The Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory (PTCL) is world renowned for its pioneering work in infrared (IR), NMR and photoelectron spectroscopy, the kinetics of gas phase reactions, photochemistry and photobiology, the chemistry of solutions and electrochemical kinetics. The more theoretical aspects of its research continue a distinguished tradition going back to the earliest developments in valence theory.
Current research now spans a huge range of topics, many of which are interrelated. Specific areas of interest include the following:
Structures and Dynamics at interfaces: the behaviour of simple and polymeric molecules at surfaces, interfaces and in thin films; the surfaces of solids studied by, e.g., scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM); organic films at interfaces; diamond films; adsorption of molecules at charged interfaces; X-ray diffraction by surfaces; properties of soft matter and the structure of ionomeric membranes.
Theoretical Chemistry: molecular quantum mechanics; theory of excited molecules and of molecular collisions; computer modelling of solids and liquids; and the magnetic and electrical properties of materials.
Spectroscopy & Molecular Structure: spectroscopy of transient species and weakly bound complexes in molecular beams; laser spectroscopy of isolated molecular clusters; and photophysics of molecules close to, and beyond, the ionisation threshold.
Photochemistry & Reaction Dynamics: the dynamics of elementary reactions; the reactions of highly vibrationally excited molecules; the study of doubly charged molecular ions; atmospheric chemistry (including the investigation of pollutants); and chemistry in electrical plasmas.
Reactions at interfaces and in solution: electrochemistry; reactions at solid–liquid interfaces, including electrodes; radicals and radical pairs in solution.
Biophysical Chemistry: computer aided design of molecules (notably potential new drugs); NMR and electron spin resonance (ESR) studies of protein folding; also NMR spectroscopy and imaging.