Prof. Richard Tia is a computational and theoretical chemist interested primarily in the development and application of quantum mechanical simulation techniques to model chemcial systems at the atomic and electronic levels, aimed at addressing the fundamental problems of molecular structure, function, interaction and design.
He holds B.Sc. (First Class Hons., 2005) and Ph.D. (2010) degrees in Chemistry. He was appointed Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry in 2011, promoted to Senior Lecturer in August 2016 and Associate Professor in August 2020.
Prof. Tia's research is driven by intriguing mechanistic and structural questions in organic, inorganic, organometallic and materials chemistry. The primary tool for answering these questions is quantum chemistry, particularly ab initio and density functional theory (DFT) techniques.
He has so far published about 65 papers in top-tier international peer-reviewed journals such as the RSC's Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics and Dalton Transactions, the ACS's Inorganic Chemistry, Computational and Theoretical Chemistry, Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modeling, and the Journal of Molecular Modeling.
Part of these focus on the mechanistic aspects of transition metal-catalysed oxidations of olefins and ketenes, which have a wide range of applications in chemical synthesis both in industry and in basic research (see: Inorg. Chem. 48, 11434 – 11443; Comp. Theor. Chem. 977, 140 – 147; Dalton Trans. 39, 7575 – 7587; Comp. Theor. Chem. 971, 8-18; Comp. Theor. Chem. 1009, 70-80; Dalton Trans. 42, 10885-10897; Dalton Trans. 42, 14411 – 14423; J. Theor. Comput. Chem.14 (5), 1550035; Inorg. Chim. Acta. 441, 57–66; Can. J. Chem. 2016, 94(5): 523-532; J. Theor. Comput. Chem, DOI: 10.1142/S0219633618500116). The cited works have largely clarified the mechanisms of these reactions.
His work on organic reaction mechanisms has focused on reactions with a wide range of applications in synthetic organic chemistry, with particular emphasis on the regio-, stereo-, and enantio-selectivity of synthetically- and pharmaceutically-relevant reactions. Some of these include the following reported works: Theoretical Chemistry Accounts 139 138; Journal of Molecular Modeling 26:36; Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry. DOI:10.1002/poc.3992; Computational and Theoretical Chemistry, 1138, 7 - 14; Tetrahedron 72(50) DOI 10.1016/j.tet.2016.10.063; Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling 81 DOI 10.1016/j.jmgm.2018.02.003; and Journal of Molecular Modeling 24(1). DOI: 10.1007/s00894-017-3558-7.
His work in materials modelling focuses on the fundamental problems of carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and utilization technologies, which has the potential to address the environmental problems associated with rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere (Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, 19, 19478-19486. DOI: 10.1039/C7CP03466K); energy storage devices (Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, 19, 7399) and on the physical and chemical processes in microporous materials such as zeolites (Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2016, 18, 11297-11305).
In the area of fullerene chemistry, Dr. Tia’s work has focused on the mechanisms of functionalization of these interesting molecules to improve on their applications (J. Theor. Comput. Sci 1 (4), 1-6).
Under the Royal Society Leverhulme and DFID-ACBI programs, he has research collaborations with researchers at University College London, Cardiff University, the University of Johannesburg, the University of Botswana, the University of Namibia and the Botswana International University of Science in the area of New Materials for a Sustainable Energy Future.
He has supervised thesis at the undergraduate, Master's and Doctoral levels. He is an external examiner/moderator for the Departments of Chemistry and Materials Engineering at the University of Ghana, the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cape Coast, the Department of Chemical Sciences at the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani, Department of Chemistry at the University of Johannesburg, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Namibia and the Department of Chemistry at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology. He has also served on NAB/GTEC panels for the accrediation/re-accreditation of chemistry programs in Ghana.
Courses taught include:
CHEM 473 Introduction to Computational Chemistry
CHEM 356 Quantum Chemistry
CHEM 355 Surface Chemistry and Phase Equilibria
CHEM 256 Electrochemistry
CHEM 155/156 Basic Physical Chemistry I/II
CHEM 544 Electrochemistry (Postgraduate)
CHEM 546 Photochemistry (Postgraduate)