Assoc Prof Richard WEBSTER

Co-Principal Investigator

Dr Richard D. Webster has been in the Division of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry (School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences) since 2006. He received his BSc degree in Chemistry/Geology from the University of Auckland (New Zealand), and BSc (Hons) and PhD degrees from La Trobe University (Melbourne, Australia). After finishing his PhD, Dr Webster received a Ramsay Memorial Fellowship and conducted research in the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Oxford. Immediately prior to joining NTU, he worked as a Queen Elizabeth II Fellow in the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University. His research interests include Analytical Chemistry and Electrochemistry and he is the author of over 100 publications in international journals of Chemistry. He is a regular reviewer for a number of Chemistry journals and is a member of the American Chemical Society, the Electrochemical Society and the International Society of Electrochemistry.

Singapore - NTU



Research Interest

Molecular Electrochemistry: The research incorporates many areas of chemistry including analytical, physical, biological and synthetic (organic and inorganic). When molecules in solution are exposed to a positive or negative potential (voltage) at an electrode surface, they can be made to lose (be oxidised) or to gain (be reduced) an electron or electrons. In inorganic systems, the gain or loss of electrons can produce metal ions in unusual oxidation states while in organic systems, the gain or loss of electrons often produces reactive intermediates such as radicals.

Our research focuses on understanding electron transfer reactions that occur in biological systems; currently we are examining vitamin E, vitamin K and a number of coenzymes. The research uses a range of analytical techniques such as; electrochemical methods, vibrational spectroscopy (FTIR and Raman), UV-vis-NIR spectroscopy, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Special cells have been constructed to enable reactions to be studied under ultra-dry conditions at various temperatures as well as in aqueous solutions.

Environmental Chemistry: We are interested in testing air and water samples in Singapore for trace amounts of inorganic, volatile organic and particulate contaminants. The group maintains a class 1000 clean room containing a Thermo Fischer iCAP 6000 series inductively coupled plasma (ICP) optical emission spectrometer (OES), an Agilent gas chromatograph (GC-MS) with thermal desorption (TD) capabilities and Dionex ion chromatographs (IC) for analysing environmental samples.

Key Publications

Tan, L. J. S.; Webster, R. D. (2012). Electrochemically Induced Chemically Reversible Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer Reactions of Ribloflavin (Vitamin B2). Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134(13), 5954-5964.

Yao, W. W. Lau, C.; Hui, Y.; Poh H. W.; Webster, R. D. (2011). Electrode-Supported Biomembrane for Examining Electron-Transfer and Ion-Transfer Reactions of Encapsulated Low Molecular Weight Biological Molecules. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Part C: Nanomaterials, Interfaces and Hard Matter, 115(5), 2100-2113.

Hui, Y.; Chng, E. L. K.; Chua, L. P.-L.; Liu, W. Z.; Webster, R. D. (2010). Voltammetric Method for Determining the Trace Moisture Content of Organic Solvents Based on Hydrogen-Bonding Interactions with Quinones. Analytical Chemistry, 82(5), 1928-1934.

Hui, Y.; Chng, E. L. K.; Chng, C. Y. L.; Poh, H. L.; Webster, R. D. (2009). Hydrogen Bonding Interactions between Water and the One- and Two-Electron Reduced forms of Vitamin K1: Applying Quinone Electrochemistry to Determine the Moisture Content of Non-Aqueous Solvents. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 131(4), 1523-1534.

Webster, R. D. (2007). New Insights Into The Oxidative Electrochemistry of Vitamin E. Accounts of Chemical Research, 40(4), 251-257.