Department of Chemistry

Your Name
Friend's Email Address

Joseph S. Francisco

Professor Joseph S. FranciscoWilliam E. Moore Distinguished Professor—Physical Chemistry
Phone: 765-494-7851
Office: BRWN 1159

For Professor Francisco's individual Home Page click here.

Research in our laboratory focuses on basic studies in spectroscopy, kinetics and photochemistry of novel transient species in the gas phase. These species play an important role in atmospheric, biochemical and combustion processes. Yet questions dealing with how structures correlate to reactivity and photochemical mechanisms have not been addressed for these systems. These problems are addressed by research efforts in our laboratory. Specific research areas of interest are: 1) Spectroscopic determinations of electronic and vibrational transitions in free radicals; 2) Measurement of the kinetics of individual gas-phase reaction steps involving free radicals in complex reaction mechanisms; and 3) Characteristics of primary photo chemical processes that free radicals can undergo.

Theoretical and experimental methods are used cooperatively in extending spectroscopic information on these species. Our goal is to use state-of-the-art molecular orbital methods to predict properties that can be used as a guide in the experimental search. Using a variety of high resolution laser techniques, such as laser-induced fluorescence, vibrational and electronic emission, multiphoton and UV absorption spectroscopy, we aim to make spectroscopic measurements for these novel species in the gas phase, and fully characterize them.

Work in our laboratory includes measurements of the kinetics of elementary gas phase reactions of free radicals involved in complex reaction mechanisms. Using photolysis-laser induced fluorescence, photolysis-time resolved chemiluminescence, and photolysis-UV absorption techniques, we are able to study the reactions of specific intermediates in real-time. These techniques are used to study reactions involved in the gas phase atmospheric oxidation of chlorofluorocarbons and their potential replacements. This process is important toward understanding how the chemistry of man-made materials perturbs the ozone concentration profiles in the upper atmosphere.


B.S., 1977, University of Texas at Austin; Ph.D., 1983, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cambridge University (England), 1983-1985; Provost Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1985.


  • Member, National Academy of Sciences, 2013
  • Fellow of the American Chemical Society, 2012
  • Honorary Doctor of Science Degree, Knox College, 2012
  • Honorary Doctor of Science Degree, University of South Florida, 2012
  • Edward W. Morley Medal, American Chemical Society Cleveland Section, 2011
  • Honorary Doctor of Science Degree, University of Arkansas-Little Rock, 2011
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2010
  • Honorary Doctor of Science Degree, Tuskegee University, 2010
  • President, American Chemical Society, 2010
  • Herbert Newby McCoy Award, 2007
  • President of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, 2005-2007
  • Alexandar von Humboldt Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists, 2001
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2001
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, 1998
  • Guggenheim Fellowship , 1993
  • Research Associate, California Institute of Technology, 1991
  • Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, 1990-95
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, 1990-92
  • National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator, 1988-93
  • Provost Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1985

Selected Publications

  • Buszek R. J.;Francisco, J. S., The Gas-Phase Decomposition of CF3OH with Water: A Radical-Catalyzed Mechanism . Journal of Physical Chemistry A 2009 , 113 , 5333-5341.
  • Yu H. G.;Francisco, J. S., Theoretical Study of the Reaction of CH3 with HOCO Radicals . Journal of Physical Chemistry A 2009 , 113 , 3844-3849.
  • Du S. Y.;Francisco, J. S., Spectroscopic properties and stability of the SH center dot H2O open shell complex . Journal of Chemical Physics 2009 , 130 , -.
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