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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 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.

Our expertise includes:

· Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) for imaging conducting surface structures at atomic resolution

· 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.

We also conduct research in photocatalysis and from 2012-2016, I coordinated the FP7 PCATDES consortium which included researchers from the UK, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. The project developed prototype photocatalytic reactors for water purification.

Since 2017 I have been Director of the EPSRC National Research Facility in Photoelectron Spectroscopy which offers state of the art XPS, UPS and ISS for the community.

We are part of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute

For more information, click on the 'Research' tab above.


Personal Web Site:

See Also: Cardiff Catalysis Institute and HarwellXPS

1989 PhD, University College Cardiff (Supervisor: M. W. Roberts)

1989 Lecturer in Chemistry, Cardiff

2000 Senior Lecturer

2014 Personal Chair in Physical Chemistry

2012-2016 Coordinator of the FP7 funded PCATDES consortium

2017-present Director, EPSRC National Research Facility in Photoelectron Spectroscopy (HarwellXPS)


















Undergraduate & Postgraduate Taught Courses

CH3101 Foundations of Physical Chemistry

CH3205 Thermodynamics and Kinetics

CH3206 Key Skills for Chemists

CH2306 Application of Research Methods

CH4409 Applications of Advanced Spectroscopic Methods

CHT330 Applications of Advanced Spectroscopic Methods

Postgraduate Research Courses

Inkscape for scientific illustration

Zotero for reference management

Details of modules can be found in course finder.

Our primary interest is understanding how a surface can modifies or direct a chemical reaction with particular interest in heterogeneous catalysis where the surface has long been recognised critical in determining activity, selectivity and lifetime. However, 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 heart of our research is our expertise in photoelectron spectroscopy and I am Director of the EPSRC National Research Facility in Photoelectron Spectroscopy (HarwellXPS)

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)


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