Expert Details

Neil Burford

Contact Information

Neil Burford
Professor and Chair, Chemistry
Languages: English

Research Information

Research Description

- Development of synthetic routes to new, fundamentally important molecules containing P, As, Sb or Bi
- Development of materials with new, spectroscopic, physical or reactivity properties

Expertise Profile

Remember learning the periodic table of elements in chemistry class?

Those 112 building blocks of the universe make new technology and innovative products possible, yet understanding of many elements is still limited.

Dr. Neil Burford, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Victoria, studies the little-known elements of group 15 in the periodic table: nitrogen, phosphorus, arsenic, antimony and bismuth.

He leads a research lab at the University of Victoria where he and his graduate students are primarily interested in synthesis - the making of new compounds.

When so much is unknown, the challenge is characterizing these compounds, figuring out what they are and how their properties change with different compositions.

Most materials we use today are developed from the element carbon, from our computers to the clothing we wear. Elements in group 15 could take some of the pressure off of carbon. The potential is vast, with possible applications in a range of areas including medicine and electronics.

Dr. Burford considers the classroom to be one place where he can make the most difference. Bringing examples in from his research is one thing, but what he finds really exciting is the opportunity to bring students into the lab.

For Dr. Burford, the goal is discovery. Before carbon became essential to our everyday life, a researcher somewhere was studying its fundamental chemistry in a lab. The possibilities today are endless.

Related Links

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Research Keywords

International Involvement

Countries lived/worked in

England, Germany

Professional development
Three Minute Thesis (3MT)
Graduate Students' Society

Program information