College of Science

Physical Chemistry

G. N. Lewis once defined physical chemistry as anything that is interesting – that is still the most concise and accurate description of this diverse and fascinating field. Physical chemistry is inherently multidisciplinary; it encompasses a wide range of experimental and theoretical approaches; its broad aim is to fundamentally understand and predict the behavior of chemical systems; its objects range rom nuclear particles to atoms, molecules, clusters, biological materials and macroscopic assemblies. Physical chemistry research at Purdue spans all of the above areas, and extends beyond the Department of Chemistry to include biological and engineering collaborations throughout the Purdue campus and the Birck Nantechnology and Bindley Bioscience facilities in the newly completed Discovery Park.


A quantum mechanical demonstration
of the correspondence principle.

More specifically, physical chemistry research groups at Purdue develop and use new experimental and theoretical methods to study the structure, dynamics, kinetics, and thermochemistry of molecules undergoing bimolecular reaction, photodissociation, isomerization, solvation, and diffusion, as well as processes occurring in combustion, planetary atmospheres, high pressure solutions, membranes, surfaces, and the machinery inside of living cells.


Simulation of cluster formation
of highly ordered nanoparticles
on surfaces upon adsorption of
polymers (red).

Physical Chemistry Faculty in Chemistry