students and professor working in lab

Sophia E. Hayes

​Professor of Chemistry
PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara
BS, University of California, Berkeley
research interests:
  • Optically-Pumped NMR and Optically-Detected NMR
  • Quadrupolar NMR of Clusters and Thin Films
  • Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration
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    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • CB 1134
    • One Brookings Dr.
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    The goal of ​Professor Hayes' research group is a basic understanding of the structure and properties of different types of inorganic systems, including semiconductors and other optically and electronically active materials.

    Optically-pumped NMR and Optically-detected NMR (ODNMR)

    Optically-pumped NMR (OPNMR) combines laser excitation with NMR detection, and optically-detected NMR (ODNMR) is the detection of polarized photoluminescence of conduction electrons with the NMR resonance condition is met during a sweep of field or frequency. Electrons are excited into the conduction band and spin polarized by the incident photons. Nuclear spins in the lattice become oriented by the photoexcited electrons through the hyperfine interaction. This nuclear orientation is subsequently detected by NMR (radio-frequency detection) or optically.

    Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry – Quadrupolar NMR of Clusters and Thin Films

    Inorganic metal oxides with group 13 metals (Ga, In, Al, B) offer good targets for solid-state NMR analyses. Our group focuses on the characterization of group 13 cluster precursors, and the transformation of the precursors to thin films. Specifically, the group has been investigating and characterizing [Ga13(μ3-OH)6(μ2-OH)18(H2O)24](NO3)15 cluster precursors and the corresponding mixed gallium and indium heterometallic clusters [Ga13-xInx(μ3-OH)6(μ2-OH)18(H2O)24](NO3)15 (x = 1-6) using solid-state NMR.

    Carbon Dioxide:  Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS)

    In situ elevated-pressure and elevated temperature NMR is being developed for examining process in CO2 capture and sequestration.  In the former, carbon dioxide is physisorbed and chemisorbed by materials designed for CO2 capture from flue gases and similar sources.  We study the structure of such materials, including the chemisorbed products that result and monitor reaction conditions that are favorable.  In carbon sequestration, the “mineralization” of carbon dioxide (converting to carbonates, such as calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate) can be monitored in conditions that mimic environments underground, with elevated pressures and temperatures and in heterogeneous mixtures of brine-soaked minerals.

    Selected Publications

    Journal articles:

    Willmering, Matthew M.; Ma, Zayd L.; Jenkins, Melanie A.; Conley, John F.; *Hayes, Sophia E. “Enhanced NMR with Optical Pumping (OPNMR) Yields 75As Signals Selectively from a Buried GaAs Interface” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017 139, 3930-3933. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b08970.

    Chen, Chia-Hsin; Shimon, Daphna; Lee, Jason J.; Didas, Stephanie A.; Mehta, Anil K.; Sievers, Carsten; Jones, Christopher W.; * Hayes, Sophia E. “Spectroscopic Characterization of Adsorbed 13CO2 on 3-Aminopropylsilyl-Modified SBA15 Mesoporous Silica” Environ. Sci Technol. 2017 51, 6553-6559. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b06605.

    Moran, Colton M.; Marti, Robert M.; Hayes, Sophia E.; *Walton, Krista S. “Synthesis and Characterization of Aluminum Carbide-Derived Carbon with Residual Aluminum Based Nanoparticles” Carbon 2017 114, 482-495. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmr.2016.09.020

    Sesti, Erika L.; Willmering, Matthew M.; Ma, Zayd L.; Wheeler, Dustin D.; Conradi, Mark S.; *Hayes, Sophia E. “A Combined Experimental Setup for OP and ODNMR” J. Magn Reson. 2017 281, 172-187. DOI:

    Wells, Rachel K.; Xiong, Wei; Sesti, Erika; Cui, Jinlei; *Giammar, Daniel; Skemer, Philip; Hayes, Sophia E.; Conradi, Mark S. “Spatially-variable carbonation reactions in polycrystalline olivine” Geochim. Cosmo. Acta 2017, 204, 252-266. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2017.02.003.

    Sesti, Erika L.; Wheeler, Dustin D.; Saha, Dipta; Sanders, Gary; *Hayes, Sophia E.; Stanton, Christopher J. “Assignments of transitions in the OPNMR of GaAs/AlGaAs quantum wells on a bulk GaAs substrate” Phys Rev. B 2014.90, 125301/1-9. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.90.125301.

    Ma, Zayd; Wentz, Katherine M.; Hammann, Blake; Chang, I-Ya; Kamunde-Devonish, Maisha; Cheong, Paul; Johnson, Darren; Terskikh, Victor; *Hayes, Sophia E. “Solid-state 69Ga and 71Ga NMR study of the nanoscale inorganic cluster [Ga13(μ3-OH)6(μ2-OH)18(H2O)24](NO3)15” Chem Mater. 2014, 26, 4978-4983. doi: 10.1021/cm501862u

    Surface, J. Andrew; Skemer, Philip; *Hayes, Sophia E.; *Conradi, Mark S. "In Situ Measurement of Magnesium Carbonate Formation from CO2 Using Static High-Pressure and -Temperature 13C NMR" Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013, 47, 119-125. doi: 10.1021/es301287n

    Co-authored reports:

    Simon R. Bare, Michael Lilly, Janie Chermak, Rod Eggert, William Halperin, Scott Hannahs, Sophia Hayes, Michael Hendrich, Alan Hurd, Mike Osofsky, and Cathy Tway. "Responding to the U.S. Research Community's Liquid Helium Crisis." American Physical Society; Materials Research Society; American Chemical Society, Oct. 2016. Web.

    Robert Hamers, Sophia E. Hayes, Graham Peaslee “Mid-Scale Instrumentation:  Regional Facilities to Address Grand Challenges in Chemistry.  A workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation.” Arlington, VA, September 29-30, 2016.  Web.


    2015, St. Louis Award, American Chemical Society
    2011, Vice Chair, Gordon Research Conference on Magnetic Resonance
    2009, Regitze R. Vold Memorial Prize
    2007-2009, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow
    2004, Washington University Graduate Student Senate Special Recognition for Excellence in Mentoring
    2003, NSF Early Career Development (CAREER) Award
    2001, Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow, Dept. of Physics, University of Dortmund, Germany
    1998-2000, Directorate Postdoctoral Fellow, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
    1999, Chemistry and Materials Science Directorate Award, Lawrence Livermore National Lab