School of Molecular Sciences


In this group, a wide range of physical measurements on liquid structure, transport properties and thermodynamic characteristics are carried out, with emphasis on metastable (supercooled, superpressurized) or stretched state behavior. One branch of this program focuses attention on microsample techniques for studying the physical properties of supercooled and stretched (negative pressure) states of common molecular liquids such as H2O, benzene, and CCL4, which normally can only be studied above their melting points. At the other extreme, computer simulation studies using sophisticated multicomponent molecular dynamics programs are used to study liquid silicates and glasses under extreme conditions: also the stability limits of crystalline materials on compression and stretching.

A major component of the group's research at the moment involves synthesis and characterization of new, highly stable, electrolytes and polymers for applications in electrochemical power systems. The group has five patents granted or pending and collaborates with a Tucson company involved in manufacture of rechargeable batteries for mobile phones and related purposes. Most recently, the group has become involved in glass-glass phase transitions and the relations between unexpected phase transitions in supercooled liquid water and major structural changes in biopolymers (see article in Science 1995). For information on current research activities please check out our current abstracts