Neils Damrauer

Niels H. Damrauer

Associate Professor

Office: Ekeley W133
Office Phone: 303 735 1280
Lab: Cristol Chemistry 128
Lab Phone: 303 492 5608, 303 492 7139
Fax: 303 492 5894
Group Website: Damrauer Lab
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Ph.D.: University of California, Berkeley, 2000
Postdoctoral Fellow: Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Würzburg, 2000-2001
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2002-2003


  • 2009 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship
  • 2009 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER)
  • 2008 Honda Initiation Grant Award

Photochemical Control of Electron-Transfer and Multielectron Chemistry using Shaped Light Fields and Molecular Structure

Research in my group involves a multifaceted approach that combines state of the art physical techniques, synthetic methodologies, and theoretical tools. The chemical questions we ask and answer lie primarily under the umbrella of physical inorganic chemistry with an emphasis on electron-transfer control, solar energy conversion, bioenergetic conversion, photocatalysis, and multielectron chemistry.

One important physical tool that is used – adaptive femtosecond pulse shaping – is a powerful recent development in laser spectroscopy. Its importance stems from the use of an adaptive learning procedure which permits the control and study of complex systems. The starting point of our adaptive control research addresses whether shaped coherent light fields can change active mechanisms of electron transfer in model and biological systems, thus, controlling electron transfer rates, direction, and multi-electron transformations.

The synthetic infrastructure built in our laboratories allows us to ask additional questions of photochemical reaction control that do not rely on the adaptive techniques. One such problem focuses on how excited-state motion in coordination complexes can be utilized to modulate – in a time-dependent fashion – the degree of coupling between an electron donor and an acceptor.

Selected Publications

Spettel, K. E.; Damrauer, N. H. Synthesis, Electrochemical Characterization, and Photophysical Studies of Structurally Tuned Aryl-Substituted Terpyridyl Ruthenium(II) Complexes. The Journal of Physical Chemistry A. (2014) ASAP.

Damrauer, R.; Lin, H.; Damrauer, N. H. Computational Studies of Carbodiimide Rings. The Journal of Organic Chemistry  79, 3781-3788 (2014).

Vallet, P. J.; Snyder, J. L.; Damrauer, N. H. Tunable Electronic Coupling and Driving Force in Structurally Well- Defined Tetracene Dimers for Molecular Singlet Fission: A Computational Exploration Using Density Functional Theory. The Journal of Physical Chemistry A.  117, 10824–10838 (2013).

Hewitt, J. T.; Concepcion, J. J.; Damrauer, N. H.  Inverse Kinetic Isotope Effect in the Excited-State Relaxation of a Ru(II)−Aquo Complex: Revealing the Impact of Hydrogen-Bond Dynamics on Nonradiative Decay. Journal of the American Chemical Society 135, 12500–12503 (2013).

Vallet, P. J.; Damrauer, N. H. Experimental and Computational Exploration of Ground and Excited State Properties of Highly Strained Ruthenium Terpyridine Complexes. The Journal of Physical Chemistry A. 117, 6489–6507 (2013).

Tseng, H. W. Wilker, M. B., Damrauer, N. H., Dukovic, G. Charge Transfer Dynamics between Photoexcited CdS Nanorods and Mononuclear Ru Water-Oxidation Catalysts. Journal of the American Chemical Society 135, 3383–3386 (2013).

McDaniel, A. M.; Tseng, H. W.; Hill, E. A.; Damrauer, N. H.; Rappé, A. K.; Shores, M. P. Syntheses and Photophysical Investigations of Cr(III) Hexadentate Iminopyridine Complexes and Their Tris(Bidentate) Analogues Inorganic Chemistry 52, 1368-1378 (2013).

Hewitt, J. T.; Vallet, P. J.; Damrauer, N. H. Dynamics of the 3MLCT in Ru(II) terpyridyl complexes probed by ultrafast spectroscopy: evidence of excited-state equilibration and interligand electron transfer. The Journal of Physical Chemistry A 116, 11536-11547 (2012).

Grumstrup, E. M.; Damrauer, N. H. Modeling and correction of distorted two-dimensional Fourier transform spectra from pixelated pulse shaping devices. Optics Express 20, 20908 (2012).

Vallet, P. J.; Damrauer, N. H. Computational Exploration of Heterolytic Halogen-Carbon Bond Scission Photoreactions in Ruthenium Polypyridyl Complexes (2011) The Journal of Physical Chemistry A. 115, 3122-3132 (2011).

Grumstrup, E. M.; Johnson, J. C.; Damrauer, N. H. Enhanced Triplet Formation in Polycrystalline Tetracene Films by Femtosecond Optical-Pulse Shaping. Physical Review Letters 105, 257403 (2010).

Montgomery, M. A.; Grumstrup, E. M.; Damrauer, N. H. Fourier Transform Spectroscopies Derived from Amplitude or Phase Shaping of Broad-Band Laser Pulses with Applications to Adaptive Control. Journal of the Optical Society of America B. 27, 2518-2533 (2010).

Meylemans, H. A.; Hewitt, J. T.; Abdelhaq, M.; Vallett, P. J.; Damrauer, N. H. Exploiting Conformational Dynamics to Facilitate Formation and Trapping of Electron Transfer Photoproducts in Metal Complexes. Journal of the American Chemical Society 132, 11464–11466 (2010).

McDaniel, A. M.; Tseng, H. W.; Damrauer, N. H.; Shores, M. P. Synthesis and Solution Phase Characterization of Strongly Photooxidizing Heteroleptic Cr(III) Tris-Dipyridyl Complexes: Toward Efficient Hole Transfer Sensitizers. Inorganic Chemistry 49, 7981-7991 (2010).

Meylemans, H. A.; Damrauer, N. H. Controlling Electron Transfer through the Manipulation of Structure and Ligand-Based Torsional Motions: A Computational Exploration of Ruthenium Donor-Acceptor Systems using Density Functional. Inorganic Chemistry 48, 11161-11175 (2009).

Montgomery, M. A.; Damrauer, N. H. A Convenient Method to Simulate and Visually Represent Two-Photon Power Spectra of Arbitrarily Shaped Broadband Laser Pulses. New Journal of Physics (Special Issue on Quantum Control Edited by H. Rabitz) 11, 105053 (2009).

Meylemans, H. A.; Lei, C.F..; Damrauer, N. H. Ligand Structure, Conformational Dynamics, and Excited-State Electron Delocalization for Control of Photoinduced Electron Transfer Rates in Synthetic Donor–Bridge–Acceptor Systems Inorganic Chemistry 47, 4060-4076 (2008).

Grumstrup, E. M. ; Shim, S. H.; Montgomery, M. A.; Zanni, M. T.; Damrauer, N. H. Facile Collection of Two-Dimensional Electronic Spectra with Pulse Shaping Technology. Optics Express 15, 16681-16689 (2007).

Montgomery, M. A.; Meglen, R. R.; Damrauer, N. H. General Method for Reducing Adaptive Laser Pulse Shaping Experiments to a Single Control Variable. J. Phys. Chem. A 111, 5126-5129 (2007).

Montgomery, M. A.; Damrauer, N. H. Elucidation of Control Mechanisms Discovered During Adaptive Manipulation of [Ru(dpb)3](PF6)2 Emission in the Solution Phase. Journal of Physical Chemistry A. 111, 1426-1433 (2007).

Montgomery, M. A.; Meglen, R. R.; Damrauer, N. H. Robust Basis Functions for Control from Dimension Reduction of Adaptive Pulse-Shaping Experiments. Ultrafast Phenomena XV, R. J. D. Miller, A. M. Weiner, P. Corkum, and D. M. Jonas, eds., Springer Series in Chemical Physics, Springer, Berlin, (2006).

Montgomery, M. A.; Meglen, R. R.; Damrauer, N.H. A General Method for the Dimension Reduction of Adaptive Control Experiments. Journal of Physical Chemistry A. 110, 6391-6394 (2006).