Dr James Pickering

Lecturer in Physical Chemistry

School/Department: Chemistry, School of




I am a graduate of Jesus College, University of Oxford (MChem), and completed by PhD research in the group of Professor Henrik Stapelfeldt (Aarhus University), where I worked on the ultrafast dynamics of molecules embedded in superfluid helium nanodroplets. I then carried out postdoctoral work in both the University of Oxford (with Dr Michael Burt) and in Aarhus University (with Prof Tobias Weidner), working on ultrafast gas-phase spectroscopy (Oxford) and non-linear surface spectroscopy (Aarhus). I have also previously worked as a teaching fellow in the University of Leicester, and as a teaching lecturer in several colleges at the University of Oxford. I have been a Lecturer in Physical Chemistry at Leicester since December 2021. 


My research falls into two categories: "spectroscopy and dynamics" and "chemical education". I am active in both areas and am particularly interested in applications of non-linear spectroscopies to biologically interesting systems. On the spectroscopy side, I provide support to a number of research groups with lasers and optics, and with computer programming for complex data analysis, and am currently particularly interested in the application of ultrafast Raman techniques to the spectroscopy of biological systems. On the pedagogical side, I am active in developing curricula within physical chemistry and mathematics, and enjoy helping students explore the complex physical phenomena that underpin chemistry in new and interesting ways. Full details of publications can be found here.


I supervise research and project students on projects involving spectroscopy, dynamics, and the development of educational and teaching resources for chemistry. I am always interested in hearing from potential research students and collaborators. 


I teach across all years within the School of Chemistry, within physical chemistry and mathematics, and am actively developing new courses in computer programming for undergraduate chemistry/biochemistry students, in collaboration with Dr TJ Ragan at LISCB. 

I also supervise undergraduate and postgraduate research project students. Recently I have authored the educational book "Ultrafast Lasers and Optics for Experimentalists" - aimed at demystifying the technology behind ultrafast laser systems for non-specialists.


MChem - University of Oxford, UK

PhD - Aarhus University, Denmark

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