Welcome to Inorganic Chemistry

Inorganic Chemistry encompasses fundamental studies of the properties and reactivities of nearly all of the elements, and the roles of metals in biological systems. It impacts diverse technologies, ranging from catalysis and the synthesis of new materials, to drug design and sensor fabrication. The faculty are synthesizing novel boron and carborane compounds for cancer treatment, and new organometallic complexes for synthesis and catalysis. Innovative low-pressure, low-temperature routes for obtaining high-purity ceramic materials are also being developed. New types of monolayers, thin films and polymer membranes are being fabricated and characterized for use in electronics, sensors and separations. State-of-the-art laser spectroscopic methods are being used to understand the structure and reactivity of complex molecules in the gas phase, solution and ultrathin films. Research into the functions of metal complexes in biological systems is providing new insights into disease processes and strategies for treatments and cures. From synthesis to fabrication, from the nanoscale to living organisms, inorganic research at UCLA combines breadth and innovation.

For information on the application process, please contact the Graduate Office.


Mahdi Abu-Omar, Assistant Professor. Inorganic, bioinorganic, and catalytic chemistry. Metal-mediated oxygen- and nitrogen-transfer reactions. Kinetics and mechanisms of catalytic reactions. Green chemistry: transition-metal catalysts in benign oxidations. Activation of molecular oxygen by pterin-dependent metalloenzymes exemplified by phenylalanine hydroxylase.

Robin Garrell , Associate Professor.

M. Frederick Hawthorne, University Professor of Chemistry. Inorganic and organic chemistry; host-guest chemistry with macrocyclic electrophilic carborane-supported host molecules; synthesis of ordered structures comprised of carborane motifs for use in supramolecular arrays, liposomes and films; synthesis and evaluation of boron-rich species capable of selectively placing large numbers of boron atoms within malignant cell nuclei for the purpose of applying the binary [10]B+[1]n -->[4]He+[7]Li+2.4 MeV reaction to cancer therapy. Highly substituted carboranes and polyhedral ions for drug delivery, dendrimers and use as pharmacophores.

Herbert D. Kaesz, Professor. Chemistry of the transition metals, especially organometallic derivatives; metal and hydrido-metal cluster complexes; metal and alloy crystallites for microelectronics and for catalysis; aromatic metalation; studies into the mechanism of liquefaction and hetero-atom removal in fossil fuels by low valent metal coplexes of the transition metals; pathways of homogeneous catalysis; spectroscopic and structural studies of organometallic compounds. Chemical vapor deposition of thin films of transition metals and their alloys from organometallic precursors.

Richard B. Kaner , Professor. Inorganic chemistry; solid-state synthesis and characterization; rapid precursor routes to carbon nanotubes and refractory materials; conducting polymers as separation membranes for gases, liquids and enantiomers; new materials for thermoelectrics.

Joan S. Valentine, Professor. Oxygen and bioinorganic chemistry; bioinorganic models for transition-metal induced oxidative stress in neurodegenerative diseases and aging; study of structure-function relationships in the enzyme copper-zinc superoxide; biochemistry of oxygen, superoxide, and peroxide.

John T. Wasson, Professor. Cosmochemistry, chemical and isotopic evolution of the solar nebula; formation of nebular solids, agglomeration of chondritic meteorites; origin and composition of iron meteorites; neutron activation; noble metals as tracers of major impacts on the Earth; origin of tektites.

Jeffrey I. Zink, Professor. Inorganic and Physical Chemistry. Laser photodeposition of metals and semiconductors; photodeposition and photofragmentation pathways studied by mass-selected resonance-enhanced multi-photon ionization spectroscopy; excited state structure, dynamics and reactions of metal complexes studied by electronic and resonance Raman spectroscopies; time-dependent theory of electronic spectroscopy; optical sol-gel biosensors; templated meso-structured inorganic films; exotic sol-gel "smart" materials.