Chemical Physics


Graduate education in the sciences is currently under reexamination because the classical programs do not always address the needs of people working in new areas of fundamental and commercial interest. Chemical physics involves activities at the interface between the classical disciplines of physics and physical chemistry and may encompass such areas as atomic and molecular spectroscopy, intra and intermolecular interactions, solid state and surface physics and chemistry, and properties of complex materials. The Departments of Chemistry and Physics at the University of Virginia offer a program in Chemical Physics that involves faculty and resources from both departments and provides students with a comprehensive preparation for work at this increasingly crucial interface of disciplines.


Louis A. Bloomfield Louis A. Bloomfield
Ph.D., 1983, Stanford

Professor Bloomfield is studying borosilicones, remarkable materials that have been misunderstood for over 70 years. Dismissed as scientifically uninteresting and used as children's toys (e.g., Silly Putty), borosilicones are actually network liquids---dynamic macromolecules that appear elastic on short timescales but exhibit flow on longer timescales. Each borosilicone is a vast covalent network of silicone polymer chains joined by 3-attachment boron crosslinks. At any instant, a borosilicone is a highly-crosslinked elastic material. Because the boron crosslinks are temporary, ... More>

Robert R. Jones, Jr. Robert R. Jones, Jr.
Ph.D., 1990, Virginia

Much of the current research in atomic physics focuses on the use of extremely well-controlled electromagnetic fields to coherently manipulate the internal and external degrees of freedom of atoms. Jones and his students use lasers to cool and trap atoms, to spin molecules in order to align their axes along a particular direction in the laboratory, and to drive electrons within atoms and molecules in particular directions at specific times. These optical techniques serve as tools which allow them to view very fast processes within atoms and molecules and to perform experiments exploring ... More>

Kevin Lehmann Kevin Lehmann
Ph.D., 1983, Harvard

High Resolution Laser Spectroscopy: Development of double resonance techniques for the study of excited vibrational and electronic states of polyatomic molecules; spectroscopy and dynamics of atoms and molecules in helium and molecular hydrogen nanoclusters, determination of the magnitude of intermode coupling constants or intramolecular relaxation rates; development of new spectroscopic methods of extreme sensitivity; development of new sources of tunable, high spectral brightness light; spectroscopic applications to environmental monitoring. More>