Claire Vallance

Professor of Physical Chemistry, University of Oxford

Claire holds a B.Sc.(hons) degree from the University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand), where she graduated first in her year. She stayed at Canterbury for her Ph.D. studies with Prof. Peter Harland, spending a six month period working in Oxford with Prof. Mark Brouard. On completion of her Ph.D., she returned to Oxford to take up a Violette and Samuel Glasstone Fellowship in the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory and a Junior Research Fellowship at St. Catherine’s College. This was followed by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in the Department of Chemistry and a Tutorial Fellowship at Hertford College. In 2005 she was appointed to a University Lectureship in Physical Chemistry in association with Hertford College, and in 2014 she was awarded the title of Professor of Physical Chemistry.

Claire’s research interests include reaction dynamics (understanding the ‘physics’ of chemical reactivity), imaging mass spectrometry, and the development of laser spectroscopy techniques for chemical sensing. She employs novel time-of-flight imaging methods to study photon-induced and electron-induced molecular fragmentation processes and to carry out chemically-resolved imaging of surfaces. She is also developing chemical sensing methods based on cavity-enhanced spectroscopy for detection of trace chemical species in microscopic liquid samples.

Further details of Claire’s research can be found at


  • –present
    Professor of Physical Chemistry, University of Oxford