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High-Pressure Chemical Physics

The J. Mathias Weber group studies the effects of high pressure on the behavior of supramolecular assemblies and nanocrystals. The Weber group collaborates with the Ralph Jimenez group, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the University of Melbourne (Australia).

One avenue of research on supermolecular chemistry focuses on studies of how crystal structures change at high pressures and the determination of optical and electrical properties of the novel structures. Another avenue is the investigation of nanoscale materials fabrication. At pressures of around tens of thousands of atmospheres, nanoparticles can form new materials that may persist even after the pressure is brought back to normal.

Despite the high pressures used, testing of supramolecular assemblies under high pressure is a rather gentle method, since high pressure merely reduces the distances between molecules in a sample. The Weber group collaborates with the Jimenez group on investigations of the high-pressure behavior of fluorescent proteins containing slightly different configurations of their internal chromophores.