Department of Chemistry

Your Name
Friend's Email Address

Timothy Zwier

Professor Timothy  ZwierM. G. Mellon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry—Physical Chemistry
Phone: 765-494-5278
Office: BRWN B155

For Professor Zwier's individual Home Page click here.

Research in the Zwier group utilizes lasers as probes of the structure, dynamics, and photochemistry of isolated molecules and molecular clusters. Pulsed, tunable radiation spanning the infrared, visible, ultraviolet, and vacuum ultraviolet regions of the spectrum is used for this purpose. In much of our work, a supersonic expansion is used to cool the molecules in the gas phase and to form molecular clusters containing from two to tens of molecules. Molecular spectroscopy of these species employs various laser-based methods including laser-induced fluorescence, resonant multiphoton ionization time-of-flight mass spectroscopy, cavity ring-down spectroscopy, and a number of double resonance schemes.

One of our current research projects involves the study of the spectroscopy and dynamics of flexible biomolecules. The spectroscopic signatures of single conformations of these molecules are determined, and then used to selectively excite single conformations in order to study their conformational isomerization dynamics.

Another area of active investigation is the photochemistry of small hydrocarbons and nitriles of relevance to planetary atmospheres, where we seek to determine the source of the visible absorbing haze present in the atmosphere of Titan, one of the moons of Saturn.

Finally, we are studying the spectroscopy and dynamics of chemical isomerization processes that lead to aromatic ring formation in combustion, a key precursor to soot formation.


B.S. 1977, Calvin College; Ph.D. 1981, University of Colorado at Boulder.


  • Fellow of the American Chemical Society, 2010
  • Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy from the American Physical Society, 2007
  • Senior Editor, Journal of Physical Chemistry, 2003-present
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2000
  • JILA Visiting Fellow, 1994-95
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, 1989-91

Selected Publications

  • Zwier T. S., Squeezing the Water Out of HCl(aq) . Science 2009 , 324 , 1522-1523.
  • James W. H.;Baquero, E. E.;Shubert, V. A.;Choi, S. H.;Gellman, S. H.;Zwier, T. S., Single-Conformation and Diastereomer Specific Ultraviolet and Infrared Spectroscopy of Model Synthetic Foldamers: alpha/beta-Peptides . Journal of the American Chemical Society 2009 , 131 , 6574-6590.
  • Pillsbury N. R.;Muller, C. W.;Meerts, W. L.;Plusquellic, D. F.;Zwier, T. S., Conformational Effects on Excitonic Interactions in a Prototypical H-Bonded Bichromophore: Bis(2-hydroxyphenyl)methane . Journal of Physical Chemistry A 2009 , 113 , 5000-5012.
More Publications

Paul Shepson, Head
Feedback | E-mail Webmaster

Purdue University, 560 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907
(765) 494-5200
© 2010 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints
If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact the Webmaster at