St John's College Oxford
Professor Richard Compton

Professor Richard Compton FRSC MAE

Tutorial Fellow in Chemistry



I am Professor of Chemistry and Aldrichian Praelector at Oxford University and also Tutor in Chemistry at St John's College. 

I am a Member of the Academia Europea and have broad interests in both fundamental and applied electrochemistry and electro-analysis, including nano-chemical aspects. 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 published more than 1500 papers (h = 94; Web of Science, February 2018) and hold numerous patents. I have been Chinese Academy of Sciences Visiting Professor at the Institute of Physical Sciences, Hefei and am a Lifelong Honorary Professor at Sichuan University. I hold Honorary Doctorates from the Estonian Agricultural University (now the Estonian University of Life Sciences) and Kharkov National University of Radioelectronics (Ukraine) and am a Fellow of the RSC and of the ISE. I am also a Fellow of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and was a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher from 2014 to 2017 (see I am the Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Electrochemistry Communications and joint Editor-in-Chief of the journal Current Opinion in Electrochemistry. Both journals are published by Elsevier.

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 focused on understanding the electrochemistry of nanoparticles and exploring changed reactivity at the nanoscale.

The Compton Group has developed sensors for pH and for detecting nanoparticles. It has 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 these are also used for various outreach projects with schools (see group website).

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.