Snapshot of Group Reunion 2023

Happy Group Reunion! We enjoyed a fantastic time together, celebrating the Durrant group’s 28 years of achievements! The turnout was impressive, with many traveling from afar - 43 alumni, numerous partners and children, and our current group members, totaling around 100 attendees!

Over the three-day reunion celebration, we organised scientific symposia, provided insights into the group's past, present, and life beyond, culminating in a celebratory party with live music and dancing at 170 Queens Gate. The last day was more informal, with a buffet lunch for everyone to gather and socialize.

It was a remarkable event, and we are looking forward to the next one!

Caption: The Durrant group reunion 2023

Durrant Group Reunion 2023

The Durrant group is thrilled to announce our much awaited “Durrant Group Reunion 2023” event in June 2023. You can find the programme detail here and details of the venue map here .

Here is the summary of the event details

Event name: Durrant Group Reunion 2023

Date: 15-17 June 2023

Location: MSRH, White City Campus, 82 Wood Lane, W12 0BZ/ South Kensington Campus, Exhibition Road, SW7 2AZ

Expected Attendees: 110 attendees- Alumni members, partners and children, and current group members 


The snapshot of the event schedule is as follows:

15th June (Thursday) :  

Afternoon: Scientific symposia

16th June (Friday) :   
  • Morning: Scientific symposia
  • Afternoon: Reflections on the group’s past and present, and life beyond the group
  • Evening: Celebration at 170 Queens Gate
17th June (Saturday):
  • Informal gathering with a buffet lunch with socialising

We are very excited to welcome all our alumni ! If you have any inquiry,  just email to Xiaoe Li.

Group graduation celebration at the Works, White City!

Congratulations to all our 2022 graduates - new PhDs Anna Wilson and Weidong Xu, and Master graduates Keren Ai and Shilin Yao! Both Anna and Weidong are awarded Chemistry department’s prestigious annual prize for outstanding PhD thesis and performance, and announced Prize winner at Imperial’s Graduation Ceremony!  

Anna moves on her career beyond academia and Weidong has been working as a Postdoc at  university of Cambridge. Good luck to both of them with their new career!

Keren Al  and Shilin  Yao are PhD students in the group. Good luck with your PhDs, Keren and Shilin! 


Welcome to Cindy Tseng!

Cindy Tseng is a postdoc who is co-mentored by James Durrant and Ifan Stephens. She completed her PhD with Prof. Jahan Dawlaty at the University of Southern California, focusing on using vibrational spectroscopy to probe chemical species at electrode-electrolyte interfaces and measure local electric fields using Stark Shift spectroscopy.

At Imperial, she will be using various spectroelectrochemical techniques to characterize and probe intermediates at the surface of various metal oxides for OER applications. She is currently working on setting up operando and time resolved FTIR to characterize the effects of iridium oxides doped with different metals. Cindy visited initially as a visiting PhD student back in September 2021 and re-joined the group in February 2023.


 Congratulations to Weidong Xu!

Many congratulations to Weidong Xu for successfully defending his viva in November 2022. He was supervised by Prof. James R. Durrant with thesis titled “Optical Spectroscopic Studies of Charge Carrier Dynamics in Lead Halide Perovskite Solar Cells”. He was also awarded chemistry department’s prestigious annual prize for outstanding PhD thesis and performance.

He is currently a postdoctoral research associate in Prof. Samuel Stranks’ group at Cambridge University. His current research focuses on using various spectroscopies, including spatial and time-resolved methods, to understand the correlation between the materials processing and device performance in operando. Learn more about his work here


Congratulations Dr Wilson!

Anna had her viva online on 4th November 2022. Her PhD thesis title is “Time-resolved spectroscopic studies of SrTiO3 photocatalysts for water splitting”. Her examiners were extremely complimentary about her PhD thesis and viva performance, and she was ultimately awarded the chemistry department’s prestigious annual prize for outstanding PhD performance! This award accounts for both the written thesis and the PhD viva and will be announced at Imperial’s Graduation Ceremony in May 2023. A very well-deserved recognition of Anna’s fantastic work as a researcher and we wish her all the best as she embarks on her career beyond academia.

Learn more about her work  here.


Welcome Wenqing Hou!

Wenqing Hou joined Durrant group as a visiting PhD student in December 2022. She is sponsored by Chinese scholarship council. During her previous PhD program in Zhejiang University, she studied on metal organic frameworks and applications including photocatalytic water splitting.

In the Durrant group, she will be focusing on the photochemical and photophysical properties of metal organic frameworks, by using transient absorption spectroscopy.


Going for LEAF Gold

Through uncompromising efforts and with a passion for driving improvements in laboratory sustainability, lab manager Dr Pabitra Shakya Tuladhar has achieved Gold LEAF status for the Chemistry Department’s Cleanroom Laboratory, maintained by the Centre for Processable Electronics in the Molecular Sciences Research Hub at White City, marking a first for Imperial College. This is a great achievement of the Durrant group members and the cleanroom users under the leadership of Professor James Durrant and Pabitra. Read here the full story.




Welcome  Dr Miguel Gomez Mendoza!

Dr. Miguel Gómez Mendoza is visiting researcher from IMDEA Energy (Madrid, Spain). He joined in the Department of Chemistry of Imperial College London in October 2022. His main research interests are the design and photochemical characterization of photoactive materials for biological (phototoxicity, phototherapy) to energy (solar fuels production) applications by transient absorption spectroscopy.

He obtained his BSc in chemistry from the University of Valencia in 2008  and his PhD in Organic Photochemistry  at the Polytechnic University of Valencia in 2013 financed by the Spanish Minister of Science. From August 2014 to 2018, he developed two postdoctoral research at CEA-Grenoble supported by an Enhanced Eurotalent Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship and in the Chemical Optosensors and Photochemistry Group at Complutense University of Madrid. From November 2018 he works at IMDEA Energy Institute. He is co-author of 24 peer review journals, 94% in the first quartile (Q1) according to SJR metrics.

CBE awarded to James!

James has been awarded a CBE for his services to photochemistry and solar energy research in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Birthday Honours.  His work focuses on a key scientific challenge for the 21st century: the development of renewable, low-cost energy technologies. His group tackles this through the development of new chemical approaches to solar energy conversion – harnessing the Sun’s energy either to produce electricity (photovoltaics, like solar panels) or molecular fuels (such as hydrogen), as well as the related challenge of electrocatalytic fuel synthesis. His team combines fundamental optical studies into light-driven reactions with materials and device design, to create design principles that help guide technological development.

After receiving this award, he said: “I am very honoured to receive this award. Research is a team effort, and I would like to thank the many wonderful people I have worked with during my career in photochemistry and solar energy research.”

Congratulations James!


The group welcomes Dr Aniket Rana!

a1Aniket Rana has joined Prof. James Durrant group as a Research Associate. At present his primary area of work is related to transient opto-electronic studies of organic/perovskite solar cells. He is also interested in indoor applications of organic solar cells. He completed his PhD from AcSIR, CSIR-National Physical Laboratory, India in 2018 with Dr Rajiv K. Singh. His PhD thesis title was “Transient Photophysics and Charge Carrier Transfer Dynamics in Bulk-Heterojunction Organic Solar Cells”. During his Ph.D. he had worked with Prof. Sean Shaheen’s group at University of Colorado under Bhaskara Advanced Solar Energy fellowship (IUSSTF BASE-2016). Before joining to Durant’s group he was CSIR-Research Associate at IIT Delhi from 2019-2021 and and his research was focused on temperature dependent performance and trap distribution analysis in perovskite solar cells.

Welcome to Soyeong Jeong!

s-1Soyeong Jeong joined Durrant’s group as a sponsored researcher in May 2021. She obtained her PhD in Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Gwangju Institute of Science and Engineering (GIST). During her PhD program, she studied organic semiconductors and applications including organic solar cells, organic light-emitting diodes and organic printed modules. Her postdoc fellowship is supported by National Research Foundation of South Korea and her current research is focused on organic layer fabrications, their device applications and stabilities. In the group, she will be focussing on the study of polymer/polymer solar cells. 


Congratulations to Carlota Bozal-Ginesta for passing her PhD viva!

C-1On the 11th of May, Carlota successfully defended her PhD thesis, entited 'Spectroelectrochemical studies of multi-redox catalysts for water splitting'. She is moving to Toronto to work as postdoctoral researcher on machine-learning-driven characterisation of materials with Prof. Alán Aspuru-Guzik.

Welcome Dr Lei Tian!

L-1Lei Tian joined  Durrant’s group as a postdoc researcher in March 2021. He is interested in studying the photochemical and photophysical properties of transition metal oxide semiconductors, by using transient absorption spectroscopy. His postdoc fellowship is supported by Swedish Research Council. He completed his PhD in Physical Chemistry, Uppsala University in 2020, focusing on dye sensitised-NiO photocathode. 





Welldone Dr Yifan Dong!!!

10-pMany congratulations to Yifan Dong, who successfully defended her viva on the 27th of November. She was co-supervised by Prof. James R. Durrant and Dr. Artem Bakulin. Her PhD thesis title is “Transient spectroscopic studies of charge carrier dynamics in organic solar cells”. She’s now working as a postdoctoral research assistant in the Durrant group, continuing to investigate the photophysics of organic semiconductors using ultrafast spectroscopy. Learn more about her work here.


Welcome to Dr Tack-Ho Lee in the group!

TackTack Ho Lee  joined the group as Sponsored Researcher in November. He obtained his PhD in Department of Energy Engineering at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea. During his PhD, he studied on fabrication of organic solar cells and investigation of carrier dynamics in the devices. The title of his PhD thesis is “Carrier Dynamics in Organic Photovoltaic for Efficient Exciton Harvesting”. His current research is focused on organic bilayer fabrications, their underwater applications and exciton diffusions. 





Many Congratulations to Yuhan Chang! 

yuhanMany Congratulations to Yuhan Chang! She successfully defended her thesis on 15th September and now is officially a doctor! Her PhD thesis “Impact of Ga gradient and alkali treatment on minority charge carrier dynamics in CuInGaSe2 solar cells”. There will be two publications based on the results of her thesis coming soon, so stay tuned here



Welldone Dr Benjamin Moss!!!

BenMany Congratulations to Ben Moss on this wonderful accomplishment! His Ph D thesis “A spectroscopic study of charge separation in photocatalytic and photoelectrochemical water splitting devices” and he has been appointed as postdoctoral research associate in the group. Some of his publication can be found here.



Tian Du awarded his PhD!

tianCongratulations to Tian! He successfully defended his viva in an exceptional way via Microsoft Teams due to the Covid-19 Lockdown. The title of his PhD thesis is “Bulk and Surface Recombination Losses in Planar Perovskite Solar Cells”. He is now working as postdoctoral research associate in Queen Mary and as a visiting researcher in Martyn McLachlan group.



Shababa Selim defends her viva online!

shabsCongratulations to Shababa for successfully defending her viva in an exceptional way in Microsoft Teams on March 27th due to the Covid-19 Lockdown. She is the very first person in the Durrant group to defend a thesis online. Many congratulations for making history in the group! Her PhD thesis titled “Charge carrier dynamics and water oxidation photoelectrochemical performance of bismuth vanadate”. Some of her publications can be found here. She is now working as postdoctoral research associate in the group.



Welcome to  Dr Soranyel Gonzalez Carrero in the group!

SoraDr Soranyel Gonzalez Carrero received her PhD in Sustainable Chemistry at the Universitat de València in Spain. She joined the group as Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Chemistry of Imperial College London in January. Her main research interests are the synthesis and characterization of photoactive nanoparticles and their assembly into functional materials for applications in photocatalyst and optoelectronic devices. Her PhD thesis can be found here. She was recently awarded with a 2 years H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to develop her project focused on transient absorption spectroscopy studies of organic semiconductor heterojunction nanoparticle photocatalysts for hydrogen evolution.


Chieh-Ting Lin's viva just done before COVID-19 lockdown!

linBig congratulations to Lin on passing his PhD Viva titled "Enhancing the efficiency and stability of perovskite solar cells" in February. He was a joint PhD student of Prof James Durrant and Prof Martyn Mclachlan. His trips between two departments are over now as he has joined Durrant group as postdoc. Some of his research publications can be found here.



Michael Sachs successfully passed his viva!

MSMany congratulations to Michael on passing his PhD viva in January with thesis titled “Transient spectroscopic studies of disordered semiconductors for solar-driven fuel synthesis” with highly commended PhD Prize! Some of his journal publications can be found here. He is now working as a Post doctoral ERSRC research fellow linking  between Nelson and Durrant group in imperial.



Well done Dr Sacha Corby!!!

SachaMany congratulations to Sacha Corby on passing her PhD viva on January  with highly commended PhD Prize! Sacha’s Ph D was titled " Transient optical studies of metal oxides for water oxidation" Her list of journal publications can be found here. She is now working as a post doctoral research associate in the Durrant group.



Welcome to Dr Deping Qian in the group!

4-PAt the beginning of 2020, Deping joined the group as sponsored researcher in the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London. Dr Deping received his PhD at IFM of Linköping University, Sweden. His research interests are focused on the charge separation mechanism and voltage losses of organic solar cells. He is sponsored by VR International Postdocto Fellowship for 3 years. During the time at Imperial, he will study charge separation dynamics by transient absorption spectroscopy.










The group welcomes the new research associate Reshma Rao ! 

ReshamReshma Rao is a Research Associate in Professor James Durrant's group and is working on spectroelectrochemical studies of (photo)electrochemical interfaces as a part of the A-Leaf project since January 2020. She completed her PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2019, where she worked with Prof. Yang Shao-Horn. Her doctoral research involved the application of advanced spectroscopy tools to study reactivity at solid/gas and solid/liquid interfaces. Her PhD thesis titled "Understanding the active sites and reaction mechanism of water oxidation on metal oxides” focused on using operando X-ray spectroscopy to understand the interaction of RuO2 single crystal surfaces with acidic electrolyte as a function of voltage. In 2018, MIT awarded her the Wunch Outstanding Graduate Research Award for her doctoral research. 


 Many congratulations to Ludmilla!

LudLudmilla has won an Imperial College Research Fellowship and moved to the Department of Materials where she establishes her research group working on atomic engineering of surfaces and interfaces for photo- and electrocatalysis.  Her ICRF fellowship titled Creating Functional Interfaces by Atomic Layer Deposition in Devices for Energy Conversion and Storage has started December 2019 and will finish Nov 2023. She obtained a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship in May 2017 to explore the field of photoelectrochemical CO2 reduction.

Ludmilla joined Durrant group in August 2016 to have a closer look at semiconducting materials using transient absorption spectroscopy. She worked on oxide, chalcogenide and polymer materials with application in photoelectrochemical fuel synthesis and photovoltaics and has been main co-supervisor of PhD students Yu-Han Chang (CIGSe PVs), Benjamin Moss (La,Rh:SrTiO3 photocatalyst sheets), Floriana Moruzzi (polymer materials for CO2 reduction and hydrogen evolution) and MRes student Yifei Wang (polymer photocathodes for CO2 reduction). 


Welcome to visiting researcher Dr Zhou Li ! 

ZhouDr Zhuo Li joined the group as visiting researcher with the one-year China Scholarship Council Individual Fellowship. His main research interests are the synthesis and characterization of nanometer morphology of subphthalocyanines and studying molecular catalyst - semiconductor interfaces for sunlight energy conversion. He received his PhD in the College of Chemistry & Materials Science at the Northwest University in China. During his stay at Imperial, he will be focusing on transient absorption spectroscopy studies of molecular catalysts.






Perovskite Solar Cell and Optoelectronics  Conference 2019

Pero2019 June
Durrant group members with other participaints of Perovskite Solar Cells and Optoelectronics conference 2019.


Participation of the Durrant group in EMRS Spring Meeting 2019 

At the European Materials Research Society Spring Meeting 2019 in Nice, there have been 9 talks and two poster presentations by the Durrant group. Well done to all our presenters! 

Many congratulations to Jiaying Wu on passing her PhD viva!!

jiayingMany congratulations to Jiaying Wu on passing PhD viva. Her thesis title is " The impact of tail states on the performance of organic bulk hterojunction solar cells". Here is the list of her journal publications. She is now working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Durrant group.


Congratulations to our 2019 graduates!

grads 2019Many congratulations to our new PhDs- Chinghong Tan, Chaz Keiderling, Sebastian Pont,  Nathaniel Cheetham,  Madeleine Morris and Camilo Mesa Zamora. Good luck to all!

 Congratulations to our Master graduates Anna Wilson and Weidong Xu! They are now PhD students in the group.  Good luck with your PhDs! 




Another Doctor in the group! Congratulations Dr Camilo Mesa Zamora much deserved!!

3-pCamilo successfully defended his thesis titled "Spectroelectrochemical studies of oxidation reactions on hematite photoelectrodes"  winning  with the outstanding PhD of year 2019 award. Congratulations once again! 









Many congratulations Dr Jinhyung Kim!  

4-PJinhyung Kim passed his PhD viva after successfully defending his thesis titled “Transient optical studies of carrier dynamics in perovskite solar cells”. After finishing his PhD at Imperial College, he has joined KIST, Korea institute of science and Technology, Korea.




 Well done Dr Pont! Well-deserved title!

sebCongratulations to Dr Sebastian Pont! Hopping from a chemical engineering department to a chemistry department was worth it! Sebastian successfully defended PhD thesis titled “Chemical and morphological stability of Perovskite and Organic solar cells”. Here is a list of his publications.


Prestigious Hughes Medal awarded to Prof James Durrant.  Many congratulations James!!!

James Hugh

The Hughes medal 2018 has been awarded to Professor James Durrant FRS for his distinguished photochemical studies for the design solar energy devices, particularly by transient spectroscopic studies of dye sensitized solar cells and of photoelectrochemical water splitting.

Professor Durrant said "I am particularly delighted to receive the Hughes Medal from the Royal Society. Moving towards more sustainable energy technologies is a key challenge for addressing man-made climate change, and I am delighted that the work of my colleagues and me on new materials for solar energy conversion has been recognised in this way."


Congratulations on well-deserved success to Dr Madeleine Morris!!!

maddyCongratulation to Madeleine!! All the works on the ferroelectric material were worth it in the end after 4 years. Madeleine defended her PhD viva on July 13th. Her thesis title is "Barium titanate: photophysics, photocatalysis & the influence of the ferroelectric effect”. Some of her publications can be found here. Madeleine started her new life by switching her desk to another side of building in The Grantham Institute for Climate Change.


Well done  Dr Chinghong Tang!



Chinghong Tang successfully defended his thesis “Charge recombination losses in non-fullerene acceptor based organic solar cells”. He has been appointed as Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Shanghai JiaoTong University in China.

During his PhD, he managed to collect wide spectrum of colourful films of non-fullerene acceptor (NFA) blended with polymers enough to make a very unique first mosaic thin film art piece of the group.



 Many Congratulations Prof James Durrant, FRS!!!  

FRsHuge congratulations to James who was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society for year 2017. Fellowships are given to distinguished scientists by the Royal Society in recognition of "contributions to science, both in fundamental research resulting in greater understanding, and also in leading and directing scientific and technological progress in industry and research establishments." 

James was one of the 61 top scientists to be elected to the Royal Society this year as recognition for his outstanding research in photochemistry.

Congratulations James once again!!!


Departmental celebration of James' FRS award in South Kensington Campus

James FRS
The Durrant group past and present members at the departmental celebration of James' FRS awards in the Council Room at South Kensington Campus.



Speaking in the celebration, the head of the Chemistry department Prof Alan Armstrong said "I am sure that you will all join me in congratulating James for this tremendous and extremely well-deserved achievement". 

Professor Durrant said: "I am delighted to receive the huge honor from the Royal Society. This recognition reflects the excellent work of my colleagues and me on new materials for solar energy conversion." He also reviewed his career in the past 30 years and  thanked to all past and present group members who have been  such a pleasure to work with.

During the celebration, Prof Jenny Nelson and Dr Piers Barnes, long-term collaborators with James presented James with a "Royal Soc", carefully decorated with his initial followed by "FRS". He was also presented with a matching red "Fellow " cape and crown. James was heard to say that he would treasure these forever!

Congratulations Dr Wheeler on passing your viva!!

ScotScot Wheeler defended his PhD thesis titled “Bulk and surface recombination limitations to high voltage solution processable solar cells”. He has been appointed a PDRA in Energy Systems Analysis in the Engineering Science department of the University of Oxford. See some of his published research here



Congratulations Yifan Dong!!!

Yifan Dong was awarded a Faculty of Natural Sciences Student Prize for Excellence in Health and Safety 2017 for her contribution to improving the laboratory health and safety practices. Her nomination on her award quotes: “With her volunteering work in staging and appearing in the photo-shoots for the preparation for Laboratory Safety Practice poster, Yifan demonstrated a great level of confidence and engagement to help the Faculty to create an improved safety culture”








Congratulations Dr Chaz Keiderling!!!

chazChaz Keiderling successfully finished his viva! All the juggling in between musical and research life was worth at the end of four years! His thesis title is “Photo-physical Studies of Electron Acceptor Function in Organic Photovoltaics”. Well done!!



 Massive congratulations to Prof James Durrant for winning Imperial President's Award!!! 


The President’s Awards for Excellence in Research Supervision was given to our James Durrant for his exceptional contributions in the research supervision, encouragement and support of postgraduate research students.

Many congratulations James!!! Well deserved!

 Congrats Dr Ernest Pastor!!

ErnestErnest Pastor Hernandez successfully finished his PhD after defending his viva. His thesis titled “Transient spectroscopic studies of photocatalysts for CO2 and proton reduction”. Many congratulations and good luck!

Congrats Dr Collado! The Durrant group is proud of you!

ElisaElisa Collado Fregoso defended her PhD titled “Charge separation in low-bandgap polymer/fullerene blends”. Many congratulations once again, Elisa! Good luck!



It is official now!! Congratulations to Dr Yimeng Ma on passing his PhD viva!

maYimeng Ma defended his PhD titled “Dynamics of charge carriers in bismuth vanadate photoanodes for water splitting using solar energy”. He has been appointed as a postdoctoral chemist in the Helmholtz-Zentrum in Berlin. 




James awarded Tilden prize, Congratulations!

James TildenJames has been awarded the Tilden Prize of 2012 for his world-leading contributions to the function and design of molecular and nanostructured materials for solar energy conversion including both dye-sensitized photovoltaics and photo-electrodes for solar-driven fuel synthesis.