Dr Marco Conte

School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Lecturer in Physical Chemistry

Marco Conte
Profile picture of Marco Conte
+44 114 222 9506

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Dr Marco Conte
School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Dainton Building
13 Brook Hill
S3 7HF

Dr. Marco Conte obtained a Laurea in Chemistry from the University of Padova in 2003. This was followed by a PhD from Cardiff University in 2006. He was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of York from 2006 to 2009, at the Cardiff School of Chemistry from 2010 to 2011, and at the Cardiff Catalysis Institute from 2011 to 2013. He was appointed as Lecturer with teaching duties at the University of Sheffield in 2013, followed by further appointment as Lecturer with research in physical chemistry and catalysis in 2014.

  • MRSC
  • FHEA
Research interests

The research activity of our group is centred on heterogeneous catalysis, with the aim of development and design of new materials for: selective hydrocarbon or alcohol oxidation reactions, isomerization reactions of sugars, and decomposition of pollutants for water treatment processes. In our research approach, particular emphasis is placed on the identification of structure-activity correlations and kinetic studies. In fact, unveiling the actual structure of a catalyst, together with the identification of the intermediates generated during a catalytic process, are essential factors in designing catalysts with enhanced selectivity towards specific and desired products.

Our research makes use of an array of spectroscopic tools and characterization methods involving: magnetic resonance spectroscopies (NMR and EPR), optical spectroscopies (IR, Raman), thermal methods of analysis (TGA), chromatographic techniques (GC/MS), surface science characterizations (XPS), bulk analysis of solids (XRPD, and in situ XRD employing state-of-the-art high temperature cell), and elemental analysis (ICP). Methods above are complemented by computational studies. Research areas of interest are:

Nanostructured metal oxides
This research area is centred in the synthesis and testing of metal oxides for the oxidation of hydrocarbons to alcohols and ketones, and oxidative dehydrogenation to alkenes, using molecular oxygen as oxidant.

Research on zeolites includes: development of hierarchical zeolites for isomerization and oxidation reactions under mild conditions, studies on the formation and nucleation of zeolite crystals from nematic phases, development of novel materials and methodologies for environmental remediation.

Metal nanoparticles
Supported metal nanoparticles are developed within the group principally for studies on oxidative kinetic resolution, and the determination of the activation parameters of these processes.

Activated carbons
Activated carbons are a complex framework presenting several functionalised groups and a vast range of pore size distributions. Methods for the modification of these structural features, and how these affect the diffusion of fluids within a carbon matrix are investigated.

Molecular modelling
Computational methods are used to gather insights in the oxidation of hydrocarbons,and especially for the study of autoxidation pathways and H-abstraction reactions.

Research Keywords

Heterogeneous catalysis, zeolites, metal oxides, metal nanoparticles. In situ techniques, reaction mechanisms, kinetics, molecular modelling. X-ray powder diffraction, infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, electron paramagnetic resonance.


Journal articles


  • Conte M & Hutchings GJ (2012) Hydrochlorination of acetylene catalyzed by gold In Hashmi ASK & Toste FD (Ed.), Modern Gold Catalyzed Synthesis Wiley-VCH RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers

  • Adams C, Conte M, Alborzi E, Meijer AJHM, Hughes K & Pourkashanien M (2022) PREDICTING THERMAL STABILITY BEHAVIOR WITH QUANTUM CHEMISTRY. Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Stability Handling and Use of Liquid Fuels, IASH 2022 RIS download Bibtex download
Teaching interests

Physical Chemistry, Catalysis, Physics

Teaching activities

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules

  • Physical Principles in Chemistry (Level 1)
    The course develops the skills and ability in physical science required for Chemistry. Successful students will, at the end of the course, be able to perform the necessary physical analysis required for a modern Chemistry degree.
  • The Physical Chemistry of Heterogeneous Catalysis (Year 4)
    This course is focused on the description and application of physical chemistry principles that are at the basis of heterogeneous catalysis, applied to relevant industrial processes.

Support Teaching:

  • Tutorials: Level 2 Physical Chemistry
  • Level 3 Literature Review

Laboratory Teaching:

  • Level 2 Physical Laboratories
  • Level 4 Research Project