Michael R. Wasielewski is a chemist known for his research into light-driven processes in molecules and materials, artificial photosynthesis for solar energy conversion, molecular electronics, quantum information science, ultrafast optical spectroscopy, and time-resolved electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. He was born in Chicago, received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University and Argonne National Laboratory. He began his scientific career at Argonne and in 1994 joined the faculty at Northwestern University, where he is the Clare Hamilton Hall Professor of Chemistry, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, and Director of the Center for Molecular Quantum Transduction, a US DOE Energy Frontier Research Center. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received numerous awards including the Josef Michl Award in Photochemistry, the James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry, and the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award of the ACS; the Bruker Prize in EPR Spectroscopy, the Physical Organic Chemistry Award, and Environment Prize of the RSC (UK); the International EPR Society Silver Medal in Chemistry; and the Porter Medal for Photochemistry.

Research Interests

The Wasielewski laboratory is interested in photoinduced electron transfer and charge transport in molecules and materials, artificial photosynthesis for solar energy conversion, self-assembly of nanoscale materials, molecule-based optoelectronics, and the spin dynamics of multi-spin molecules and materials for quantum information science. This research combines molecular and materials design and synthesis with time-resolved optical and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy to probe the dynamics of these systems including how quantum coherence can affect these fundamental processes. Solar energy research is focused on the development of light-harvesting, photoconversion, and catalytic molecules and materials capable of self-ordering and self-assembling into nanoscale integrated functional units. Much of this work probes the relationship between structure and function on the nanoscale. Work in molecule-based optoelectronics includes photovoltaics, transistors, and wire-like assemblies that can move charge rapidly through molecular solids and single crystals. Work in quantum information science explores how photo-generated unpaired electron spins in molecules and materials having well-defined quantum states can be used to carry out quantum operations that depend on maintaining coherence between multiple spins. These operations include logic gates, teleportation, and transduction between quantum coherent molecular degrees of freedom.

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Primary Section

Section 14: Chemistry