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James D. Gaynor

Assistant Professor

B.Sc. Chemistry, University of Portland - 2014
M.Sc. / Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Washington - 2019
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley - 2023


Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry

International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN)

Paula M. Trienens Institute for Sustainability and Energy

Research Statement

The Gaynor Group studies excited state and nonequilibrium dynamics of electrons and nuclei in molecules and materials using ultrafast multidimensional spectroscopy. We are ultrafast spectroscopists seeking to understand how photochemical processes are governed by quantum coherence, electron-electron correlations, vibronic couplings, and the influence of the environment. A goal of ours is to measure how pure electronic dynamics become influenced by the onset of vibronic interactions following the formation of a photoexcited state – spanning the attosecond to femtosecond and picosecond timescales. This knowledge will help form the basis for controlling photochemistry on the natural timescale of electronic motion. Our research operates on the frontier of nonlinear spectroscopic methods by developing new techniques that allow us to understand photochemical processes in new ways. The toolbox we employ to achieve this includes combining high energy femtosecond lasers, nonlinear optical methods, high precision interferometry, attosecond pulse generation, and ultrahigh vacuum apparatuses.

Selected Publications

J.D. Gaynor, A.P. Fidler, Y. Kobayashi, Y.-C. Lin, C.L. Keenan, D.M. Neumark, S.R. Leone; “Non-resonant Coherent Amplitude Transfer in Attosecond Four-Wave Mixing Spectroscopy.” Physical Review A (2023) accepted.

A.P. Fidler, Y.-C. Lin, J.D. Gaynor, C.W. McCurdy, S.R. Leone, R.R. Lucchese, D.M. Neumark; “State-Selective Probing of CO2 Autoionizing Inner Valence Rydberg States with Attosecond Extreme Ultraviolet Four-Wave Mixing Spectroscopy.” Physical Review A, 106 (2022) 063525.

J.D. Gaynor, A.P. Fidler, Y.-C. Lin, H.-T. Chang, M. Zuerch, D.M. Neumark, S.R. Leone; “Solid State Core-Exciton Dynamics in NaCl Observed by Tabletop Attosecond Four-Wave Mixing Spectroscopy.” Physical Review B, 103 (2021) 245140.

J.D. Gaynor, R.B. Weakly, M. Khalil; “Multimode Two-Dimensional Vibronic Spectroscopy. I. Orientational Response and Polarization-Selectivity.” Journal of Chemical Physics, 154 (2021) 184201.

R.B. Weakly, J.D. Gaynor, M. Khalil; “Multimode Two-Dimensional Vibronic Spectroscopy. II. Simulating and Extracting Vibronic Coupling Parameters from Polarization-Selective Spectra.” Journal of Chemical Physics, 154 (2021) 184202.

J.D. Gaynor, J. Sandwisch, M. Khalil; “Vibronic Coherence Evolution in Multidimensional Ultrafast Photochemical Processes.” Nature Communications, 10, 1 (2019) 5621.

J.D. Leger, M.R. Friedfeld, R.A. Beck, J.D. Gaynor, A. Petrone, X. Li, B.M. Cossairt, M. Khalil; “Carboxylate Anchors Act as Exciton Reporters in 1.3 nm Indium Phosphide Nanoclusters.” Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 10, 8 (2019) 1833.

J.D. Gaynor, A. Petrone, X. Li, M. Khalil; “Mapping Vibronic Couplings in a Solar Cell Dye with Polarization-Selective Two-Dimensional Electronic-Vibrational Spectroscopy.” Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 9, 21 (2018) 6289.

J.D. Gaynor, M. Khalil; “Signatures of Vibronic Coupling in Two-Dimensional Electronic-Vibrational and Vibrational-Electronic Spectroscopies.” Journal of Chemical Physics, 147, 9 (2017) 094202.

J.D. Gaynor, T.L. Courtney, M. Balasubramanian, M. Khalil; “Fourier Transform Two-Dimensional Electronic-Vibrational Spectroscopy Using an Octave-Spanning Mid-IR Probe.” Optics Letters, 41 (2016) 2895.

Selected Honors/Awards

  • 2023  APS Division of Chemical Physics Early Career Member at Large
  • 2021 American Chemical Society Young Investigator Award – ACS Physical Chemistry Division
  • 2020 Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship – Beckman Foundation
  • 2020 Schmidt Science Fellowship Finalist (declined)
  • 2020 Carl E. Anderson Dissertation Award – American Physical Society, Division of Laser Science
  • 2018 Emil Wolf Award - Optical Society of America, Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science
  • 2017 Norman and Lillian Gregory Fellow - University of Washington
  • 2016 Clean Energy Institute Fellow - University of Washington
  • 2015 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award - University of Washington
  • 2014 NSF Graduate Research Fellow – National Science Foundation
  • 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar – Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation
  • 2012 Greater Research Opportunity Fellow – Environmental Protection Agency