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David Craig Lecture 2017

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Date: Thursday 10 August 2017
Venue: Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship, AGSE207, Hawthorn Campus

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Basic Chemical Theory is Critical to Understanding Nanoparticle Synthesis, 2D Nanostructures, and Photosynthetic Function

Jeffrey R. Reimers FAA FRACI

International Centre for Quantum and Molecular Structures, Shanghai University, China
School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Technology Sydney

Chemistry over the millennia has had many great successes, often despite fundamental knowledge of the actual processes involved. The advent of quantum mechanics a hundred years ago provides the modern basis for understanding these processes, but this theory depicts great complexity rather than the desired simplicity. As a result, modern chemical understanding has become partitioned into different theories for different applications, without any unifying overview. Many fundamental questions often result in an answer of “it does not matter”, but in modern contexts of nanotechnology and biotechnology involving interdisciplinary work, the nature of the bonding can become critical.

For example:

  1. the nature of Au-S bonding is critical to the understanding of nanoparticle synthesis and spectroscopy
  2. understanding the difference in shapes and reactivity between second-row molecules and later analogues requires focusing on Rydberg orbital properties
  3. aromaticity and isomerization reactions have the one common origin
  4. van der Waals forces control many aspects of device assembly and materials properties
  5. breakdown of the Born-Oppenheimer approximation controls many critical properties such as the nature of light absorption by chlorophyll5 and primary charge separation in bacterial photosynthesis
  6. chemical entanglement can be described for all processes, including neural ones.

This lecture, dedicated to David Craig, proposes a simple and unified way to treat all processes from the bond in hydrogen to aromaticity to metallic bonding using the same chemical language and notation, allowing these diverse processes to be quantitatively compared one to another. It provides answers to fundamental chemical problems unsolved for the last 20, 30, 50, 80, or 100 years, showing how to make better molecules and devices in the future.

 Jeffrey R Reimers FAA FRACI, International Centre for Quantum and Molecular Structures, Shanghai University, China

About the presenter

Jeff Reimers studied organic spectroscopy under Ian Ross and Gad Fischer before doing a PhD with Bob Watts on the structure, thermodynamics, and spectroscopy of water and ice. He then studied semiclassical quantum mechanics in USA under Kent Wilson and Rick Heller before returning to Australia to be an ARC Research Fellow from 1985 to 2010 at the University of Sydney. There he collaborated extensively with Noel Hush and Max Crossley on problems involving electron transfer, molecular electronics, porphyrin chemistry, self-assembly, electronic-structure theory, and photosynthesis.

In 2014 he moved to a joint appointment at University of Technology Sydney and Shanghai University, focusing on new methods for protein crystallography and molecular electronics. His work spans a wide range of chemical applications, from biochemical function to electronic devices to the origins of consciousness.

He has received the RACI Physical Chemistry Division Medal and the H.G. Smith Medal, the David Craig Medal of the Australian Academy of Science, and is a Fellow of the RACI and the Australian Academy of Science.

Contact Information: Peter Kingshott