News & Events

Welcome to Dr Ravi Kumar Venkatraman

We are delighted to be joined by new Newton International Fellow Dr Ravi Kumar Venkatraman.  Ravi completed his PhD at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore under the supervision of Prof Siva Umapathy.  In Bristol, he will use femtosecond laser spectroscopy methods to study ultrafast dynamical processes in solution.

Cover art for Faraday Discussions 194

Artwork by Gareth Roberts appears on the front cover of the recently published volume for Faraday Discussions 194 on Ultrafast Imaging of Photochemical Dynamics (Dec 2016).  The volume also features a paper by Katharina Röttger, Hugo Marroux, Gareth Roberts, other members of the Bristol group and collaborators at the University of Kiel on ultrafast photo-induced dynamics in thymine and cytosine nucleobases.

Poster Prize for Philip Coulter at iCOMET 2017

Congratulations to Philip Coulter who won best poster prize at the iCOMET 2017 conference in Innsbruck, Austria (15-20 Jan 2017).  Philip’s poster displayed his work on ultrafast photodissociation of BrCN and N2O4 dissolved in perfluorocarbon solvents, and observation of the subsequent cooling of translationally, rotationally and vibrationally hot photofragment molecules by transient absorption spectroscopy.

Chris and Anki’s wedding

Congratulations to Chris and Anki who were married in a traditional ceremony in Gujarat, India on 31 Dec 2016.  Several current and recent members of the Bristol group joined Chris and Anki in Surendranagar for the festivities and accompanied them on a post-wedding tour of Jaipur, Agra and Delhi.  The picture shows Marta Duchi, Robert Booth, Arsene Chemin, Chris and Anki Hansen, Andrew Orr-Ewing, Mike Ashfold and Matt Bain at the wedding.

Rebecca Ingle wins yet another poster prize

Congratulations to Rebecca Ingle (pictured with Nobel laureate Dudley Herschbach) who won a best poster prize at Stereodynamics 2016. This meeting was hosted in Taipei and celebrated the 30th anniversary of Professors D. R. Herschbach, Y. T. Lee and J. C. Polanyi receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1986.

Victoria Taylor on BBC Radio Bristol

Victoria was interviewed by BBC Radio Bristol for the Laura Rawlings show as part of their ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ segment curated by the Bristol Centre for Functional Nanomaterials. Victoria gave an overview of her PhD research project with Dr Tom Oliver which focusses on investigating the molecular mechanisms of photosynthesis. The interview can be found on BBC iPlayer here and starts at 26:20.

Ashley Beckstead Visiting from Montana State University

Ashley Beckstead from Montana State University and the laboratory of Professor Bern Kohler, is visiting our group for two weeks to investigate the non-adiabatic relaxation dynamics of violacein molecules in various solutions.

Welcome to new PhD students Marta, Victoria and Fred

We are delighted to welcome Marta Duchi, Victoria Taylor and Fred Cascarini, three new PhD students who have started in the group this month.  More details about their research interests can be found in the links from our Who Are We page.

New EPSRC grant for Tom Oliver

Congratulations to Tom Oliver whose EPSRC First Grant entitled “Exploring Delocalised Energy Transport in Bacterial Reaction Centres” has been approved for funding. The research project will investigate the energy and charge-transfer pathways between constituent pigments in reaction centres (RCs) of Rhodobacter sphaeroides. RCs play a pivotal role in photosynthesis, accepting energy from peripheral light harvesting antenna and using it to induce charge-separation into electrons (and holes) with high quantum efficiency. The electrons are used to drive essential downstream processes such as carbon fixation and carbohydrate synthesis. This work will be carried out in collaboration with Dr Mike Jones from Biochemistry. More details at:

Journal of Chemical Physics Poster Prize

Congratulations to Rebecca Ingle who won a poster prize at the Future of Chemical Physics conference held at the University of Oxford.  This AIP Publishing Horizons conference was sponsored by the Journal of Chemical Physics with the objective of facilitating conversations between innovative researchers at the forefront of chemical physics and shaping the future of the field.  Rebecca’s winning poster was entitled “Structure or Dynamics: What Drives Photoproduct Branching at Conical Intersections?” and she received her award from Prof Marsha Lester, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Chemical Physics.

BFWG Scholarship for Rebecca Ingle

Congratulations to Rebecca who has been awarded the Margaret K. B. Day Scholarship by the British Federation of Women Graduates.  This award is for a woman in the third year (or part-time equivalent) of doctoral studies and recognizes Rebecca’s academic excellence.

Nature Chemistry paper published

Michael Grubb and Philip Coulter are the lead authors on a new paper in Nature Chemistry which describes the ultrafast photodissociation of BrCN in perfluorocarbon solvents.  The CN radical is highly translationally and rotationally excited when the Br–CN bond breaks, and transient absorption spectroscopy measurements combined with molecular dynamics simulations show how the CN cools through interactions with the solvent molecules.  The paper can be found at the Nature Chemistry website.

New ultrafast microscopy capability

Tom Oliver, Marta Duchi and Henkjan Gersen (Bristol Physics) have obtained an ultrafast microscopy apparatus comprising a femtosecond laser (Coherent Chameleon), optical parametric oscillator (OPO, Coherent), Nikon inverted microscope and other components.  The instrument will be housed in a new ultrafast spectroscopy lab currently being refurbished in the School of Chemistry.

Tom Oliver secures new ultrafast laser system

Congratulations to Tom Oliver who has successfully secured a femtosecond laser made available by the closure of the STFC Laser Loan Pool.  A laboratory is being refurbished to house this new laser system, and Tom will use it for 2D electronic spectroscopy and 2D electronic-vibrational spectroscopy of a variety of ultrafast processes in biomolecules and materials.  The capabilities will complement existing facilities in the group for ultrafast transient IR and UV/visible spectroscopy.

Liu Hao, bon voyage!

Double congratulations to Liu Hao, who successfully defended his PhD thesis last month and whose

paper demonstrating a novel, straightforward and potentially widely applicable route to determining

Stark parameters for atomic transitions by cross-calibration in a multi-element laser-induced plasma

has just appeared in Scientific Reports. [Sci. Rep. 6, 25609 (2016), doi: 10.1038/srep25609].

Welcome to Arsène Chemin

The group welcomes Arsène Chemin who has joined us from the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon for a summer internship.  Arsène will be studying ultrafast chemical dynamics using transient absorption spectroscopy.

Welcome to three new group members

The group welcomes three new members who have recently arrived in Bristol.  Chris Hansen joins us from the University of Wollongong where he studied for his PhD with Adam Trevitt.  Mitchell Quinn has come from the University of New South Wales where he carried out doctoral research with Scott Kable.  Marta Duchi is an undergraduate student from the University of Perugia who joins us for 6 months as an ERASMUS visiting student.

PhD studentship vacancies

PhD studentship opportunities are available on two projects in the group:  (1)  Imaging Chemical Dynamics, and (2)  Atmospheric Chemistry of Radical and Biradical Intermediates.  Please see below for further details, and address enquiries to Prof Andrew Orr-Ewing ( or Prof Mike Ashfold (


(1) Imaging Chemical Dynamics:  2 PhD studentships are available to work with Prof Andrew Orr-Ewing and Prof Mike Ashfold as part of the EPSRC-funded Programme Grant “Chemical Applications of Velocity and Spatial Imaging”.   The two positions are based in Bristol, and will make use of our extensive laser and velocity map imaging instrumentation, but will also involve collaborations with colleagues at the University of Oxford.  Further details about the Programme Grant activities are available at the website


(2) Atmospheric Chemistry of Radical and Biradical Intermediates:  applications are invited for a NERC GW4+ DTP studentship with Prof Andrew Orr-Ewing to study the reactions of Criegee intermediates and other important atmospheric radicals. Further details of the project are available here.


Rebecca Ingle chairs international Winterschool in computational chemistry

Rebecca Ingle has chaired several sessions of a 2016 winterschool inspired by the Virtual Conference for Computational Chemistry.  The online winterschool, with invited lectures by international leaders, gives people unable to travel the opportunity to hear talks about cutting-edge research advances. It is based on the principle that science should be open to everyone, regardless of geography and situation. The interactive format allows the audience to ask questions and receive responses from the speakers.  The winterschool covers a broad range of topics in theoretical and computational chemistry, and speakers are encouraged to educate the participants in use of new methods and codes as well as present novel research.  The first online conference in 2015 had 250 participants from 50 countries, and the 2016 version attracted 650 registrations.

Two most-read articles for 2015 in the Journal of Chemical Physics

Articles authored by Tom Oliver and by Mike Ashfold featured in the 2015 most-read list of the Journal of Chemical Physics, a leading international journal published by the American Institute of Physics.  Tom’s article is entitled “Measuring correlated electronic and vibrational spectral dynamics using line shapes in two-dimensional electronic-vibrational spectroscopy” (J. Chem. Phys. 142, 174202 (2015)).  Mike’s article is “Excited state non-adiabatic dynamics of pyrrole: a time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy and quantum dynamics study” (J. Chem. Phys. 142, 074302 (2015)).