St John's College Oxford
Professor Richard Compton

Professor Richard Compton FRSC MAE

Tutorial Fellow in Chemistry



I lecture in the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory and provides Physical Chemistry tuition for St John's. I am the Physical Chemistry editor of the Oxford Chemistry Primers series which comprises about 100 short texts covering a wide range of essential topics in the undergraduate chemistry curriculum. I have also authored several textbooks - "Electrode Potentials", "Foundations of Physical Chemistry" and "Foundations of Physical Chemistry: Worked examples" (all Oxford University Press). The second of these (written with Professor Alison Rodger, of Warwick University and Dr Charles Lawrence, a schoolmaster) is aimed at the school/university interface whilst the third was co-authored by two St John's undergraduates (Jay Wadhawan and Nathan Lawrence). My publications also include a graduate textbook entitled 'Understanding Voltammetry' (2nd Edition, Imperial College Press, 2011) along with the companion volumes 'Understanding Voltammetry: Problems and solutions' (ICP, 2012) and  'Understanding Voltammetry: Simulation of Electrode Processes' (ICP 2014).

I have an interest in the history of electrochemistry.

Research Interests

  • Fundamental Electrochemistry including Nanoelectrochemistry
  • Chemical Sensors and electroanalysis
  • Computational electrochemistry

Understanding electrochemical processes is key to developing energy storage and conversion devices (fuel cells, solar cells, batteries) as well as being at the heart of much of modern biology and nanotechnology. At the same time electrochemical sensors provide sensitive, selective, clean and easy to use approaches to the detection and monitoring of many important chemical species (gas sensors, blood sugar, pH).

My research group (The Compton Group) has interests ranging from fundamental electrochemistry (theory of electron transfer and of mass transport) to making chemical sensors. Current work, supported by a prestigious ERC Advanced Grant, is focussed on understanding the electrochemistry of nanoparticles and exploring changed reactivity at the nanoscale.

The group has a strong history in producing outstanding Part II and D.Phil. theses. The work of the group is at the forefront of international research and our students all contribute to this from day one. We have a wide range of interests within dedicated experimental and theoretical subgroups. The Compton Group website allows you to explore some of the research, the publications (and books) and to see the scientists in and collaborating with, the Group.

Other Information

The Compton Group has developed sensors for pH and for detecting nanoparticles. Ithas also developed a method for quantifying the strength of garlic and a nanoelectrochemical sensor to measure the heat of chilli peppers. In addition to their use in the food industry are also used for various outreach project with schools (see group website).

I have been Chinese Academy of Sciences Visiting Professor at the Institute of Physical Sciences, Hefei, Anhou, PRC, a lifelong Professor at Sichuan University and hold Honorary Doctorates from Kharkov University of Radioelectronics (Ukraine) and from the Estonian Agricultural University. I have an h-index of 88 (Web of Science July 2016), have published over 1400 papers and am a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher.