Dr Philip Norcott


Philip has a PhD in organic chemistry, catalysis and natural product total synthesis from the University of Sydney. He has held postdoctoral research positions at the University of York, UK, in the Centre for Hyperpolarisation in Magnetic Resonance, and in the Research School of Chemistry at ANU.

He currently holds an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (ARC DECRA), with his research combining the fields of organic synthesis and reactivity, and NMR hyperpolarisation.

Research interests

My research interest centres on using organic synthesis and reactivity to design new, functional molecules with important purposes.

Currently my focus is the development of a new range of organocatalysts which can cause other molecules to experience a dramatic sensitivity enhancement in NMR spectroscopy through a process called hyperpolarisation.

NMR is an incredibly powerful analytical tool, but unlike many other forms of spectroscopy it is inherently insensitive. For example even in very powerful NMR spectrometers, the number of 1H nuclei that contribute to a signal is less than 1 in 10 000 - the rest of the nuclei cancel each other out to give no signal.

However, in a hyperpolarised sample all nuclei are detected at once, and the NMR signals can be thousands of times stronger than normal, and take only a few seconds to achieve the same signal which would otherwise take hours or even days of experiment time. Ultimately, advances in NMR can be translated to MRI applications, where hyperpolarisation can dramatically reduce scanning times in a clinical setting.