Charlotte Williams Research

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

My research interests include metal complexes 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, adhesives, fibre-reinforced composites, matrices for tissue engineering, antimicrobial surfaces and as self-assembled nanostructures in controlled release.