Physical Chemistry

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Physical chemists endeavor to explain chemical systems with all of their diversity and complexity using powerful and elegant models that often rest on molecular-level understanding. State-of-the-art experimental and computational facilities support cutting-edge research by more than fifteen groups at Ohio State. Researchers in the physical division study phenomena that take place in chemical environments ranging from the gas phase, conventional and ionic liquids, solid surfaces, and interfaces. The phenomena of interest span a vast range of time and energy scales from ultrafast processes in materials and DNA to long-time dynamics of biomolecules. Faculty members in the physical division are acknowledged leaders in their fields. The students and postdocs who train with them find positions in academia, national and government laboratories, and companies ranging from small startups to large, multinational corporations.

Research Areas

  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Bioinorganic chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Chemical information and modeling
  • Computational chemistry
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Materials
  • Laser spectroscopy
  • Molecular biophysics and structural biology
  • Nanoscience and nanotechnology
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • Photophysics and photochemistry
  • Protein structure and folding
  • Solar energy conversion
  • Theoretical chemistry
  • Ultrafast spectroscopy
  • Quantum chemistry

Resources

Between the department's NMR lab and the Campus Chemical Instrument Center, Ohio State has some of the best NMR facilities in the world, including specialized instrumentation for solution and solid-state NMR and microimaging. Several research groups in physical division are working on the development of new NMR techniques for elucidating the structure and dynamics of materials, batteries, and biomolecules. There is also outstanding instrumentation for ultrafast spectroscopy with light sources that span the mid-IR to the soft x-ray.

Many groups in the division use computer modeling and simulation to inform and guide their research. Additionally, four theoretical groups conduct research encompassing quantum chemistry, statistical mechanics, biomolecular dynamics, and computer-aided drug discovery. Computer simulations are performed using state-of-the-art computational resources. Facilities at the nearby Ohio Supercomputer Center offer some of the best high-performance computing resources available to academic researchers anywhere.

 

Faculty

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Heather Allen

Heather Allen

Atmospheric aerosols, pulmonary surfactant, and interfacial electric fields are investigated by surface spectroscopy and imaging methods to reveal the driving forces of molecular organization that then impact atmospheric chemistry and lung function. Advanced surface spectroscopic methods are also being developed.

  • Experimental Physical Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • Lipids & Membranes
  • Environmental Science

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Robert Baker

Robert Baker

Ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy, Catalysis for energy conversion and storage, CO2 reduction, Water oxidation, Interfacial charge transfer, Nanoparticle catalysis

  • Experimental Physical Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Surfaces & Interfaces

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Rafael Bruschweiler

Rafael Bruschweiler

Our research program focuses on protein dynamics (enzymes, regulatory and intrinsically disordered proteins) in relationship to function using NMR and long MD simulations. It also covers Metabolomics of complex biological samples to uncover the metabolic response to health and disease.

  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • NMR
  • Theory & Computation

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Jim Coe

James Coe

The Coe Group develops applications of plasmonics, records infrared spectra of single inhalable dust particles, and is developing an infrared probe for detecting cancer.

  • Experimental Physical Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • Environmental Science
  • Cancer

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Philip Grandinetti

Philip Grandinetti

Our research interests focus on the use of magnetic resonance to probe dynamics and structure in non-crystalline solids and energy-related materials.   Motivated by the challenges of such difficult-to-characterize materials we have developed numerous magnetic resonance methodologies, theories, and analyses over the years.

  • Experimental Physical Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • NMR
  • Inorganic Materials

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John Herbert

John Herbert

Electronic structure theory and molecular quantum mechanics, especially for condensed-phase systems and excited states; development of quantum chemistry software.

  • Theory & Computation
  • Chemical Information & Modeling
  • Photochemistry

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Christopher Jaroniec

Christopher Jaroniec

Development of multidimensional solid-state NMR methods and their  applications to structural and dynamic analysis of large biomacromolehummocular protein-protein and protein-DNA assemblies, including amyloids and chromatin.

  • Experimental Physical Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • NMR

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Bern Kohler

Bern Kohler

Femtosecond spectroscopy of biomolecules and nanomaterials for solar energy conversion and photocatalysis; photoinduced proton-coupled electron transfer in molecular and nanoscale systems; exciton and carrier dynamics in earth-abundant metal oxides.

  • Experimental Physical Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • Solar Energy Conversion
  • DNA & Chromatin

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Steffen Lindert

Steffen Lindert

Simulations of biomolecules, computational protein structure prediction from sparse experimental data, and computer-aided drug discovery

  • Theory & Computation
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • Protein Structure & Folding

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Hannah Shafaat

Hannah Shafaat

Combining metalloprotein engineering, spectroscopy, inorganic chemistry, electro- and photochemistry, and computational methods to investigate mechanisms of bioinorganic systems with relevance to energy conversion and disease.

  • Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • Experimental Physical Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • Enzymes

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Sherwin Singer

Sherwin Singer

Our group develops theory for condensed phases: liquids, solids, and aerosol droplets.  Recent interest, which relates to nanotechnology, explores how electric fields can direct fluid flow in small channels.  We have also developed a successful theory for transitions among the many phases of ice.  Our interests also extend to the properties of amyloid fibrils.

  • Theory & Computation
  • Nanoscience & Nanotechnology
  • Surfaces & Interfaces

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Alex Sokolov

Alexander Sokolov

Research in the Sokolov group aims to develop new theoretical methods for the simulations of light-induced and non-equilibrium processes in chemical systems with complex electronic structure.

  • Theory & Computation
  • Physical Inorganic Chemistry
  • Photochemistry

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Marcos Sotomayor

Marcos Sotomayor

We use experimental and computational tools to discover structure-function relationships in macromolecular complexes involved in mechanotransduction and selective cellular adhesion.

  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • Theory & Computation
  • Neuroscience

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Barbara Wyslouzil

Barbara Wyslouzil

Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Our focus is aerosol science: experiments and simulations that investigate the formation, growth and structure of nanodroplets, as well as phase transitions that occur within nanodrops. We also explore biomedical applications of aerosol science.

  • Experimental Physical Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Environmental Science

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Dongping Zhong

Dongping Zhong

Department of Physics

Femtobiology; biomolecular interactions; protein dynamics

  • Experimental Physical Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • Protein Structure & Folding