Mike Laidlaw

Stipendiary Lecturer in Chemistry
MA (Cambridge) DPhil (Oxford) CChem MRSC


Mike received his undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge and doctorate in Oxford.   After a few years of postdoctoral research at the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory in Oxford, Mike began his largely full-time teaching career in and has taught at numerous colleges in Oxford.  He is chartered chemist and member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (CChem. MRSC) and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) upon gaining Distinction in a postgraduate Diploma in Teaching & Learning in Higher Education in 2002.

Undergraduate teaching 

Mike has taught inorganic chemistry to 1st, 2nd and 3rd year MChem students for over 20 years.


Mike’s research has focussed on studying the electronic structure of cyanide-bridged mixed valence transition metal complexes.  Originally through optical, nonlinear optical and electrochemical methods, his most recent investigations hinge around electron and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopies.

Selected Publications 

  • , R.G.Denning, T.Verbiest, E.Chauchard and A.Persoons, Nature (1993), 363, 58-60.  Large second-order optical polarisabilities in mixed-valence metal complexes.
  • , R.G.Denning, T.Verbiest, E.Chauchard and A.Persoons, in Organic, Metallo-organic and Polymeric Materials for Nonlinear Optical Applications, Proc. SPIE -Int. Soc. Opt. Eng. (1994), 2143 14-19, (Ed. S. R. Marder and J. W. Perry).  Second-order nonlinearity in mixed-valence metal chromophores.
  •  and R.G.Denning, J. Chem. Soc. Dalton Trans., (1994), 1987-1994.  Synthesis and characterisation of cyanide-bridged heterobinuclear mixed-valence compounds based on cyclopentadienylorganophosphine -ruthenium(II), -osmium(II) cyano and pentaammine -ruthenium(III), -osmium(III) moieties.
  •  and R.G.Denning,  Inorg. Chim. Acta., (1996), 248, 51-58.  Heterobi-, tri- and tetra-metallic cyanide-bridged complexes based on pentacarbonylcyanochromate(0) and penta-, cis-tetra- and fac-tri-ammineruthenium(III) groups : Optical Metal-Metal Charge Transfer and Electrochemical Characteristics.
  • I.D.Morrison, R.G.Denning, W.M.Laidlaw and M.A.Stammers, Rev. Sci. Instrum., (1996), 67, 1445-1453.  The measurement of first hyperpolarisabilities by hyper-Rayleigh scattering.
  •  W.M.Laidlaw, S.G.Boxer and R.G.Denning, J. Am. Chem. Soc., (1998), 120, 6068-6075.  Effective charge transfer distances in cyanide-bridged mixed-valence transition metal complexes.
  • , R.G.Denning, D.M.Murphy and J.C.Green, Dalton Trans., (2008), 6257-6264.  Solvent dependence of the g-anisotropy in the ESR of cyanide-bridged mixed-valence complexes.
  •  and R.G.Denning, Chem. Commun. (2008), 1590-1592.  13C cyanide NMR studies in paramagnetic cyanide bridged mixed-valence compounds.
  • W.M. Laidlaw, A.L. Thompson and R.G. Denning, J. Chem. Soc. Dalton Trans., (2013) 4695-4703.  Solvent and metal dependent 1H NMR hyperfine shifts in paramagnetic pentaamminemetal cyanide-bridged mixed-valence complexes.
  • W.M.Laidlaw, R.G. Denning, J.C. Green, J. Boyd, J. Harmer and A.L. Thompson, Inorg. Chem. (2013), 52, 7280-7294.  140 H/D isotopomers identified by long-range NMR hyperfine shifts in ruthenium(III) ammine complexes. Hyperconjugation in Ru-NH3 bonding.