We are interested in organic photochemistry, reactive intermediates, and sulfur chemistry. Photochemistry can be uniquely interesting from a mechanistic-organic or physical-organic perspective, because photochemical reactions allow study not only of starting materials and products, but quite often of the short-lived intermediates that we write to account for reactions. As a result, we can get a terrifically detailed picture of what is going on in a chemical reaction. Most of the time, these intermediates are characterized by various spectroscopic methods. We use both emission and absorption spectroscopy on the nanosecond to millisecond timescale, for instance. In the last few years, we have also taken to using computational chemistry to characterize certain intermediates or to "measure" certain properties that are difficult to access using experiments. This has broadened our arsenal for the understanding of organic reactions; we believe a working knowledge of computational chemistry is almost a requirement these days for the mechanistic- or physical-organic chemist.
William S Jenks
Area of Expertise:
Chemistry Reactive Intermediates
Computational Organic Chemistry
Physical Organic Chemistry