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George C. Schatz


B.S.: Clarkson University
Ph.D.: California Institute of Technology


Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry and of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Chemistry of Life Processes Institute (CLP)

Research Statement

Our research involves theory and computation as applies to problems in nanotechnology, properties of materials, macromolecular structures and dynamics, molecular self-assembly, optics, materials physics and biophysics. We are also interested in electronic structure methods, in quantum and classical theories of dynamical processes, and in using these methods to study the reactions of molecules at interfaces.

A major interest is in the optical properties of metal nanoparticles and aggregates of nanoparticles, including applications in extinction and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy, Rayleigh scattering and a variety of nonlinear optical properties. Much of our optical property work is concerned with classical electrodynamics, where we have developed new methods for describing light scattering and absorption, and methods for extending electrodynamics down to small structures. We are also learning to use electronic structure methods to describe nanoparticle optical properties, and in combining electronic structure theory and electrodynamics for these studies.

We are very actively studying the properties of nanostructured materials, especially as pertains to metal nanoparticles that are linked by polymers such as DNA or peptides. This work includes molecular dynamics studies of DNA attached to gold nanparticles, and the statistical mechanics of aggregate formation. A related interest is in the deposition and self assembly of thin films. Many of these projects are being done jointly with Professors Mirkin, Hupp, Odom and Van Duyne, and involve applications to chemical and biological sensors, but there are also connections with new materials being developed by the Stupp and Mirkin groups.

The mechanical properties of materials are another general topic of interest, particularly concerning the properties of carbon-containing materials such as carbon nanotubes, graphene and diamond. We are also interested in mechanically bistable molecules, and their use in molecular machines.

Another area of interest is chemical processes that take place under nonthermal conditions, especially processes that take place at surfaces. Here we are performing electronic structure and molecular dynamics calculations to characterize the reactions of radicals (such as atomic oxygen) and excited molecules with either liquid or solid surfaces, so as to determine the mechanism of reactions that occur in these gas/surface collisions.

Selected Publications

 Plasmon-coupled resonance energy transfer: a real-time electrodynamics approach, Wendu Ding, Liang-Yan Hsu and George C. Schatz, J. Chem. Phys. 146,  064109/1-064109/11 (2017) DOI: 10.1063/1.4975815

Exciton absorption spectra by linear response methods: application to conjugated polymers, Martin A. Mosquera, Nicholas E. Jackson, Thomas J. Fauvell, Matthew S. Kelley, Lin X. Chen, G. C. Schatz, Mark A. Ratner, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139,3728–3735  (2017) DOI:10.1021/jacs.6b12405

Wrinkles in polytetrafluoroethylene on polystyrene: persistence lengths and the effect of nanoinclusions, Jeffrey T. Paci, Craig T. Chapman, Won-Kyu Lee, Teri W. Odom and G. C. Schatz, ACS Appl. Mat. Interfaces, 9(10), 9079-9088 (2017) DOI:10.1021/acsami.6b14789

Mechanisms of hydrogen-assisted CO2 reduction on Nickel, Wei Lin, Kelsey M. Stocker, G.C. Schatz, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139, 4663-6 (2017). DOI:10.1021/jacs.7b01538

Distance-dependence of inter-particle energy transfer in the near-infrared within electrostatic assemblies of PbS quantum dots, M. S. Kodaimati, C. Wang, C. Chapman, G. C. Schatz and E. A. Weiss, ACS Nano, 11(5), 5041-5050 (2017). DOI:10.1021/acsnano.7b017

All-atom molecular dynamics simulations of peptide amphiphile assemblies that spontaneously form twisted and helical ribbon structures, Cheng-Tsung Lai, Nathaniel L. Rosi, G. C. Schatz, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 8, 2170-74 (2017). DOI:10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b00745

Plasmon-coupled resonance energy transfer, Liang-Yuan Hsu, Wendu Ding, G. C. Schatz, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 8, 2357-67. DOI:10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b00526

Conical nanopores for efficient ion pumping and desalination, Yu Zhang and G. C. Schatz, J. Phys. Chem. Lett, 8, 2842-8 (2017). DOI:10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b01137

Modeling super-resolution SERS using a T-matrix method to elucidate molecule-nanoparticle coupling and the origins of localization errors, C. W. Heaps and G. C. Schatz, J. Chem. Phys. 146, 224201/1-11 (2017) DOI: 10.1063/1.4984120

Self-assembled plasmonic metamolecules exhibiting tunable magnetic response at optical frequencies, M. R. Bourgeois, A. T. Liu, M. B. Ross, J. M. Berlin, G. C. Schatz, J. Phys. Chem. C, 121, 15915-21 (2017). DOI:10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b03817

Selected Honors/Awards

  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, Dreyfus Fellow
  • National Fresenius Award, Phi Lambda Upsilon
  • Fellow, American Physical Society
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Max Planck Research Award
  • Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Physical Chemistry
  • Fellow, International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Member of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Bourke Medal of the Faraday Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Feynman Prize of the Foresight Institute
  • Fellow of the American Chemical Society
  • Peter Debye Award of the American Chemical Society
  • S F Boys-A Rahman Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Hirschfelder Prize, University of Wisconsin
  • Irving Langmuir Award in Chemical Physics, American Chemical Society
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