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Michael J. Therien

William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
Box 90346, Durham, NC 27708-0346
5330 French Family Science Cen, Durham, NC 27708


Our research involves the synthesis of compounds, supermolecular assemblies, nano-scale objects, and electronic materials with unusual ground-and excited-state characteristics, and interrogating these structures using state-of-the-art transient optical, spectroscopic, photophysical, and electrochemical methods. Research activities span physical inorganic chemistry, physical organic chemistry, synthetic chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, spectroscopy, photophysics, excited-state dynamics, spintronics, and imaging. My laboratory: (i) designs chromophores and supermolecules that display exceptional opto-electronic properties and elucidates their excited-state dynamics, (ii) engineers highly conjugated molecular structures for optical limiting, specialized emission, and high charge mobility, (iii) designs conjugated materials and hybrid molecular-nanoscale structures for energy conversion reactions, (iv) develops molecular wires that propagate spin-polarized currents, (v) fabricates emissive nanoscale structures for in vivo optical imaging, (vi) engineers de novo transition metal cofactor-binding proteins that test light-driven biological energy transducing mechanisms and realize opto-electronic functionalities not found in nature, and (vii) designs and interrogates complex molecular and nanoscale assemblies in which ultrafast energy and charge migration reactions are controlled by quantum coherence effects.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemistry · 2009 - Present Chemistry, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Professor of Chemistry · 2008 - Present Chemistry, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute · 2008 - Present Duke Cancer Institute, Institutes and Centers
Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative · 2012 - Present Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, Initiatives

Education, Training & Certifications

University of California, San Diego · 1987 Ph.D.
University of St. Andrews (United Kingdom) · 1982 B.S.