Josef Michl

Office: Cristol Chemistry 127
Lab: Cristol Chemistry 120
Lab Phone: 303-492-6947, 303-492-0579
Fax: 303-492-0799


Ph.D.: Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Prague, 1965

Areas of Expertise

Inorganic, Physical, Photochemistry, Organometallic Chemistry, Organic, Physical Organic

Awards and Honors

American Chemical Society Fellow, 2010, Medal of the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry (Acad. Sci., Prague, Czech Republic), 2012 and 2004, Fulbright Fellowship, 2006, University of Colorado Faculty Fellowship, 2006, Patria Award, Government of the Czech Republic, Prague, 2005, Honorary Doctorate, Masaryk University, Czech Republic, 2004, Marinus Smith Award, University of Colorado, 2003, Porter Medal (I-APS, EPA, JPA), 2002, Best Journal Issue Award for Chemical Reviews (Association of American Publishers), 2002, ALA Achievement Award (Association for Laboratory Automation), 2002, Otto Wichterle Award (Czech Chemical Society), 2001, James Flack Norris Award (American Chemical Society), 2001, Auburn - G. M. Kosolapoff Award (ACS Auburn Section), 2000, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1999, Japan Society for Promotion of Science Award, 1998, Honorary Doctorate, University of Pardubice, Czech Republic, 1996, World Association of Theoretically Oriented Chemists (WATOC) Fellow, 1996, Czech Learned Society, Honorary Member, 1995, Charles University Gold Medal, Prague, Czech Republic, 1995, J. Heyrovsky Gold Medal (Czech Academy of Sciences), 1994, IAPS Award (Inter-American Photochemical Society), 1994, Schrödinger Medal (World Association of Theoretical Organic Chemists), 1993, Arthur C. Cope Senior Scholar Award (American Chemical Society), 1993, Honorary Doctorate, Georgetown University, 1990, International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science, 1988, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, 1986, ACS Utah Section Award, 1986, John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, 1984-85, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (Member), Alexander von Humboldt Senior U.S. Scientist Award, 1980, Distinguished Research Award, University of Utah, 1978-79, Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, 1971-75

Synthesis and Properties of Organic and Organometallic Compounds


Professor Michl's group works in physical organic chemistry, a combination of synthesis of organic and organometallic (both main group and transition metal) compounds with an investigation of their properties by physical, mechanistic, and computational methods. This ranges from photochemical reactions to nanotechnology.

The areas of most interest at this time are (i) molecular electronics of the traditional (electron motion) and non traditional (electrostatic charge motion) types, (ii) photochemical reaction mechanisms, (iii) nature of electronic excitation in saturated compounds, and (iv) new structures based on carborane anions radicals and reactions.

In traditional single molecule electronics we are looking at the use of single molecules as electronic components (diode, transistor). In non traditional molecular electronics we are exploiting the concept of dipolar molecular rotors mounted on surfaces and driven by rotating electric field or by fluid flow. In an attempt to position such rotors in a regular two dimensional pattern, we are developing synthetic approaches to molecules that look like a tennis net or chicken wire.

Photochemical mechanisms deal with issues such as the nature of "twisted internal charge transfer states", heavy atom effects on intersystem crossing, and harvesting of solar energy. The saturated compounds whose electronic excitation we are examining as a function of chain conformation are peralkylated oligosilanes.

The new carborane and related structures involve some of the strongest acids and strongest oxidants known. We are attempting to prepare bulk species otherwise known only in the gas phase. This is very fundamental science but it also has some immediate applications for polymer lithium battery electrolytes and fuel cell membranes.

The research group has about two dozen members with roughly equal numbers of post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students. After the first year of study, the graduate students are supported by research assistantships or their own scholarships. The group is quite international. Many of the post docs are from various European and other foreign countries, and each graduate student presents results at one or more conferences abroad; many work on their projects for weeks or months in foreign laboratories. The group social life includes enjoyment of Colorado mountains during long-weekend group trips on skis or hiking and camping.

Fogarty, H. A.; Imhof, R.; Michl, J. "Magnetic Circular Dichroism of Peralkylated Tetrasilane Conformers", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2004, 101, 10517.

Zharov, I.; Weng, T.; Orendt, A. M.; Barich, D. H.; Penner-Hahn, J.; Grant, D. M.; Havlas, Z.; Michl, J. "Metal Cation - Methyl Interactions in CB11Me12- Salts of Me3Ge+, Me3Sn+, and Me3Pb+", J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126, 12033.

Caskey, D. C.; Shoemaker, R. K.; Michl, J. "Toward Self-Assembled Surface-Mounted Prismatic Altitudinal Rotors. A Test Case: Molecular Rectangle", Org. Lett. 2004, 6, 2093.

Fleischhauer, J.; Höweler, U.; Spanget-Larsen, J.; Raabe, G.; Michl, J. "MCD of Non-Aromatic Cyclic pi-Electron Systems. 5. Biphenylene and its Aza Analogs", J. Phys. Chem. A. 2004, 108, 3225.

Havlas, Z.; Kývala, M.; Michl, J. "Spin-Orbit Coupling in Biradicals. 4. Zero-Field Splitting in Triplet Nitrenes, Phosphinidenes, and Arsinidenes", Collect. Czech. Chem. Commun. 2003, 68, 2335.

Zheng, X.; Mulcahy, M. E.; Horinek, D.; Galeotti, F.; Magnera, T. F.; Michl, J. "Dipolar and Non-Polar Altitudinal Molecular Rotors Mounted on a Au(111) Surface", J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126. 4540.

Janoušek, Z.; Lehmann, U.; Častulík, J.; Císašová, I.; Michl, J. "Li--Induced σ-Bond Metathesis: Aryl for Methyl Exchange on Boron in a Methylated Monocarbadodecaborate Anion", J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126, 4060.

Mulcahy, M. E.; Berets, S. L.; Milosevic, M.; Michl, J. "Enhanced Sensitivity in Single- Reflection Spectroscopy of Organic Monolayers on Metal Substrates (pseudo-ATR)", J. Phys. Chem. B 2004, 108, 1519.

Fogarty, H. A.; Casher, D. L.; Imhof, R.; Schepers, T.; Rooklin, D. W.; Michl, J. "Sigma Bonds: Electronic Structure, Photophysics, and Photochemistry of Oligosilanes", Pure Appl. Chem. 2003, 75, 999.