Research in Physical Chemistry at Cardiff is vibrant and dynamic, focusing on a wide range of cutting edge topics that are both of fundamental academic importance and of relevance and significance to the modern world. Physical Chemistry consists of 14 academic staff, and over 80 research staff . The research activities within Physical Chemistry are supported by extensive state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. Major research themes are:
Heterogeneous Catalysis and Surface Science: Cardiff is particularly well recognised for heterogeneous catalysis research together with a significant presence in nanoscience and in surface electrochemistry. The group is internationally recognised for its leading work in these areas. The research covers the synthesis and properties of high surface area, powdered materials, which is of direct industrial relevance, to more fundamental work on surface structure, and the fabrication and imaging of ultra-nanoparticles. Highlights of recent work include atomic resolution imaging of the surface structure of nanoparticles; the synthesis of new types of catalysts for environmental protection and pollutant abatement; the use of sunlight for clean fuel (hydrogen) production; in situ studies of catalysts: and novel clean routes to oxygenated organic molecules by selective oxidation.
Theoretical prediction and characterisation of gold-based nanocatalysts, their interaction with solid supports, and their suitability for catalysis of a wide range of reactions of importance in industry and the environment.
See also Cardiff Catalysis Institute
Solid-State and Materials Chemistry: Research in solid-state and materials chemistry covers a range of projects aimed at understanding fundamental properties of materials and developing applications of materials. Current research is focused on: (i) understanding structural and dynamic properties of molecular solids, (ii) gaining new insights on fundamentals of crystallization processes, and (iii) investigating structure, dynamics and applications of different forms of "soft matter", including colloidal systems, dispersed polymeric aggregates, polymer-drug conjugates and polymer-surfactant systems.
Spectroscopy and Technique Development: Research in the development and application of new aspects of experimental techniques for elucidating properties of materials is currently focused on: (i) advances in EPR and ENDOR spectroscopies, including the development of angular selective ENDOR and the application of ENDOR to characterize catalytic systems and solid surfaces, and (ii) the development and application of new techniques for structure determination from powder X-ray diffraction data.
Development of a highly accurate and efficient quasi-variational coupled cluster method for description of highly correlated systems, and its application to aspects of bond breaking and forming, non-linear optical materials and other chemical problems.