School of Chemistry


Researcher using a tubular furnace for preparation of green catalysts, Green Laboratory

Materials science is an interdisciplinary field involving studying the properties of matter and its applications to various areas of science and engineering. With significant attention to nanoscience and nanotechnology in the recent years, materials science has been propelled to the forefront of research advances through discovery of new materials and exploiting their properties.

The new materials are required to advance technology and to improve living standards in a sustainable fashion. They are used to manufacture devices like rechargeable batteries, light emitting diodes and touch screens, and they provide ways to catalyse chemical reactions, to deliver drugs to the body and to capture the gases produced by power stations. The research efforts in materials science involve gaining understanding of how the microscopic structure of materials, at the atomic or molecular level, influences their macroscopic chemical, mechanical, electronic, optical or thermal properties. Ultimately, this understanding determines the way materials can be used and progress in turn leads to new discoveries.

Our Research

This theme brings together researchers who synthesize, characterize and model a wide range of materials. An important strand of our work involves designing and synthesizing new materials, such as biocompatible polymers for drug delivery, molecular materials for optoelectronics and porous nanomaterials for gas capture, as well as new devices, like rechargeable batteries and fuel cells.

We are also interested in how materials from biology and geology can be harnessed to help technological developments, as well as in the chemical processes which underpin manufacturing and synthesis, such as molecular self-assembly and the behaviour of molecules at interfaces.

We use new characterization techniques like dynamic nuclear polarization enhanced solid-state NMR spectroscopy and ambient-pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to study the impact of a material’s structure on its function.

We also perform mathematical and computational modelling of materials at the length scales ranging from the smaller realms of atomistic and electronic calculations to the larger scales of engineering interest.



GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry

Organic solar cell



The influence of surface charge on the coalescence of ice and dust particles in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere.

A recent publication from Professor Elena Besley, in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

Close-up of Innovative Technology

Effect of kaolin pre-treatment method and NaOH levels on the structure and properties of kaolin-derived faujasite zeolites.

A recent publication from Professor Robert Mokaya, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement, in the journal Materials Advances.

Electrochemistry of redox-active molecules confined within narrow carbon nanotubes.

A collaborative publication from Dr Lee Johnson, Dr Darren Walsh, Dr Graham Newton, and Professor Andrei Khlobystov, in the journal Chemical Society Reviews.

Recent Publications

Green enzymatic synthesis and processing of poly (cis-9,10-epoxy-18-hydroxyoctadecanoic acid) in supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2). Sagnelli, D., Vestri, A., Curia, S., Taresco, V., Santagata, G., Johansson, M. K., & Howdle, S. M. Eur. Polym. J. 2021161(5), 110827.

A high-throughput screening of metal–organic framework based membranes for biogas upgrading. Glover, J., & Besley, E. Faraday Discussions. 2021, 231, 235-257.

Catalyst-free hydrophosphinylation of isocyanates and isothiocyanates under low-added solvent conditions. Huke, C. D., Taylor, L. J., Argent, S. P., & Kays, D. L. ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2021, 9(32), 10704-10709.

Sustainability of Battery Technologies: Today and Tomorrow. Newton, G. N., Johnson, L. R., Walsh, D. A., Hwang, B. J., & Han, H. ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2021, 9(19), 6507-6509.

Tailoring Pyro- and Orthophosphate Species to Enhance Stem Cell Adhesion to Phosphate Glasses. De Melo, N., Murrell, L., Islam, M. T., Titman, J. J., Macri-Pellizzeri, L., Ahmed, I., & Sottile, V. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 202122(2), 837.

The chemistry of phosphines in constrained, well-defined microenvironments. Orton, G. R. F., Pilgrim, B. S., & Champness, N. R. Chem. Soc. Rev. 202150(7), 4411-4431.

Organic–Inorganic Hybrid Polyoxotungstates As Configurable Charge Carriers for High Energy Redox Flow Batteries. Peake, C. L., Kibler, A. J., Newton, G. N., & Walsh, D. A. ACS Appl. Energy Mater. 2021, 4(9), 8765–8773.


Postgraduate research

We are interested in the recruitment of talented and enthusiastic students with a passion for creative research.

Chemistry MRes/PhD

How to Apply

Postgraduate Funding

Research Fellowships

Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry



School of Chemistry

University Park Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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