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PHYS Symposia at the Fall 2013 ACS National Meeting
in Indianapolis, Indiana

Program Chair: Prof. Joel Bowman

The Physical Chemistry Division is pleased to sponsor the following symposia at the upcoming ACS National Meeting, September 8-12, in Indianapolis. The complete symposium schedules are available on the ACS website here.


Solar energy conversion remains one of the most important scientific challenges. The overall solar-to-electricity and solar-to-fuel conversion processes involve many elementary steps, such as exciton dynamics, energy transfer, electron transfer, charge transport, and multi-electron, multi-proton chemical reactions. Fundamental understanding of these processes is essential to the design and improvement of existing solar energy conversion devices, as well as to the development of new and revolutionary concepts. Many of these processes occur in novel molecular assemblies, nano-structures, and hybrid materials. Their understanding will require state-of-the art experimental and theoretical tools in physical chemistry. This symposium will bring together experimental and theoretical physical chemists who are investigating various fundamental processes involved in solar energy conversion. It will provide a forum for discussing the latest scientific discovery and showcase various solar-energy conversion related physical chemistry research areas.

Tim Lian, Emory University,
Brian Dyer, Emory University,


This symposium aims to bring together leading efforts in pushing the horizon of joint space-time resolution of relevance to chemistry. Multiple approaches are pursued to see chemistry in the act, in real-time, and with molecular or sub-molecular spatial resolution by employing multi-dimensional (space, time, energy, momentum) measurement techniques. This is an active field that is growing with the advancement of enabling tools and theory. The methods invariably combine ultrafast laser methodologies with x-ray or electron probing and imaging, and novel approaches in nonlinear optical, nano-optical and scan-probe microscopies. The theoretical contributions focus on single-electron transport, collective plasmonic response, and nonlinear spectroscopy and scattering. A tutorial session to serve students and the broader public will be included

Vartkess A. Apkarian, University of Califonria, Irvine,
Hrvoje Petek, University of Pittsburgh,


The challenge in investigating the properties of complex fluids, important in many relevant applications in biology and engineering, is their development over a large range of length- and time-scales. This symposium focuses on both fundamental and theoretical approaches that bridge different length- and time-scales in complex systems, as well as on novel computational approaches developed to speed up simulations through coarse-graining and multiscale modeling. Fundamental theories for the structure and dynamics of complex systems have a long and illustrious history. Recent years have witnessed the development of numerous coarse-graining approaches to simulate both synthetic and biological systems. Theory is guiding the choice of the variables to coarse-grain and the methodology of coarse- graining. The goal of this symposium is to showcase the state-of-the-art progress in this rapidly evolving field, and to encourage discussion among the scientists working on theoretical approaches that bridge length- and time-scales for the structure and dynamics of complex macromolecular systems as well as coarse-graining methods and their applications.

Marina G. Guenza, University of Oregon,
Barbara Capone, University of Vienna,


Electrostatic forces are crucial for many key biochemical processes. For example all energy transduction processes, such as catalysis, proton transport, electron transfer and ion homeostasis involve electrostatic interactions. Similarly, all salt and pH-dependent processes are mostly driven by electrostatics. The goal of this symposium is to bring together wet- and dry-lab researchers with common interests in understanding the electrostatic effects in biological macromolecules and to forge new collaborations or strengthen ongoing collaborations between investigators. Presentations that focus on utilizing and developing different experimental and computational methods will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches and will contribute to further improvements. The symposium aims to identify important new questions for which experiment is necessary for physical insight, to guide extension of theoretical and computational models, and to provide quantitative data for benchmark of models.

Emil Alexov, Clemson University,
Ray Luo, University of California, Irvine,


About 20% of our electrical energy is consumed by lighting. Solid-state lighting (SSL), based on semiconductor light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or organic light-emitting diodes (OLED), has the potential for greatly increasing the efficiency with which we light our homes and offices. The first commercial SSL products for general illumination are now appearing. However, there is still much room for improvements and innovations in the materials, energy transfer mechanisms, and architectures for solid-state lighting. This symposium will include topics in SSL that are ripe for contributions from the Physical Chemistry community. For example, new phosphor materials, and potentially other novel wavelength down-converters such as quantum dots, are needed for efficient production of full-spectrum light by wavelength conversion from primary LED or OLED emitters. Novel SSL architectures could enable more efficient emitters, control of spatial and spectral emission properties, and improved light extraction, beyond the present SSL designs.

Mike Coltrin, Sandia National Labs,
Mark Thompson, University of Southern California,


This symposium focuses on the broad interplay between space missions, telescopic observations, laboratory spectroscopy, theoretical investigations, and fundamental laboratory studies on molecular processes, which contribute to the chemical formation and evolution of distinct bodies in our Solar System. Topics will include the evolution of atmospheres of planets and their moons via gas-phase neutral and ion chemistry, surface chemistry induced by energetic photons and charged particles, spectroscopy of exotic compounds and surface ice spectroscopy, state-of-the-art analytical tools to derive the composition of meteorites, interplanetary and cometary dust, and guiding and interpretive theoretical computations and models. This symposium will bring together communities focused on space missions and terrestrial astronomical observations, with atmospheric modelers, quantum chemists, kineticists, and dynamicists, so that these communities can develop a common language and work together to identify the chemical frontiers that must be addressed and the approaches best suited to meet these challenges.

Ralf Kaiser, University of Hawaii,
Nadia Balucani, University of Perugia, Italy,


The abundance of water in nature, its function as a universal solvent, and its role in many chemical, material, and biological processes, is the driving force behind the need to understand its properties and behavior under different conditions and its function in different environments. The symposium aims at capturing recent experimental and theoretical advances in the fields of water clusters, aqueous interfaces, ions in water, water in biological systems, the structure and H-bond dynamics of liquid water, the development of interaction potentials (from classical to quantum) for aqueous solutions and the electronic structure of aqueous systems.

Sotiris Xantheas, PNNL,
Richard Saykally, UC Berkeley,


The quantum N-body problem at the core of chemical theory has an exponential complexity with the number of degrees of freedom. Hence all areas of first-principles chemical simulation must deal with the "curse of dimensionality" that limits the description of quantum effects to relatively simple systems. Several approaches designed to break the curse (Monte-Carlo, many-body expansion, tensor decomposition) have evolved in each domain of chemical theory, yet there are strong similarities between the seemingly domain-specific techniques. This symposium will bring together researchers from several domains of chemical theory (electronic structure, vibrational structure, dynamics) as well as related fields (physics, mathematics) in an attempt to identify and exploit the common threads of inquiry across the disciplines.

Edward Valeev, Virginia Tech,

Physical Chemistry Symposium Workshop for Undergraduate Chemistry Majors

The Workshop for Undergraduate Chemistry Majors is targeted for current junior chemistry majors, who will be seniors at the time of the Philadelphia meeting. Up to 25 outstanding undergraduate chemistry students have been selected for a series of undergraduate-focused talks and social events during the Indianapolis meeting. In addition, they will be expected to present posters on their research as part of the PHYS poster session. The application deadline has passed, but we encourage attendance at the workshop by all interested participants.

Carol Parish, University of Richmond,

Postdoctoral Research Awards

The PHYS Division will highlight leading research by postdoctoral fellows at the Fall National ACS meeting in Philadelphia through a series of special awards. Awardees will give oral presentations in a PHYS symposium and attend the PHYS executive-committee dinner. The deadline for applications has already passed, and selections will be announced by May 2012.

Physical Chemistry Poster Session

Contributions from all areas of physical chemistry are highly encouraged for the poster session to be held on Wednesday evening, September 11, 2013. At the meeting in Indianapolis, IN, several awards with monetary prizes will be awarded for student posters. To be eligible for the awards, the presenting author must be a graduate or undergraduate student at the time of the poster presentation.

Joel Bowman, Emory University,