral part of almost every heterogeneous system and thus our work is also relevant to aspects of adhesion, corrosion and biological activity. The core of our work has been concerned with understanding the reactions of molecules at surfaces characterised both chemically and structurally at the atomic level: the figure below for example, shows an atomically resolved image of a copper surface after reaction with phenyl iodide. The accompanying chart maps the changes in chemical composition as more of the reactant is adsorbed and reveals how high surface concentrations drive the formation and desorption of a biphenyl molecule leaving the surface covered in iodine. Other aspects of our work include studying the mechanism of photocatalysis, and in particular water splitting; characterising the decomposition pathways for archaeological iron (collaboration with the School of Conservation); investigating novel polymeric based sensors (collaboration with the School of Pharmacy) and exploring the anti-bacterial properties of nano-particulate silver (collaboration with the School of Pharmacy)