Theory and Modelling in Chemical Sciences


Jonathan Mannouch

Jonathan is a member of the first cohort of the TMCS, joining in 2014 having completed a four year undergraduate chemistry degree at the University of Oxford, where he graduated top of his year.  He has always been interested in understanding how the world around him works and it was this curiosity, coupled with his clumsiness in the lab, which naturally led him to study for a PhD in theoretical chemistry. “One particular appealing feature of the CDT course over other programmes was the training on offer during the first year. Through carrying out two short projects, as well as getting a taste of the different areas of research on offer through the research showcase seminars, I felt much more informed in deciding what topic I wanted to study for my PhD.”

Under the supervision of William Barford, Jonathan’s research focusses on understanding the coupled exciton-nuclear relaxation dynamics, by which conjugated polymer systems return to equilibrium after photo-excitation. “I particularly like the challenge posed by modelling these materials, with the strong electron-electron and electron-nuclear interactions present in these systems making them difficult to treat theoretically. The applicability of these materials in manufacturing flexible electronic displays and organic solar cells means that a greater understanding of these materials will hopefully aid scientists in improving the efficiency of these devices.”

One aspect of the TMCS that Jonathan has particularly enjoyed is the cohort. “After spending a lot of time together in the first year, we have all remained really good friends. Some of us are even still living together! The fact that we all work in different research groups has led me to have a much greater appreciation of the breadth of research being carried out in theoretical and computational chemistry. Without that, I think I would only know about my particular field of study.”