femtosecond laser technology

Research in the Chemistry Department at the University of Rochester is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative, spanning all areas of modern chemistry and related fields. Although the traditional labels of organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry can be applied, faculty routinely develop research projects that transcend those boundaries, particularly towards the development of solutions to some of the most challenging problems facing our global society today, including those in catalysis and theoreticalbiological, and materials chemistry.

Organic Chemistry

Organic Chemistry deals with the complex chemical bonding of carbon containing compounds and extends from scientists that are synthesizing complicated natural products to act as anti-cancer agents to groups that are devoted to the discovery of new chemical reactions and their mechanisms.

Inorganic Chemistry

Inorganic Chemistry research focuses on the diverse chemistry available from metallic elements.  Inorganic Chemistry extends from designing new catalysts to facilitate the formation of new C-C bonds critical for molecular synthesis, to the study of the mechanisms of new catalysts and the photochemistry of metal-containing complexes.  Inorganic research in the department bridges the fields of homo and heterogeneous catalysis, striving to understand the role of solid-supports in important catalytic transformations. 

Physical Chemistry

Physical Chemistry research strives to understand how molecules and nanomaterials behave; for example, how do their structures fluctuate? How do they exchange energy with their surroundings? What are the energetic barriers to different possible reactions?  How do molecules react or relax back to the ground state after absorbing light?  Physical chemists at Rochester are applying the latest spectroscopies, ultrafast laser techniques and cutting-edge theory to address these questions and more. 


Faculty in the department are also organized into interdisciplinary research “clusters” to reflect the vitality of chemistry as a central science important to research all across campus, and to provide opportunities for formal and informal interactions with colleagues from other University units. Chemistry students may conduct research in the laboratory of any cluster member, thereby allowing a broader range of research options.  Likewise, students have the opportunity to engage in highly specialized research experiences, garnering exposure to developing fields ranging from bioengineering to organic electronics to nanotechnology.

Theoretical Chemistry Cluster

The Theoretical Chemistry cluster brings together faculty members in multiple departments who are using the theoretical methods and computational techniques to answer important questions, from how electrons move among molecules to how protein and biomolecules change their structures."

Biological Chemistry Cluster

The Biological Chemistry cluster comprises members from Chemistry, Biology, Biomedical Engineering and the Medical Center. 

Materials Chemistry Cluster

The Materials Chemistry cluster has been assembled to pull together scientists from across campus that are thinking about novel materials organized at the molecular length scale.


The Department supports its programs with state-of-the-art instrumentation, much of which has been acquired through competitive instrumentation grants from the NSF and NIH, and also private and corporate donors. All of the departmental instruments are used by students and faculty in a “hands-on” manner, and most are available 24 hours a day. Six technical staff members are available to train new users, help with troubleshooting, and offer advice on special problems.

The River Campus Libraries has resources specially selected for students and professors in the Chemistry department. Visit Chemistry @ Carlson Library to learn more.