- Join a thriving research environment with 160 postgraduate students and 60 postdoctoral researchers from all corners of the globe
- 95% of the School of Chemistry's research activity was judged to be 'internationally excellent' or 'world-leading' (Research Excellence Framework, 2014)
- Access state-of-the-art facilities including the GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory
The School of Chemistry covers four major research themes:
- biological chemistry
- materials chemistry
- molecular bonding and spectroscopy
- synthesis and catalysis
Research within these themes includes the following specific topics:
Inorganic and Materials Chemistry
Research in inorganic chemistry at the University of Nottingham is very wide-ranging and interdisciplinary with many national, European and international collaborations.
Research interests encompass a diverse range of interests which interface with physics, biology, pharmacy, materials and computational science and chemical engineering.
The common feature of inorganic chemistry at Nottingham is the use, study and understanding of novel molecular interactions or unusual synthetic or engineering procedures to yield new compounds, properties, catalysis and function.
Coordination, organometallic and supramolecular Chemistry
- The synthesis of transition metal and f-element complexes and complexes that challenge the traditional views of bonding and reactivity
- Small molecule activation and homogeneous catalysis by organometallic complexes
- Single isomer chiral metal complex chemistry
- Surface, solution and solid-state supramolecular self-assembly, including crystal engineering
- Photochemistry and time-resolved spectroscopy to probe both excited states and reaction mechanisms
Biological Inorganic Chemistry
- The chemistry of the catalysis accomplished by metal centres in enzymes, especially in oxygen atom transfer at Mo or W and activity that requires a metal and a phenoxyl radical
- Coordination complexes as mimics for NiFe hydrogenase and catalytic hydrogen/proton interconversion for fuel cells
- Complementary spectroscopic and theoretical techniques to probe the electronic structure of transition metal complexes and metalloenzyme active sites
- Metal intercalators as IR probes of DNA damage, sensors of biological molecules and models of water splitting by photosystem II.
Nanomaterials, Solid State and Polymer Chemistry
- The synthesis, processing and characterisation of carbon nanotubes and fullerenes
- Nanostructure formation via self-assembly of molecular hosts: molecular entrapment and organisation on surfaces
- Nanomaterials and light framework polymers for gas (hydrogen, methane, VOC) storage, absorption and extraction
- Sudies of internal surfaces in mesostructural materials
- Polymer synthesis and processing using supercritical carbon dioxide: from drug delivery devices, tissue engineering scaffolds, unique polymer blends and photonic materials
- The synthesis of new magnetic oxides and ionic conducting materials with tailored structures.
Green and Analytical Chemistry and Clean Technology
- Development of cleaner reaction chemistry in supercritical water
- Continuous reactions in supercritical CO2 from lab-scale to commercial plant
- UHV spectroscopic techniques for the characterisation and in-situ monitoring of catalytic processes in ionic liquids
- Solution XPS to measure controlled changes in physical properties for sensor and imaging application
- Single crystal X-ray diffraction and structural studies at low temperature, high pressure
- Experimental charge density studies
Organic and Biological Chemistry
Organic and biological research at Nottingham is very broadly based, and spans the whole spectrum of activity from medicinal chemistry, target organic synthesis, catalysis and development of new synthetic methodology through to mechanistic enzymology, chemical genetics, chemical biology, protein biochemistry, protein engineering and structural biology.
Organic chemistry is especially strong in the areas of target synthesis, natural product chemistry, and asymmetric synthesis. Complex natural products and their analogues continue to present a fascinating challenge to the synthetic chemist.
Research groups at Nottingham are probing new strategies and developing new methodologies for the synthesis of such molecules, with emphasis on compounds with significant biological activity.
In particular, we are interested in novel compounds with antibacterial, anticancer and antimalarial properties. In biological chemistry, we address problems at the interface of chemistry and biology, to define the molecular interactions that determine the specificity and control of biological processes.
The department is well supported through UK Research Council and EU funding, and has strong links to the pharmaceutical industry. Key themes include:
Synthesis and Natural Products
- The design and application of novel synthetic methodologies for the synthesis of naturally occurring target molecules, including antibiotics, alkaloids, terpenes and marine natural products.
Sustainable Synthesis and Catalysis
- The design of new reagents and catalysts to effect diastereoselective and enantioselective reactions, involving alkylations, C-H oxidation, reduction, and rearrangement processes, with an emphasis on efficiency and sustainability: including biocatalysis and biotechnology.
- Some of this research is supported in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Chemistry.
Biological and Medicinal Chemistry, and Chemical Biology
- Studies of the fundamental properties of biomolecules, for example the folding of proteins and the binding of antibiotics to DNA
- Synthesis of enzyme inhibitors, antisense DNA, and hapten design for generation of catalytic antibodies.
- Novel compounds with antibiotic, anticancer and antimalarial properties.
Physics and Theoretical Chemistry
This field of chemistry provides a quantitative framework for understanding and appreciating the static, dynamical, and chemical properties of gases, liquids and solids. These can be as simple as a collection of rare gas atoms or as complex as DNA, but in every case knowledge of their physical state and how it might respond to change, such as the absorption of a photon, can only be gained using advanced experimental or computational methods.
Physical and theoretical chemistry research at Nottingham covers a broad range of subdisciplines, including surface science, computational and quantum chemistry, laser spectroscopy, solid-state NMR, and cluster science.
Within each of these areas, Nottingham has made major contributions in the advancement of physical and theoretical chemistry both in terms of our knowledge of basic processes and in the development of advanced instrumentation and computational techniques.
Spectroscopy and Dynamics
Including studies of:
- fragmentation in isolated molecules using tunable laser and synchrotron light sources
- time-resolved studies of intramolecular energy transfer
- photoelectron studies of chiral molecules
- The application of magnetic resonance spectroscopic and imaging techniques to the characterisation of structure and dynamics in polymers, nanocomposite materials and biomolecules.
- UHV surface science, including surface structure using X-ray standing wave analysis, surface kinetics and dynamics.
Clusters and van der Waals complexes
- Including chemical and spectroscopic studies of the gas phase solvation of metal dications, and the spectroscopy of weakly-bound complexes.
Theoretical and Computational Chemistry
The development of new methods in quantum chemistry, applications include benzene in superfluid helium droplets, buckminsterene fullerene adsorbed on silicon surfaces, and the spectroscopy of proteins.
The application of computational chemistry to biologically important molecules.
This research is undertaken with access to state-of-the-art experimental and computational facilities.
Current equipment includes a wide range of vacuum systems for surface, synchrotron, photoionisation, and cluster beam experiments, tuneable UV, visible and infrared lasers, ion traps, solid-state NMR spectrometers, mass spectrometers, and advanced computational facilities including access to the University's 1000-processor cluster.
The usual minimum requirement for PhD/MPhil entry is an upper-second-class or first class honours degree (or International equivalent) in an MSci or MChem degree in chemistry.
The usual minimum requirement for MRes entry is a lower 2nd class honours degree (or International equivalent) in chemistry.
International research students need to achieve an IELTS score of 6.0 (with no less than 5.5 in each element).
The University runs a number of preparatory English programmes each summer and, for extra support during your degree, you can attend its free language classes. For more information, visit our Centre for English Language Education (CELE).
How to apply
Important: when applying for a postgraduate research degree in chemistry it is not necessary to provide a research proposal.
Please indicate the area of chemistry you are interested in (see above), and ideally identify a potential academic supervisor(s) working in that field.