Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Honorary Research Associate



+44 (0)20 7594 5185w.montgomery CV




440/33Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus






  • 2010-2019: Imperial College London, Postdoctoral Research Associate. 
  • Past projects: "Position Specific Stable Isotope Analysis Instrument development, Planetary Origins and Evolution at Imperial," STFC, commercial partners: Protium MS, ProVac. "Organic matter and the minerals of Mars," UKSA/STFC; "Investigating the relationships between Minerals and Molecules," Leverhulme Trust; "Subcritical Water Assisted Transformation of Oil: Sulfur and its Reactions," BP America.
  • 2007-2010: Department of Earth Science, University of Bristol, NERC Postdoctoral Research Fellow.  Metamorphism of primitive organic molecules in the early Earth with implications for the origins of prebiotic molecules: In-situ spectroscopic investigations in the diamond anvil cell.
  • 2000-2007: Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, PhD student in Geophysics.  Thesis:  Organic Materials in Proto-planetary Bodies.
  • 1996-2000:  California Institute of Technology, Bachelors of Science, Physics & Geophysics.

Research Interests

I am interested in high-pressure (i.e., greater than ambient) organic chemistry as it is relevant across a wide variety of planetary settings including the fate of the meteoritic organic payload in the early Earth and the susequent origins of life; the "digestion" of carbon-bearing material by geologic processes, and potential industrial uses in petroleum engineering. 

My technical skills include use of diamond anvil cells, large colume presses, in-situ FTIR and Raman spectroscopy,  XRD and basic wet chemistry and GC-MS techniques.

    Selected Publications

    Journal Articles

    Royle SH, Oberlin E, Watson JS, et al., 2018, Perchlorate‐driven combustion of organic matter during pyrolysis‐gas chromatography‐mass spectrometry: implications for organic matter detection on earth and mars, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Vol:123, ISSN:2169-9097, Pages:1901-1909

    Montgomery W, Bromiley GD, Sephton MA, 2016, The nature of organic records in impact excavated rocks on Mars., Sci Rep, Vol:6

    Montgomery W, Sephton MA, 2016, Pressure effects in polycyclic aromatic nitrogenated heterocycles (PANHs): Diagnostic qualities and cosmobarometry potential, Astrophysical Journal, Vol:819, ISSN:0004-637X

    Montgomery W, Watson JS, Sephton MA, 2014, An organic cosmo-barometer: Distinct pressure and temperature effects for methyl substituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Astrophysical Journal, Vol:784, ISSN:0004-637X

    Montgomery W, Lerch P, Sephton MA, 2014, In-situ vibrational optical rotatory dispersion of molecular organic crystals at high pressures, Analytica Chimica Acta, ISSN:0003-2670

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