Surface Chemistry and Spectroscopy

Surface chemistry focuses on achieving a molecular-level understanding and control of surface chemical reactions that are oftentimes central to the modern technologies that produce chemicals & fuels, semiconductor devices, nanoscale particles & thin films, biomedical devices, immunological therapies, and so on.  Consequently, surface chemistry is a common thread of research interest for many UVa chemistry faculty. Spectroscopy enabling the characterization of molecular identity, concentration, and dynamics is another near-universal interest of our chemistry faculty.

Organic Chemistry and Synthesis

Organic compounds are central to biological processes and have many practical applications, including in the pharmaceutical, agriculture, materials, and energy industries. The study of Organic Chemistry can enable a greater understanding of the structure, properties, and function of carbon-containing compounds toward the goal of designing next-generation solutions to societal challenges and increasing our knowledge about the chemistry of life.

Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry

Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Virginia explores compounds constructed around central elements beyond carbon. Using a variety of synthetic, spectroscopic, and computational methods, research groups are studying subjects relevant to inorganic/organometallic, coordination, bioinorganic, supramolecular, and materials chemistry. The main group, transition metal, rare earth, and alkali/alkaline earth compounds are used to study topics ranging from sensing, catalysis/electrocatalysis, nanomaterials, renewable energy, and small molecule activation to photochemistry.

Imaging and Sensing

Research teams in the imaging and sensing area are concerned with developing molecules, materials, analytical methods and instrumentation to detect analytes and probe biological and physical processes. Examples of probe and sensor materials include spin labels and small molecule inhibitors, environment and stimuli-responsive dyes, chiral molecular, supramolecular and polymeric fluorescent sensors, oxygen sensing biomaterials, magnetic and plasmonic nanoparticles, and carbon nanotube electrodes. These materials are used with state-of-the-art technologies based on luminescence, magnetism, ele

Chemical Biology

The complexity of biology demands quantitative and molecular solutions that can only be answered by tools and methodologies derived from chemistry, including chemical proteomics, spectroscopy, single-molecule measurements, and design of molecules and proteins to probe cellular systems. Chemical biology has roots in traditional chemistry and biochemistry while fostering scientific creativity forged from experimentation at the interface of disciplines.

Catalysis and Energy

Catalytic processes are used in approximately 90% of all chemical processes, and catalytic reactions are central to the pharmaceutical, chemical, and energy sectors. Thus, innovations in catalysis are critical to the preparation of new medicines, conversion of solar energy to chemical fuels, and the development of more environmentally benign methods to produce materials used by modern society. Faculty in the UVa Department of Chemistry are pursuing a broad array of fundamental advancements in the field of catalysis.

Biophysical Chemistry

Biophysical Chemistry is a highly interdisciplinary branch of science that seeks to elucidate biomolecular mechanisms in terms of the underlying physicochemical driving forces. This field sits at the junction of many other areas—including structural and computational biology, molecular biophysics, imaging and microscopy methods, and biomolecular spectroscopy.


Subscribe to Department of Chemistry RSS