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Chemistry Research


Physical Chemistry

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Physical chemistry is the study of macroscopic, and particulate phenomena in chemical systems in terms of the principles, practices, and concepts of physics such as motion, energy, force, time thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, statistical mechanics, analytical dynamics and chemical equilibrium.

Physical chemistry, in contrast to chemical physics, is predominantly (but not always) a macroscopic or supra-molecular science, as the majority of the principles on which it was founded relate to the bulk rather than the molecular/atomic structure alone (for example, chemical equilibrium and colloids).

 

Faculty in this Research Area

 

Dr. Joshua Hollett - Development of new, more efficient, methods for modelling electronic structure

Dr. Hollett's research involves the development of new, more efficient, methods for modelling electronic structure.  Computational chemistry methods are plagued by the electron correlation problem.  Accurate calculations require models that correlate the motion of electrons, however conventional models are generally too expensive, computationally, for large systems.  An alternative is Natural Orbital Functional Theory (NOFT), which provides a framework for a economical and accurate treatment of electron correlation.   A solution to the correlation problem lies with the development of an accurate natural orbital correlation funcitonal.

He is also interested in the application of existing computational chemistry methodologies to complex chemical problems, particularly, computational virology. The development of treatments for devastating diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis C is deeply rooted in understanding the complex interactions between viruses and the immune system. Much can be learned about these interactions by studying viruses such as HIV and HCV and cells of the immune system at the molecular level. The proteins involved in virus replication, T-cell recognition, and drug interactions can all be modeled computationally to shed light on this important biological problem.

 

Dr. Christopher Wiebe - Characterization of New Magnetic Oxides

Dr. Wiebe is interested in the synthesis and characterization of new magnetic oxides. As a former faculty member of Florida State University, he is currently supervising several graduate students in his synthesis and crystal growth lab there. He is also in the process of establishing a solid state chemistry lab here at the University of Winnipeg.

His primary interest is in what is called strongly correlated electron systems, or materials which have unusual magnetic or electrical behavior. These include functional materials, such as new solid state batteries, multiferroics, or superconductors, but they also include systems of theoretical interest, such as geometrically frustrated magnets, low dimensional compounds, and heavy fermion compounds. As an experimentalist, his main methods of characterization include diffraction techniques such as x-ray scattering and neutron scattering, but the bulk of his time is spent on the synthesis and crystal growth of these new materials here at the University of Winnipeg.