School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Nick Walker

Senior Lecturer

Background

 

I pursued undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of Sussex completing a D.Phil under the guidance of Anthony J. Stace in 1999. I held postdoctoral appointments in Canada and the United States before moving to the University of Bristol to perform independent research whilst funded by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2003. I received the Meldola Medal and Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry during the same year. An ESPRC grant enabled me to construct the first example of a chirped-pulse Fourier transform microwave spectrometer in the U.K. in 2010. This spectrometer is equipped with a laser ablation source to allow the study of novel metal-containing molecules.

I moved to Newcastle University for a lectureship in Physical Chemistry in March 2012 and received a European Research Council Starting Investigator Award in November of the same year.  I aim to use and apply the new instrumentation available for microwave spectroscopy to tackle problems which lie outside the traditional boundaries of the field.

I was recently elected to the Faraday Division Council of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC); served as Chair of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne and North-East Coast local section of the RSC from 2017 until 2019; am a member of the Molecular Physics group committee of the Institute of Physics.  

Areas of Expertise: Physical Chemistry; Molecular Spectroscopy and Dynamics. 

Research Group Web page

Link to Google Scholar account

Link to Scopus account

Research

Introduction 

Spectroscopy exploits the emission, absorption and scattering of electromagnetic radiation for the study of molecules and materials. Emission at microwave frequencies (between 3 and 300 GHz) is associated with transitions between rotational energy levels in molecules which, in turn, depend sensitively on details of molecular structure. My research applies microwave spectroscopy to quantify fundamental molecular interactions which have broad significance throughout many areas of chemistry and biology.

Current Activities 

I recently constructed a chirped-pulse, FTMW (Fourier transform microwave) spectrometer which allows the acquisition of broadband microwave spectra. This globally-unique instrument is equipped with a laser ablation source that allows the generation and study of metal-containing complexes. Broadband rotational spectroscopy allows for the detection and assignment of spectra in a fraction of the time that would be required using any of the previous generation of spectrometers. I collaborate with Prof. A.C. Legon (University of Bristol) in experiments that explore the most fundamental interactions of inorganic chemistry. 

Link to Google Scholar account

Link to Scopus account

Teaching

Teaching 

Duties at Newcastle University include; 

Degree Programme Director for Undergraduate Programmes in Chemistry

CHY1201 (Introductory Physical Chemistry) - Lectures in "Spectroscopy"

CHY2201 and CHY3206 (Physical Chemistry) - Laboratory Course Demonstrator (formerly Course Coordinator)

CHY8423 (Advanced Physical Chemistry)- Lectures in "Astrochemistry" 

Final Year Undergraduate Project student supervisor

Personal Tutor