Department Web-Page

Dr. Thomas E Albrecht-Schmitt

Dr. Thomas E Albrecht-Schmitt

Gregory R. Choppin Professor

B.S. Southwest State University, Marshall, MN, 1993 M.S. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 1994 Ph.D. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 1997 Post-Doctoral Associate, University of Illinois, 1997-1998

Contact Information
5003 CSL 850.645.0477
5701 CSL 850.645.0478
Programs of Research
Research Website
Research Specialities
Radiochemistry, Solid State Chemistry, Structure and Bonding, Synthesis and Catalysis
13 Graduate; 3 Postdoc; 1 Visiting

Research Interest

Deep into the periodic table the increasing effects of relativity, spin-orbit coupling, and the subtle rearrangement of frontier orbital energies challenges our ability to predict and understand the chemical and physical properties of heavy elements like berkelium, californium, and einsteinium. Recent experimental and computational developments reveal that models based on monotonic changes in electronic structure across heavy element series do not occur, and that perhaps the current arrangement of the periodic table has started to unravel. Our group prepares and studies rare of examples of materials and complexes of the heaviest elements for which macroscopic properties can be obtained from nuclear reactors. We use a wide variety of characterization tools, but focus extensively on advanced X-ray diffraction techniques in order to probe the electronic structure of f-block compounds. We work extensively with theorists to understand the origins of the exotic properties of these elements. The ultimate goal of this work is to understand the bonding in these elements well enough for molecules and materials to be tailored to achieve desired properties, which is currently quite challenging to achieve.

Faculty Interview


M. A. Silver, S. K. Cary, A. J. Garza, R. E. Baumbach, A. A. Arico, G. A. Galmin, K.-W. Chen, J. A. Johnson, J. C. Wang, R. J. Clark, A. Chemey, T. M. Eaton, M. L. Marsh, K. Seidler, S. S. Galley, L. van de Burgt, A. L. Gray, D. E. Hobart, K. Hanson, S. M. Van Cleve, F. Gendron, J. Autschbach, G. E. Scuseria, L. Maron, M. Speldrich, P. Kögerler, C. Celis-Barros, D. Páez-Hernández, R. Arratia-Pérez, M. Ruf, T. E. Albrecht-Schmitt, “Electronic Structure and Properties of Berkelium Iodates,” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2017, 139, 13361-13375. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b05569
S. K. Cary, R. E. Baumbach, J. N. Cross, J. T. Stritzinger, M. J. Polinski, T. E. Albrecht-Schmitt, “Incipient Class II Mixed-Valency in a Plutonium Solid-State Compound,” Nature Chemistry, 2017, 9, 856-861. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2777
M. A. Silver, S. K. Cary, J. A. Johnson, R. E. Baumbach, A. A. Arico, M. Luckey, M. Urban, J. C. Wang, M. J. Polinski, A. Chemey, G. Liu, K.-W. Chen, S. M. Van Cleve, M. L. Marsh, T. M. Eaton, B. van de Burgt, A. L. Gray, D. E. Hobart, K. Hanson, L. Maron, J. Braley, T. E. Albrecht-Schmitt, “Characterization of berkelium(III) dipicolinate and borate compounds in solution and the solid state,” Science, 2016, 353, 888-894. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf3762.
S. K. Cary, M. Vasiliu, R. E. Baumbach, J. T. Stritzinger, T. D. Green, K. Diefenbach, J. N. Cross, K. L. Knappenberger, G. Liu, M. A. Silver, A. E. DePrince III, S. M. Van Cleve, J. H. House, N. Kikugawa, A. Gallagher, A. A. Arico, D. A. Dixon, T. E. Albrecht-Schmitt, “Emergence of Californium as the Second Transitional Element in the Actinide Series,” Nature Communications, 2015, 6, 6827-34. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7827.
T. E. Albrecht-Schmitt, “Californium Gleaming,” Nature Chemistry, 2014, 6, 840. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2035
M. J. Polinski, E. B. Garner III, R. Maurice, N. Planas, J. T. Stritzinger, T. G. Parker, T. D. Green, E. V. Alekseev, S. M. Van Cleve, W. Depmeier, L. Gagliardi, M. Shatruk, K. L. Knappenberger, G. Liu, S. Skanthakumar, L. Soderholm, D. A. Dixon, T. E. Albrecht-Schmitt, “Unusual Structure, Properties, and Bonding in a Californium Borate,” Nature Chemistry, 2014, 6, 387-392. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1896