We are housed in facilities that were comprehensively refurbished to our own design specifications. Our goal is that this facility be a UK centre of excellence for mechanistic investigation in organic chemistry and catalysis, attracting academic and industrial collaboration and investment from across Europe and the USA. 




Lab design

Eight smaller laboratories, some essentially unchanged since the Joseph Black building was first occupied in 1920, were converted (late 2014) into a single new facility, ergonomically planned for efficient and safe operation, with numerous features that reduce its environmental impact. The new suite comprises office space, a series of ventilated modules for solvent and chemical storage, rotorary-evaporation and glassware cleaning, plus standard fume-hood space, a solvent purification rig and glove-box, and two instrument rooms.




We increasingly strive to directly interface high performance spectrometers with synthetic chemistry activity by initiating reactions inside instruments, and by our analysis of relatively rapid processes by stop-flow techniques.

  • UV (ocean optics and TgK SF-20)
  • IR (Alpha, Vertex 80, 3.5 mm ATR probe, Specac VT-ATR plate, TgK SF).
  • NMR (Ascend 400), broadband direct-detect cryo-probe, Sample-Express, flow cell, simultaneous {1H, 2H}X-nuclei, non-cryo broadband VT probe.
  • Reaction calorimetery (Omnical)
  • Rapid Quench Flow and Stopped Flow methods for UV, IR and NMR.



This new facility, both in terms of its evolving instrumentation and the expertise of the team that populate it, is unique in the UK in its broad-spectrum ability to analyse the mechanism of organic reactions that are of importance as synthetic processes.