Charlotte Williams Research

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

My research interests include the study of metal complexes for use as homogeneous catalysts to make polymers, fuels and materials. I am motivated to discover how to use and recycle renewable resources, such as plants or carbon dioxide, to make useful products such as polymers.  In the area of inorganic chemistry, research in my group includes the preparation of new metal complexes, their use in homogeneous catalysis, uses of in situ spectroscopy for catalyst characterization and analysis of the reaction kinetics.  Recently discovered catalysts include complexes of transition metals, lanthanides and main group elements. Furthermore, we have recently investigated a series  of colloidal nanoparticles, comprising Cu/ZnO and other metals, as catalysts for the production of methanol and other liquid fuels.  Some common themes of all catalysis research in my group are to apply earth-abundant and cost-effective metals; to develop efficient processes and to maximise selectivity and control so as to produce valuable products.  Polymer chemistry research in my group involves polymer preparation, exploration of materials’ properties and assessments of future applications. We are particularly interested in new oxygenated polymers, such as polyesters/carbonates, and in developing methods to prepare, re-use and recycle polymers as products from bio-refining, industrial wastes and biomass so as to improve sustainability.  In collaboration with other research groups worldwide, the new polymers have been evaluated for applications including as rigid plastics, elastomers, coatings, fibre-reinforced composites, matrices for tissue engineering, antimicrobial surfaces and as self-assembled nanostructures in controlled release.


Current Collaborations

Milo Shaffer (Imperial College London), Nick Long (Imperial College London), Henry Rzepa (Imperial College London), Molly Stevens (Materials, Imperial College London), Geoff Kelsall (Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London), Klaus Hellgardt (Imperial College London), Nilay Shah (Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London),  Donal Bradley (Physics, Oxford), Ji Seoun Kim (Physics, Imperial College London), Mark Bown (CSIRO), Andrew Holmes (CSIRO), Marc Hillmyer (University of Minnesota), Beppe Battaglia (UCL), James Clarke (York), Mike North (York), Adam Harvey (Newcastle), Robert Mathers (Penn State, USA), Michael Meier (KIT), Stefan Mecking (Konstanz), Alexander Bismarck (Vienna), Robert Raja (Southhampton), Cor Koning (Eindhoven), Sally Brooker (Otago).