Photochemistry and Spectroscopy

The absorption of light to induce electronic transitions is one of the most fundamental and important processes in chemistry: photosynthesis exploits the photochemical conversion of light into chemical energy; colour perception derives the absorption and scattering of light of different wavelengths whilst all forms of luminescence derive from the relaxation of electronically excited states. Photochemistry and electronic spectroscopy are important themes that link groups across the Department of Chemistry and provide inspiration for collaborations with the Department of Biology and Department of Physics. Our interests span the fundamentals of electronic spectroscopy and excited states to the photochemistry of metal complexes, dyads for photo-induced electron transfer, organic molecules, solid-state metal oxides, and precursors to polysaccharides. A great strength of the group lies in in-situ and time-resolved spectroscopies to study mechanisms and fundamental principles. Theory provides information about dynamics, the nature of reaction intermediates, and of electronically excited states. Our research has applications in solar fuels, photocatalysis, sunscreens, dyes, medicinal chemistry, and catalysis.

Members of this research theme founded the network Light matters: interactions, reactions, and applications (LIRA) that links the Universities of York, Sheffield and Leeds.


  • Lucy Carpenter - Atmospheric chemistry
  • Martin Cockett - High-resolution laser spectroscopy with electrons and ions 
  • Caroline Dessent - Physical chemistry of gas-phase biological ions; Gas-phase inorganic chemistry; Mass spectrometry
  • Terry Dillon - Kinetics and photochemistry
  • Richard Douthwaite - Molecular and materials chemistry, photocatalysis
  • Simon Duckett - Organometallic chemistry and reaction mechanisms
  • Anne Duhme-Klair - Metal ions in biology and medicine
  • Pete Edwards - Atmospheric chemistry
  • Ian Fairlamb - Transition metals in synthesis, catalysis and chemical biology: reactivity, mechanism and applications
  • Meghan Halse - Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy
  • Neil Hunt - Physical chemistry
  • Peter Karadakov - Modern valence-bond theory and chemical reactivity; Ab initio calculation of NMR properties
  • Jason Lynam - Transition metal and main group chemistry
  • John Moore - Spectroscopy and photochemistry in solution
  • Robin Perutz - Organometallic Photochemistry, Small Molecule Activation, Catalysis and Solar Fuels
  • Isabel Saez - Liquid crystals and functional materials
  • William Unsworth - Synthetic chemistry, macrocycles, spirocycles, natural products
  • Derek Wann - Electron Diffraction