Reece was a PhD student based at UCL whose research mainly involved the application of two related multiconfigurational methodologies (CASSCF & RASSCF) to investigate the electronic structure and optical properties of both transition metal and f-block complexes.
Reece’s research was largely focussed on the excited states of porphyrin ring complexes, which have recently been used as both a sensitizer in dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) and a contrast agent in medical imaging applications. The complex electronic structure of many transition metal porphyrins necessitates a more qualitatively accurate method than the popular Density Functional Theory (DFT). DFT, while computationally efficient, has a number of flaws, most notably its inability to deal with static correlation. Static correlation often manifests itself in open shell complexes of the transition metals and (more often) the f-elements. In such cases, multiconfigurational approaches become necessary.
Reece applied the RASSCF methodology in a number of projects, investigating the excited states of molecular motors, covalency in f-elements complexes, and the stabilisation of low oxidation states of thorium and uranium.