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Jeffrey T. Roberts

Jeffrey T. Roberts
  • Professor — Physical Chemistry
  • Phone:765-494-5218
  • Office: BRWN 1153

Jeffrey Roberts is an accomplished scientist in the field of physical and materials chemistry. He was the third chemist to serve as Dean of Science at Purdue.

He applies the surface chemical properties of aerosol nanoparticles in two research areas: the fate and properties of anthropogenic (human-derived) nanoparticles when they are emitted into the atmosphere; and the deliberate synthesis of nanoparticles for materials and catalysis applications.

His research in environmental surface chemistry involves understanding how water interacts with soot particles to form clouds in the atmosphere. Freshly generated soot is an example of what a chemist would call a hydrophobic substance–it doesn't interact in a favorable way with water. A good way to visualize the hydrophobic qualities of soot is to touch a candle wick immediately after the candle is blown out. The candle soot left on your finger is somewhat greasy and repels water. There is something that happens to soot particles after they are released into the atmosphere–some kind of processing that happens at the surface that coverts soot into water-attracting condensation nuclei.

His other research area focuses on nanoparticle materials and catalysis applications. A proposal for a study on the catalytic activity of gold that he recently submitted to the National Science Foundation has been recommended for funding, and the work would be conducted at Purdue. The project would include student exchanges at the graduate and undergraduate levels with the University of Karlsruhe in Germany.


  • Ph.D., 1988, Harvard University
  • B.S. in Chemistry, 1982, University of California, Berkeley


Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

Department of Chemistry, 560 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2084 | Telephone: (765) 494-5200 | Fax: (765) 494-0239

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