Dr Bruce Alexander

Dr Bruce Alexander BSc Hons, PGCertHE, PhD, MRSC, CChem

Dr Bruce Alexander

Dr Bruce D Alexander
BSc Hons, PGCertHE, PhD, MRSC, CChem

Principal Lecturer, Physical Chemistry

Department of Pharmaceutical, Chemical and Environmental Sciences

Faculty of Engineering and Science

Dr Alexander gained his PhD from the University of Dundee in 2002 in the application of surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to electrode surfaces and in the use of ab initio and density functional theory methods for the prediction of Raman spectra. He then spent nearly four years at the University of Geneva researching semiconductor electrodes for solar hydrogen production and developing characterisation strategies for nanomaterial thin films.

Following a post-doctoral position at the University of Aberdeen researching the photocatalytic degradation of wastewater pollutants, he joined the University of Greenwich as a lecturer in 2007, where he has been balancing teaching and research into areas at the interfaces between physical chemistry and inorganic and organic chemistry, biochemistry, pharmaceutical science and geology. This interdisciplinary approach is perhaps best highlighted by the ongoing collaboration with Medway School of Pharmacy investigating the structural preference of peptide mimics and foldamers through use of circular dichroism spectroscopy and molecular dynamics.

Programme Leader

  • MSc Formulation Science.

Course Co-ordinator

  • Energy, Life and Resources
  • Further Physical Chemistry
  • Green Chemistry
  • Research and Professional Skills
  • Colloids and Structured Materials in Formulations
  • Colloids and Nanoparticles
  • Computational chemistry
  • Formulation of Consumer Goods, Cosmetics and Coatings
  • MSc Formulation Science projects.

Course participation

  • Advanced physical chemistry
  • Case studies in non-pharmaceutical formulations
  • Computational chemistry
  • Further physical chemistry
  • Green chemistry
  • Instrumental analysis
  • MChem open course
  • MSc Formulation Science research projects
  • MSc Pharmaceutical Science research project
  • Physical chemistry
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Research and professional skills
  • Special topics in chemistry.

PhD supervision

  • Rajitha Hanarasinghe
  • Omar Mansour
  • Reham Mohsen
  • Pham Thi Minh Hai
  • Shashi Rudrangi
  • Soumya Sasi


  • Faculty board member
  • Laser safety officer.

Dr Alexander is on the editorial board of the Journal of Chemistry.

Invited articles reviewing semiconductor materials for solar hydrogen production have been published in On Solar Hydrogen and Nanotechnology, Topics in Current Chemistry and the Journal of Materials Chemistry. The latter article was the highlight article for a special edition of the journal focussed on hydrogen production and storage.

He is a Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and has been awarded Chartered Chemist (CChem) status by that body.

Dr Bruce Alexander started his research career studying electro-catalysts adsorbed on surfaces for fuel cells using a combination of Raman spectroscopy and electrochemistry. He has been working at the interface of physical and inorganic chemistry ever since. Dr Alexander has gone on to develop expertise in the development of semiconductor materials for renewable energy technologies, such as solar hydrogen production, and the spectroscopic analysis of surfaces and thin films.

He maintains an active interest in computational chemistry, crucially allied to experimental data as a tool to understand structure and bonding in a range of systems and currently maintains the computational chemistry suite in the School of Science.

Dr Alexander welcomes enquiries from potential collaborators regarding these and future projects or Erasmus exchanges. Having spent time working in Geneva he is able to speak French, albeit with la lenteur suisse. As such, he would particularly welcome hearing from Francophone institutions.

Dr Alexander's current research interests are collected under the groupings of:

  • Solar energy conversion, photocatalysis and renewable fuels
  • Computational chemistry used to probe primary and secondary structure
  • Surface and structural analysis by spectroscopy
  • Development of modified surfaces for micro-array sensors.
  • Raman microscopic analysis of geological samples
  • Foldamers and peptoids: structural and spectroscopic analysis

His current projects include:

  • Solar generation of hydrogen using semiconductor electrodes
  • Photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants and wastewater remediation
  • Photocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide
  • Molecular dynamics studies of the folding preference of peptide mimics
  • Ab initio and density functional theory calculations and molecular modelling applied to the investigation of structure preference of a range of bio-organic systems
  • Development of novel surface enhanced Raman (SERS) and fluorescence based sensors using self-assembled monolayers and colloidal microgel particles
  • Spectroscopic determination of polymorphism
  • Electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical studies of molecular electrocatalysts
  • Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy, its theory and applications to the study of thin films and modified electrodes.

Funded research projects

Currently funded projects

KTP: Development of an automated heavy mineral analysis strategy. 

The aims are to develop, transfer and embed analytical and interpretative protocols for heavy mineral spectroscopy to establish an automated provenance service for petroleum reservoir correlation and mapping. This meets the need of the oil industry that typically relies on a select few services that manually identify heavy minerals in core samples. The process is therefore time-consuming, laborious and subject to user interpretation. This KTP aims to decrease analysis time and provide automated interpretation.

Understanding the fate of active pharmaceutical ingredient physical attributes in drug production. 

The aim of this project is to determine how the size, shape and form of key components in pharmaceutical products change during drug production and determine strategies to avoid common production problems.

Previously funded projects

Unravelling the link between charge and conformation of neuromodulators

This project was funded in part by Diamond Light Source and permitted the analysis of key neuropeptides by circular dichroism spectroscopy. Circular dichroism allowed the determination of the solution-phase structure of the neuropeptides and the influence of solution conditions on that structure. This was critical for the development of a robust analysis of these neuropeptides in biological samples.

Conformational and binding studies of novel arylopeptoids.

Metal binding ability of novel α , β-peptoids and effect on the conformational preference

Both of the above projects form part of an ongoing collaboration with Medway School of Pharmacy and focus on the determination of structure of foldamers that are based on peptide mimics. Peptoids offer a versatile route to mimicking peptide structure that can avoid problems associated with peptides, such as proteolysis and poor bioavailability. Determination of the secondary structural preference of these peptoids is not facile and relies on a combination of spectroscopic techniques, in particular the use of synchrotron radiation circular dichroism spectroscopy, funded by Diamond Light Source. In the case of the arylopeptoids, work is supplemented by computational chemistry and funding has been granted by the National Service for Computational Chemistry Software.

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, , , , , and () . In: Chirality. Wiley. pp. 708-718. ISSN 0899-0042 ISSN 0899-0042

, , , , , , and () . In: International Journal of Pharmaceutics. Elsevier. pp. 425-432. ISSN 0378-5173 ISSN 0378-5173

, , , , , , , , , , , , and () . In: Chemistry of Materials. American Chemical Society. pp. 1550-1560. ISSN 0897-4756 ISSN 0897-4756

, , , , , , , , , , and () . In: Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. Royal Society of Chemistry. pp. 11371-11380. ISSN 1477-0520 ISSN 1477-0520

, , , and () . In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Elsevier B.V.. pp. 137-148. ISSN 0012-821X ISSN 0012-821X

, , , , and () . In: European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics. Elsevier B.V.. pp. 164-170. ISSN 0939-6411 ISSN 0939-6411

, , , , and () . In: Journal of Nanomedicine and Nanotechnology. OMICS International. pp. 363-372. ISSN 2157-7439 ISSN 2157-7439

, , , , , , , , , and () . In: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - General Subjects. Elsevier. pp. 1541-1550. ISSN 0304-4165 ISSN 0304-4165

, , , and () . In: Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis. Elsevier. ISSN 2095-1779 ISSN 2095-1779

, , , and () . In: International Journal of Pharmaceutics. Elsevier. pp. 408-416. ISSN 0378-5173 ISSN 0378-5173

, , , , , and () . In: International Journal of Pharmaceutics. Elsevier B.V.. pp. 381-390. ISSN 0378-5173 ISSN 0378-5173

, , and () . In: Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects. Elsevier B.V.. pp. 107-115. ISSN 0927-7757 ISSN 0927-7757

, , , , , , , , , , and () . In: International Journal of Pharmaceutics. Elsevier B.V.. pp. 264-271. ISSN 0378-5173 ISSN 0378-5173

, , , and () . In: Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects. Elsevier B.V.. pp. 53-59. ISSN 0927-7757 ISSN 0927-7757

, , , , , , and () . In: Tetrahedron. Elsevier B.V.. pp. 4444-4454. ISSN 0040-4020 ISSN 0040-4020

, , and () . In: Applied Spectroscopy. Society of Applied Spectroscopy. pp. 1357-1362. ISSN 0003-7028 ISSN 0003-7028

, , , , , , , and () . In: Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry. RSC Publishing. pp. 1108-1122. ISSN 1477-0520 ISSN 1477-0520

, , , and () . In: The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. American Chemical Society. pp. 1900-1903. ISSN 1948-7185 ISSN 1948-7185

, , , , , , , , , and () . In: Amino Acids. Springer Wien. pp. 663-672. ISSN 0939-4451 ISSN 0939-4451

, , and () . In: Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry. Elsevier. pp. 209 - 214. ISSN 1010-6030 ISSN 1010-6030

, , , , , and () . In: Journal of Chemical Crystallography. Springer Netherlands. pp. 602-607. ISSN 1074-1542 ISSN 1074-1542

Browse our research at GALA

, and () . In: Photocatalysis. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany. pp. 1-38. ISBN 9783642222931

and () . In: On Solar Hydrogen & Nanotechnology. John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd., Chichester / Singapore. pp. 333-348. ISBN 9780470823972 (Print), 9780470823996 (Online)

Browse our research at GALA