Contact us

Dr Andrew J Alexander

Dr Andrew Alexander

Reader in Chemical Physics

Room 266

University of Edinburgh
Joseph Black Building
David Brewster Road

Research Interests

Nucleation, nanobubbles, crystallization, crystalloluminescence, reaction dynamics

Research Overview

The primary interest of my research group is the interaction between light and matter. We use polarized laser light to stimulate chemical processes and to study the resulting dynamics. The process of nucleation is of fundamental scientific interest, and is a key step in the production of high-value solid materials, such as pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals.

In recent work we have used laser-induced nucleation to initiate growth of crystals or bubbles in solutions and melts. Our group has also obtained the first measurement of the emission spectra of light from nascent crystals of sodium chloride, a phenomenon known as crystalloluminescence. The results of these experiments help us to understand more about the structure of supersaturated solutions and the dynamics of the nucleation, with a view to controlling crystallization processes for industry.

Overview of Alexander group research


  1. Spatial Control of Crystal Nucleation in Agarose Gel. C. Duffus, P. J. Camp, A. J. Alexander, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131, 11676 (2009).
  2. Laser-induced nucleation of carbon dioxide bubbles. M. R. Ward, W. J. Jamieson, C. A. Leckey, A. J. Alexander, J. Chem. Phys. 142, 144501 (2015).
  3. Deep ultraviolet and visible crystalloluminescence of sodium chloride. A. J. Alexander, J. Chem. Phys. 136, 064512 (2012).
  4. Interfacial ion-transfer mechanism for the intense luminescence observed when opening self-seal envelopes. A. J. Alexander, Langmuir 28, 13294-13299 (2012).