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Professor Philip Davies

Professor Philip Davies

Professor of Physical Chemistry and Director of International

School of Chemistry

+44 (0)29 2087 4072
+44 (0)29 2087 4030
Media commentator

We are interested in the fundamental surface processes that underlie phenomena such as catalysis, corrosion and adhesion. These are influenced by many different factors and our work must therefore encompass aspects such as the elemental composition, chemistry and and topography of a surface. The broad applicability of our research is evidenced by the wide variety of collaborations in which we are involved including groups in Pharmacy, Engineering, Bioscience, Archaeology and Earth sciences. The facilities available to us include scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) for imaging the surface structure of a metal at the atomically resolved level, atomic force microscopy (AFM) for imaging non-conductors from the nanometre to the micrometer level, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) which provides chemical information on the surface and infrared microscopy which enables us to map vibrational information on surfaces with a five micrometer resolution.

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See Also: Cardiff Catalysis Institute

PhD, University College Cardiff (1989, M. W. Roberts). Appointed Lecturer in Chemistry, Cardiff, in 1989. Appointed Senior Lecturer 2000

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CH3101 Foundations of Physical Chemistry

CH3205 Thermodynamics and Kinetics

CH3206 Key Skills for Chemists

CH2306 Application of Research Methods

CH3409 Chemistry at Phase Boundaries

CHT219 Preparation and evaluation of heterogeneous catalysts

CHT230 Chemistry at phase boundaries

CHT401 Advanced heterogeneous catalysis

Details of each module is available in course finder

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)