Christopher Whitehead


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Personal profile


B.Sc. in Chemical Physics, 1969, University of Edinburgh
Ph.D., 1972, University of Cambridge
1851 Research Fellow in Physical Chemistry, University of Cambridge, 1973-75
Lindemann Research Fellow, Columbia University, New York, 1975 -76
Lecturer in Chemistry, University of Manchester, 1976
Reader in Chemistry, University of Manchester, 1994.

Professor of Chemistry, 2004.

Head of School, 2009-14

Professor Emeritus, 2014-

Research interests

For many years, my research has concentrated on the dynamics and kinetics of reactions and photodissociation processes involving atoms and radicals in the gas-phase, in clusters and on surfaces with particular emphasis on the role played by electronically-excited species. Recently, this has focussed on the chemistry taking part in gas discharges or plasmas and the use of these plasmas for the treatment of waste gas streams such as diesel exhausts and solvents, for the purification of indoor air and the destruction of odours. Recently, we have utilised the hybrid technique of plasma-activated catalysis as a method of improving efficiency and selectivity. The use of plasma technology for the transformation of hydrocarbons such as methane into higher value fuels such as hydrogen and methanol is of current interest.

My group

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

External positions

Trustee, The Daphne Jackson Trust

Apr 2015Apr 2020


  • Physical Chemistry
  • Plasma Chemistry


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