School of Humanities and Sciences
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Associate Professor of Chemistry
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur research centers on problems at the interface of quantum and statistical mechanics. Particular themes that occur frequently in our research are hydrogen bonding, the interplay between structure and dynamics, systems with multiple time and length-scales and quantum mechanical effects. The applications of our methods are diverse, ranging from chemistry to biology to geology and materials science. Particular current interests include proton and electron transfer in fuel cells and enzymatic systems, atmospheric isotope separation and the control of catalytic chemical reactivity using electric fields.
Treatment of these problems requires a range of analytic techniques as well as molecular mechanics and ab initio simulations. We are particularly interested in developing and applying methods based on the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics to include quantum fluctuations such as zero-point energy and tunneling in the dynamics of liquids and glasses. This formalism, in which a quantum mechanical particle is mapped onto a classical "ring polymer," provides an accurate and physically insightful way to calculate reaction rates, diffusion coefficients and spectra in systems containing light atoms. Our work has already provided intriguing insights in systems ranging from diffusion controlled reactions in liquids to the quantum liquid-glass transition as well as introducing methods to perform path integral calculations at near classical computational cost, expanding our ability to treat large-scale condensed phase systems.
David Mulvane Ehrsam and Edward Curtis Franklin Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Photon Science
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsAb initio molecular dynamics, photochemistry, molecular design, mechanochemistry, graphical processing unit acceleration of electronic structure and molecular dynamics, automated reaction discovery, ultrafast (femtosecond and attosecond) chemical phenomena
W. E. Moerner
Harry S. Mosher Professor and Professor, by courtesy, of Applied Physics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsLaser spectroscopy and microscopy of single molecules to probe biological systems, one biomolecule at a time. Primary thrusts: fluorescence microscopy far beyond the optical diffraction limit (PALM/STORM/STED), methods for 3D optical microscopy in cells, and trapping of single biomolecules in solution for extended study. We explore protein localization patterns in bacteria, structures of amyloid aggregates in cells, signaling proteins in the primary cilium, and dynamics of DNA and RNA.