Dr Raul Quesada-Cabrera



Raul Quesada is associated to Prof. Ivan Parkin’s group at UCL Chemistry, working on the engineering of photocatalytic materials for energy and environmental applications. Raul has strong expertise in semiconductor photochemistry and important skills in a wide range of material synthesis and characterisation methods. He has held different postdoctoral roles in the department with emphasis on functional materials for environmental applications.


Previous experience includes an industrial associate position at Queen’s University Belfast, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, with Prof. Andrew Mills. He also took a postdoctoral position based at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facilities (ESRF), Swiss-Norwegian Beamlines (SNBL), Grenoble, France. Raul gained a strong background (PhD, UCL Chemistry) in solid state chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Paul McMillan, with structural studies of materials using in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy techniques under extreme pressure and temperature conditions.


Summary of research
 My research centres around material engineering in semiconductor photochemistry for environmental applications. I am particularly interested in the design of composite materials and metal-supported semiconductors and the influence of structural/electronic properties in photocatalytic activity and selectivity. My work involves cross-linking activities across chemistry and engineering. The driving force is on the use of high-throughput synthesis and advanced characterisation methods, with emphasis on synchrotron X-ray, laser and microscopy techniques for the in situ characterisation of photocatalytic systems under reaction conditions. 
Research highlights
  • Evidence and effect of photogenerated charge transfer for enhanced photocatalysis in WO3/TiO2 heterojunction films: a computational and experimental study. C. Sotelo-Vazquez, R. Quesada-Cabrera*, M Ling, D.O. Scanlon, P.K. Thakur, G.W. Watson, R.G. Palgrave, C.S. Blackman, I.P. Parkin* Advanced Functional Materials (2017), 27, 18, 1605413.
  • On the apparent visible-light enhanced UV-light photocatalytic activity of nitrogen-doped TiO2 thin films.R. Quesada-Cabrera*, C. Sotelo-Vazquez, M. Quesada-Gonzalez, E. Pulido Melian, N.P. Chadwick, I.P. Parkin* Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry (2017), 333, 49-55.
  • Photo-induced Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy for Universal Ultra-trace Detection of Explosives, Pollutants and Biomolecules. S. Ben-Jaber, W.J. Peveler, R. Quesada-Cabrera, E. Cortes, C. Sotelo-Vazquez, N. Abdul-Karim, S.A. Maier, I.P. Parkin* Nature Communications (2016), 7, 1218
  • Intelligent Multifunctional VO2/SiO2/TiO2 Coatings for Self-Cleaning, Energy-Saving Window Panels. M.J. Powell, R. Quesada-Cabrera*, A. Taylor, D. Teixeira, I.  Papakonstantinou, R.G. Palgrave, G. Sankar, I.P. Parkin* Chemistry of Materials (2016), 28, 5, 1369-1376.
  • Critical influence of surface nitrogen species on the activity of N-doped TiO2 thin-films during photodegradation of stearic acid under UV light irradiation R. Quesada-Cabrera*, C. Sotelo-Vazquez, J.A. Darr, I.P. Parkin*  Applied Catalysis B: Environmental (2014) 160–161, 582–588.
  • Photocatalytic evidence of the rutile-to-anatase electron transfer in titania.R. Quesada-Cabrera*, C. Sotelo-Vazquez, J.A. Darr, I.P. Parkin* Advanced Materials Interfaces (2014) 1, 1400069-1400075
  • Single-step synthesis of multilayer nitrogen-doped titania thin films by atmospheric pressure chemical vapour deposition. C. Sotelo-Vazquez, R. Quesada-Cabrera*, J.A. Darr, I.P. Parkin* Journal of Materials Chemistry A (2014) 2, 7082-7087.
  • Action Spectra of P25 TiO2 and a Visible Light Absorbing, Carbon-Modified Titania in the Photocatalytic Degradation of Stearic Acid. R. Quesada-Cabrera*, A. Mills, C. O’Rourke Applied Catalysis B: Environmental (2014) 150-151, 338-344.
Research Facilities
  • Synthesis: chemical vapour deposition (CVD), continuous hydrothermal flow synthesis (CHFS), batch hydrothermal synthesis, wet chemistry (sol-gel), photochemical methods, high pressure devices.
  • Processing: UV treatment, laser (CO2/Nd:YAG) and resistive annealing, dip/spin coating.
  • Characterisation: synchrotron X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques, vibrational (Raman/FTIR) and optical (UV/Vis) spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), electron microscopy (SEM/TEM).
  • Functionality: photocatalysis protocols (air/water treatment), photoelectrochemical cells.
  • Portland's Pollution Rehab Centre, B-Side Festival (2018), Portland Island, UK UCL Dean’s Strategic Fund (2017)
  • Polluted Beauty, UCL Friend's Trust (2017)
  • Best Presentation in Inorganic Chemistry, UCL/DFRL, 2006.
  • Bilateral Exchange Bursary, Solar Fuels Network, 2016. 
  • UK&I Semiconductor Photochemistry Network
  • UK Solar Fuels Networ
Research interests
  • Semiconductor photochemistry and photo-induced processes.
  • Metal-supported, solid-solution and heterojunction materials
  • Selective photocatalytic reaction pathways
  • Photochemical synthesis routes to inorganic materials
  • In situ/in operando photochemical studies
  • Solar materials for energy and environmental applications
  • Tutor of inorganic chemistry (CHEM1101)
  • Demonstrator for inorganic chemistry (CHEM1101), chemistry materials (CHEM2102) and synthesis and characterisation techniques in chemistry (CHEM3006)