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Physical Chemistry Research Interests

CLUSTERS: My main research interests have been in cluster structure and dynamics. Using methods of computer simulation such as molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo, I have investigated a wide variety of cluster phenomena including solvation dynamics and spectral signatures of solvation (SF6Arn, aniline-Arn); melting of microclusters (Arn and (CO2)n); photodissociation dynamics and caging in both neutral and ionic clusters (e.g., Br2Arn, Br2-(CO2)n); and evaporation processes in rare gas clusters. A detailed investigation into evaporation processes, comparing simulation results with various levels of rate theory led us to speculate that the melting transition in "magic" clusters could be pinpointed by experiments designed to measure the kinetic energy release in the evaporation process. Other recent work includes the structure of mixed rare gas clusters such as XenArm--we have modelled the photoelectron spectra of these clusters measured by a group in Sweden.

    Current work in this area involves the development of two-temperature models of nanoclusters of gold and other metals to explore the effect of the high thermal conductivity of metal on shape changes during and following cluster collisions as well as plasmon heating effects.

CATALYSIS and RENEWABLE ENERGY: I work with the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI) to help develop metal oxide catalysts for hydrodeoxygenation. Using ab initio and density functional methods we are exploring the mechanism of oxygen removal from aldehydes, ketones, and alcohols using oxygen deficient metal oxide bronzes such as H1.29WO2.77 to act as Bronsted acids by providing H atoms to molecules that are adsorbed at oxygen vacancies.

Chemical Education Research Interests

I am currently working on the University of Maine's Chemistry Department's Inter-Chem-Net project which provides an infrastructure for making networked chemical instrumentation such as UV-vis and FT-IR spectrometers accessible to all the students in our general chemistry program. I am a founding member of the University of Maine's Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center) and a member of the leadership team for Maine Physical Science Partnership, a $12.3M NSF-funded project to enhance the grades 6-9 physical and earth science curricula. Other projects include:

Selected Publications

Current Students

Roby Kurian (Ph.D., 2013)

Jason Bakelaar (MST, 2013)

Kelsie York (B.S., 2013)


Former Students

Virginia Flood (MST, 2012)

Chris Goodwin (BS, 2012)

Tim Thibodeau (Ph.D., 2012)

Maggie Hutchinson (MST, 2011)

Carly Matthews (BS, 2011)

Matt Leland (MST, 2006)

TJ Preston (BS, 2006)

Jue Wang (Bangor High, 2005)

Barbara Stewart (Ph.D., 2004)

James Smaby (2001-2004)

Jinasena Hewage (Ph.D., 2002)

Jinglin Yang (M.S., 1997)

Pascal Parneix (Ph.D., University of Paris, 1993)

Nadarajah Ravindrakumar (M.S., 1993)

Samantha Weerasinghe, (Ph.D., 1992)

Lalith Perera, (Ph.D., 1990)


Evan Bieske (University of Melbourne)

Philippe Brechignac (University of Paris)

Mitchell Bruce (University of Maine)

Florent Calvo (University of Lyon)

Brian Frederick (University of Maine)

Ricardo Nemirovsky (San Diego State University)

Edin Nuhiji (Deakin University)

Pascal Parneix (University of Paris)

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