Physical and Fundamental Chemistry
New Mexico Tech faculty covers a broad range of research areas that fall under the general umbrella of physical and theoretical chemistry. The faculty interests encompass both fundamental ("basic") and applied topics. We primarily approach physical problems using spectroscopy, catalysis, photochemistry, as well as computational and theoretical chemistry.
Dr. Altig and his team construct computational models involving quantum chemical and biophysical calculations using commercial software such as Gaussian or Autodock to examine the structure of small organic molecules and how they interact with larger biomolecules. They have been examining the structure of Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) and the factors which influence its stability as an energetic material.
Professor, Department Chair
Broadly defined by the area of Physical Organic chemistry, research in the Heagy group involves design and synthesis of new dyes; specifically dual fluorescent platforms for ion and molecule detection. Panchromatic emissive systems are under study for WOLED devices. Toward solar fuels, earth abundant semiconductor materials are being explored at the nanoscale size for photocatalytic conversion of green house gas, carbon dioxide and its water solubilized analog, bicarbonate to formate and methanol.
Dr. Pias studies the structural dynamics of biochemical systems, with the aim of gaining insight into metabolic regulatory mechanisms. Her current focus is on oxygen flux across biological membranes and other cellular lipid structures. Given the central importance of aerobic metabolism for human health, hindrance of oxygen transport on the cellular level can have enormous consequences, impacting tumor cell metabolism, cardiac function, and diabetic insulin response. The Pias Group takes a biophysical chemistry approach, using computer simulations to gain insight into lipid structural dynamics and oxygen diffusion.
Photonic and electronic materials play a key role in advancing solar energy based novel technologies. My research interests focused on studying photophysical properties of novel materials for solar energy capture, conversion and storage as well as photocatalytic conversion of carbon dioxide into methanol.