Loomis to study novel molecular reaction pathways and dynamics


Richard Loomis, professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and collaborator Scott Reid, chair and professor of chemistry at Marquette University, received a three-year $700,000 collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for their project titled "Probing Undiscovered Reaction Pathways in the Decomposition of Highly-Energized Molecules: Isomerization, Roaming, and Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer."

The team will perform an array of laser spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and ion-product imaging to characterize the competing pathways sampled by highly-energetic molecules. Loomis and Reid hypothesize pathways that compete with direct bimolecular reactions are central to many fundamental processes, and they can effectively compete with expected reaction channels. Particular attention will be placed on understanding the roles long-range interactions and secondary roaming reactions play in bimolecular reactions. The team will also investigate what influences the local environment and energies of the reactants have on the efficiencies for the different reaction pathways and products.

This award also supports training of graduate students, especially outstanding students from diverse backgrounds, who may otherwise be considered high risk.