Physical chemists aim to develop the deepest and most quantitatively accurate understanding of chemical reactions and phenomena. Physical chemistry is traditionally divided into studies of molecular structure (based on the underlying theory of quantum mechanics), the equilibrium properties of systems (based on thermodynamics and statistical mechanics), and the mechanisms and kinetics of change in chemical systems (chemical/reaction kinetics and dynamics). These theories and their extensions provide the foundation for an enormous breadth of modern research into physical and chemical phenomena.
Physical chemistry research in our department includes (among other topics) investigations of:
- Computational chemistry
- Laser spectroscopy
- Theoretical chemistry
- chemical reaction dynamics and using ultrafast lasers
- materials structure and properties using magnetic resonance
- the electronic properties of novel materials and single molecules
- the structure of nuclei and the dynamics of nuclear reactions
- novel magnetic resonance imaging technology
- EPR of paramagnetic species and radicals
- material structures and syntheses, and other phenomena, using computer simulation.
In addition to these and other projects, many members of the faculty are very active in the development of novel techniques and instrumentation in their respective sub-fields. Faculty involved in research in Physical Chemistry include Joseph Ackerman, Alexander Barnes, Mark Conradi, Sophia Hayes, Dewey Holten, T.-S. Tom Lin, Richard Loomis, Ronald Lovett, Richard Mabbs, Gary Patti, Jay Ponder, Demetrios Sarantites, Jacob Schaefer, and Lee Sobotka.