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Director of Research in the Department of Chemistry+44 (0) 191 33 42159


  • 2016 Professor, Durham University
  • 2013 Reader, Durham University 
  • 2012 Senior Lecturer, Durham University 
  • 2006 Lecturer, Durham University
  • 2003 Post-doctoral fellow, Univesity of California at Berkeley
  • 2003 PhD. King's College London
  • 1999 MSci. Chemistry, King's College London 

Awards and fellowships

  • Senior Scientist, J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry, Pargue (2024-29) link
  • RSC Bourke-Liversidge Prize (2023) link
  • RSC Corday Morgan Prize (2021) link
  • JILA Visiting Fellow (2019) link
  • Co-editor, International Review in Physical Chemistry (2018 – present) link
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) (2016)
  • European Research Council Starting Grant (2012-2017)
  • EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow (2006-2011)

The goal of our research group is to gain new insight and understanding of chemical and physical change of molecules upon the interaction with photons and electrons. These changes underpin many processes is science and technology. For photon-driven chemistry, our interest ranges from photoactive proteins and DNA to atmospheric chemistry. For electron-driven chemistry, our interest ranges from electron transport chains in nature to electron capture within dense molecular cloud in the interstellar medium. We have developed novel methods that we exploit to access new information about the dynamics that dictate photon- or electron-driven chemistry, with a view to fully understand basic mechanistic details. Some highlights of our work include: the observation of electrons at the water/air interface (1), the first real-time measurement an electron-molecule reaction (2), the simultaneous probing of electronic and nuclear dynamics along a reaction coordinate (3); new insight into the role of non-valence states in anions (4); and the role of solvation in driving electron capture (5). For more details and other advances, visit our website.

  1. C. J. C. Jordan, M. P. Coons, J. M. Herbert and J. R. R. Verlet "Spectroscopy and dynamics of the hydrated electron at the water/air interface" Nature Comm. 15, 182 (2024); D. M. Sagar, C. D. Bain, and J. R. R. Verlet "Hydrated electrons at the water/air interface" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132, 6917 (2010); P. J. Nowakowski, D. A. Woods, and J. R. R. Verlet "Charge Transfer to Solvent Dynamics at the Ambient Water/air Interface" J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 7, 4049 (2016); 

  2. D. A. Horke, Q. Li, L. Blancafort, and J. R. R. Verlet "Ultrafast above-threshold dynamics of the radical anion of a prototypical quinone electron-acceptor" Nature Chem. 5, 711 (2013); J. N. Bull, C. W. West, and J. R. R. Verlet "On the formation of anions: Frequency-, angle-, and time-resolved photoelectron imaging of the menadione radical anion" Chem. Sci. 6, 1578 (2015)

  3. C. J. Clarke , J. A. Gibbard , L. Hutton , J. R. R. Verlet, and B. F. E. Curchod "Photochemistry of the pyruvate anion produces CO2, CO, CH3-, CH3, and a low energy electron" Nature Comm. 13​, 937 (2022); C. S. Anstöter, B. F. E. Curchod, and J. R. R. Verlet "Geometric and electronic structure probed along the isomerisation coordinate of a photoactive yellow protein chromophore"Nature Comm. 11​, 2827 (2020)

  4. J. P. Rogers, C. S. Anstöter, and J. R. R. Verlet "Ultrafast dynamics of low-energy electron attachment via a non-valence correlation-bound state​" Nature Chem. 10, 341 (2018); J. N. Bull, C. S. Anstöter, and J. R. R. Verlet "Ultrafast valence to non-valence excited state dynamics in a common anionic chromophore" Nature Comm. 10​, 5820 (2019); J. N. Bull and J. R. R. Verlet "Observation and ultrafast dynamics of a nonvalence correlation-bound state of an anion" Sci. Adv. 3​, e1603106 (2017); C. S. Anstöter, G. Mensa-Bonsu, P. Nag, M. Ranković, R. Kumar T. P., A. N. Boichenko, A. V. Bochenkova, J. Fedor, and J. R. R. Verlet "Mode-specific vibrational autodetachment following excitation of electronic resonances by electrons and photons" Phys. Rev. Lett. 124, 203401 (2020)

  5. G. A. Cooper, C. J. Clarke and J. R. R. Verlet "Low-energy Shape Resonances of a Nucleobase in Water" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 145​, 1319 (2023); A. Lietard, G. Mensa-Bonsu, and J. R. R. Verlet "The effect of solvation on electron capture revealed using anion 2D photoelectron spectroscopy" Nature Chem. (2021)

Research interests

  • Laser Spectroscopy
  • Cluster Dynamics
  • Complex Anions


Journal Article

Supervision students