Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Assoc Prof Richard David Webster

Associate Professor, School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences
Director, NEWRIEdu

Email: webster@ntu.edu.sg
Assoc Prof Richard David Webster

Biography
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 B.Sc. degree in Chemistry/Geology from the University of Auckland (New Zealand), and B.Sc. (Hon.) 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.
Research Interests
The central themes of research in Dr Webster's group cover two major areas; Electrochemistry and Environmental Chemistry.

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.
Current Projects
  • Advanced Autonomous Functional Nanorobots
  • Advanced Batteries and Supercapacitors by 3D-Printing Technologies and Electrochemical Deposition Methods
  • Biomimetic Organiocatalytic Dynamic Kinetic Resolution for Rapid and Scalable Access to Chiral Carboxylic Esters and Related Functional Molecules
  • Continuous Monitoring of Radioactive Isotopes and Harmful Metals in Airborne Particles Using ICP-MS
  • Electrochemical Multi-Scale Science, Engineering and Technology (EMSET)
  • Investigation of Low Molecular Weight Natural and Artificial Organic Molecules in Redox Reactions Applicable for Energy Storage Applications
  • Microprocessor-based methods of composite curing
  • Modifying Redox Active Vitamins and Coenzymes for Improved Efficiency
  • New and Unusual Electron and Proton Transfer Mechanisms Involving Vitamin E
  • The Identity and Source of Atmospheric Pollutants in Singapore
  • Towards Understanding the Function of Vitamin E via the Synthesis of Novel Phenoxium Cations
  • Using Electrochemistry to Mimic Metabolic and Oxidative Stress Reactions
  • Water Graduate Scholarship or NGS (Water) - Lim Yu Jie - Development and Optimization of a Novel Aquaporin-Based Biomimetic Membrane for Seawater Desalination
  • Water Graduate Scholarship or NGS (Water) - Ma Yunqiao - CFD Study of Membrane Fouling Mitigation
  • Water Graduate Scholarship or NGS (Water) - Tio Wee- Graphene Based Multifunctional Composite Nano-filtration Membrane for Water Treatment
Selected 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.

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