Professor Russell Howe

Professor Russell Howe
B.Sc.(Hons), Ph.D., D.Sc. (Canterbury University, NZ)

Chair of Chemistry

Professor Russell Howe
Professor Russell Howe

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272948
The University of Aberdeen Meston Room 041

Research Interests

My main interests are in Materials Chemistry, Surface Chemistry and Catalysis.  The theme of the research is the understanding and application of materials and surface chemistry at the molecular level. This involves the synthesis of new materials, the characterization of these, and the development of applications in areas such as adsorption, heterogeneous catalysis, and host:guest chemistry. Examples of materials studied are microporous zeolites and zeolite analogues, new classes of mesoporous silica and carbon materials, nanocrystalline titanium oxides and thin films, and organic: inorganic composites.

Strong emphasis is placed on spectroscopic techniques for the molecular characterization of solids and surfaces. These techniques include FTIR spectroscopy and microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and microscopy, ESR spectroscopy, solid state NMR spectroscopy, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (involving the use of synchrotron radiation). X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy are used routinely for structural characterization, and surface analysis by techniques such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and electron microprobe analysis plays an important role. We are particularly interested in developing environmental applications such as ion exchange of heavy metals, selective adsorption of organic pollutants, photocatalytic oxidation of volatile organic compounds and catalytic conversion of ozone depleting halocarbons to more environmentally benign alternatives .

Current Research

  • Zeolite catalysts for the conversion of Halons and CFCs (collaboration with Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Newcastle, Australia)
  • Electron transfer processes in organic molecules occluded in mesoporous solid hosts (collaboration with Prof M Paddon-Row, University of New South Wales, Australia).
  • Preparation, properties and photoreactivity of zeolites with semiconducting frameworks.
  • Generation of semiconductor arrays in microporous single crystal hosts.
  • New mesoporous silicas and carbons as selective adsorbents and catalyst supports

Teaching Responsibilities

  • CM1010 Chemistry 1A: Fundamentals
  • CM2007 Shapes, Properties and Reactions of Molecules
  • CM3518 Molecular Structure and Reactivity
  • CM4017/CM4024 Honours/Advanced Chemistry
  • CM5003 MChem Chemistry Applications


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  • Howe, RF & LUNSFORD, JH 1975, 'Oxygen adducts of cobalt(II)-ethylenediamine complexes in X- and Y-type zeolites', Journal of Physical Chemistry, vol. 79, no. 17, pp. 1836-1842. [Online] DOI:
  • Howe, RF & KEMBALL, C 1974, 'Poisoning of a supported molybdenum olefin disproportionation catalyst', Journal of the Chemical Society, Faraday Transactions, vol. 70, no. 7, pp. 1153-1161. [Online] DOI:
  • Smith, J, Howe, RF & Whan, DA 1974, 'The activity of supported molybdenum hexacarbonyl catalysts for the disproportionation of propene', Journal of Catalysis, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 191-195. [Online] DOI:
  • Howe, RF & Leith, IR 1973, 'Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Study of Catalysts Derived from Molybdenum Hexacarbonyl', Journal of the Chemical Society, Faraday Transactions, vol. 69, no. 11, pp. 1967-1977. [Online] DOI:
  • Howe, RF, Metcalfe, A & Liddy, JP 1972, 'Infra-red studies of oxygen adsorbed on evaporated germanium films', Journal of the Chemical Society, Faraday Transactions, vol. 68, no. 8, pp. 1595-1600. [Online] DOI:
  • Howe, RF, Davidson, DE & Whan, DA 1972, 'Infrared spectra and catalytic activity of supported molybdenum hexacarbonyl', Journal of the Chemical Society, Faraday Transactions, vol. 68, no. 12, pp. 2266-2280. [Online] DOI:
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