Light ray

The Physical Chemistry graduate program at the University of Colorado at Boulder ranked 8th nationally (2023 US News & World Report) and has strong connections to JILA, a joint institute with NIST, the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), and CIRES. Researchers here can often synthesize methods and viewpoints from academically distinct disciplines. The division has an excellent history and tradition in both theory and experiment and is rapidly developing its unique strengths in new research directions. Research efforts span a large variety of current questions in physical chemistry, from the structure and reactivity of gas-phase molecules and clusters to processes on surfaces and interfaces to ion solvation and ultrafast dynamics in photochemistry and biomolecules, often with a focus on interdisciplinary work involving research in biophysical chemistry, nanoscience or renewable energy. Faculty members use state-of-the-art experimental techniques e.g., mass spectrometry, photoelectron spectroscopy, high-resolution optical spectroscopy, ultrafast spectroscopy, and high-resolution microscopy. A strong group of faculty members working in various areas of theoretical chemistry seeks to gain a deeper understanding of the physical principles underlying chemistry and to obtain theoretical methods with high predictive power, explaining current experiments and guiding future studies.

Research spans the gamut from fundamental questions about reactivity and dynamics on surfaces, in gas and liquid phases, to more applied topics in materials and nanoscience, climate science, biophysical chemistry, and renewable energy. Experimental groups use and design state of the art techniques, from high-resolution microscopy to ultrafast laser spectroscopy. Theoretical groups develop both computational and analytical methods to answer complex problems that often complement experimental studies.

Faculty in this area:

Jordy Bouwman: Interstellar (prebiotic) hydrocarbons, physical chemistry, (laser) spectroscopy, quadrupole ion trap time-of-flight mass spectrometry, threshold photoelectron photoion coincidence spectroscopy, quantum chemical computations.

Steven BrownAtmospheric nitrogen oxides, nighttime tropospheric chemistry, and high sensitivity optical instrumentation

Tanja Cuk: Physical Chemistry, Heterogeneous Catalysis/Reaction Dynamics, Material Surfaces, and Renewable Energy

Niels Damrauer: Photochemical Reactions & Multi-electron Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Renewable Energy, Photochemistry, Reaction Dynamics

Gordana Dukovic: Physical Chemistry; Nanotechnology/Materials; and Renewable Energy

Joel Eaves: Biophysics; Chemical Physics; Nanotechnology/Materials; Physical Chemistry; and Theoretical Chemistry

Steven George: Surface Chemistry, Nanotechnology/Materials, Physical Chemistry, Renewable Energy

Ralph Jimenez: Biophysics, Chemical Dynamics, Fluorescence Imaging, Photophysics

David Jonas: Physical Chemistry, Chemical Physics, Renewable Energy, Biophysics, Reaction Dynamics, Nanotechnology/Materials

Andres Montoya-Castillo: Physical, Materials/Nanoscience

David Nesbitt: Physical Chemistry, Chemical Physics, Spectroscopy, Atmospheric Chemistry, Astrochemistry, Biophysics, Interfaces, Nanomaterials

Jihye Park: Inorganic; Nanotechnology/Materials; Photochemical Reactions & Multi-electron Chemistry; Physical Organic Chemistry; Renewable Energy

Garry Rumbles: Photochemistry, Kinetics/Thermochemistry, Physical, Renewable Energy

Sandeep Sharma: Physical Chemistry, Theoretical Chemistry, Metalloenzymes, Gas phase Kinetics

J. Mathias Weber: Chemical Physics, Photochemistry, Reaction Dynamics, Nanotechnology/Materials, Renewable Energy

Wei Zhang: Organic, Nanotechnology/Materials, Renewable Energy