National Physical Laboratory

Michael Ward


Michael Ward

Michael Ward is a Higher Research Scientist at NPL working within the Gas and Particle Metrology Group, the activities and research of which underpin the traceability of global atmospheric and air quality monitoring networks and the quality assurance of energy gases. Michael's current work involves developing further the FT-IR spectrometry facility within the group in order to support its key metrological work.

Biography and research interests

Michael obtained a first class (with honours) MSci degree in Chemistry from UCL in the UK, where he also awarded a PhD in Physical Chemistry in 2014. From 2014-2016 Michael worked at the Université de Lille 1 in the laboratory PC2A as a postdoctoral researcher for the CNRS. Since May 2016, Michael has been working at NPL as a Higher Research Scientist.

Michael's topics of research have principally involved laboratory experiments on gas-phase phenomena, including both homogeneous and heterogeneous phase processes of atmospheric importance. He originally started his research career investigating the kinetic behaviour of reactions between transient radical species of atmospheric importance. He used several techniques to generate selected radical species, including laser flash photolysis and the use of a micro-wave discharge and measured the changes in their concentration with time as they reacted via spectroscopy and mass spectrometry techniques. Radical species take part in key chemical processes within the atmosphere and their chemistry has profound effects on atmospheric levels of ozone and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Consequently, knowledge of the efficiency of reactions involving radical species is important in understanding the composition of the atmosphere.

After studying for his PhD, Michaels research interests in France involved measuring low concentrations of VOCs and oxygenated VOCs (OVOCs) using a sensitive mass technique known as proton transfer reaction (PTR) MS in order to undertake research topics concerned with indoor air quality (IAQ) and low temperature combustion. VOCs and OVOCs are found throughout the atmosphere and the indoor environment and are implicated in environmental issues, specifically air quality and global warming. In particular, IAQ has become increasingly studied in recent years owing to the uncertainty in the typical processes involved in governing the composition of air and the consequent effects on occupant health. Furthermore, the chemistry of OVOCs and unstable highly oxidised OVOCs in particular, with radical species dominates combustion processes and understanding these processes under different reaction conditions is key to cleaner combustion.

Since moving to NPL, Michael has begun working with Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy to make measurements on calibration standards used in supporting the measuring capability of global monitoring networks. He aims to advance the FT-IR capability of the Gas and Particle Metrology Group at NPL to support their commercial activities and research interests.

Selected publications

  • Kinetics of the ClO + CH3O2 reaction over the temperature range T = 298 – 250 K
    M.K.M. Ward and D.M. Rowley
    Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 18, 13646–13656 (2016)
  • Kinetics of the ClO + HO2 reaction over the temperature range T = 298 – 210 K
    M.K.M. Ward and D.M. Rowley
    Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 18, 6301–6315 (2016)
  • Synchrotron-based double imaging photoelectron/photoion coincidence spectroscopy of radicals produced in a flow tube: OH and OD
    G.A. Garcia, X. Tang, J.F. Gil, L. Nahon, M. Ward, S. Batut, C. Fittschen, C.A. Taatjes, D. L. Osborn, J.C. Loison
    Journal of Chemical Physics, 142, 164201 (2015)
  • Experimental study of the heterogeneous reactivity between atomic chlorine and palmitic acid films
    R. Ciuraru, M. Ward, M. Mendez, S. Gosselin, N. Visez, D. Petitprez
    Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry, 70, 341–355 (2013)

Contact details

Tel: 020 8943 6909

Last Updated: 7 Jul 2016
Created: 20 Jun 2016


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