Justin R. Walensky
Coordination and organometallic chemistry of the actinides in fundamental understanding of molecular and electronic structure as well as bonding; Density Functional Theory of actinide-containing compounds; Small molecule activation; Main group chemistry (P, As, Se, Te); Synthesis and luminescence of gold compounds.
BA, New College of Florida, 2005
PhD, University of California, Irvine, 2009
Assistant Professor, Missouri, 2011-Present
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Texas A&M University, 2010-2011
Honors and Awards
- Southeastern Conference (SEC) travel grant award
- Nuclear Forensics Junior Faculty Award, Department of Homeland Security, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office
- CIBA Young Scientist Travel Award, American Chemical Society
- Robert A. Welsh Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
- Glenn T. Seaborg Institute Fellowship, Los Alamos National Laboratory
- Chemistry Graduate Student Teaching Award: Contributions to the Chemistry Department Teaching Program by a First Year Teaching Assistant.
Our research is divided into five areas: 1) Structure, bonding, spectroscopy, and reactivity of actinide complexes, 2) Schiff Base chemistry, 3) Fluorescent and/or solvatochromic metal complexes, 4) Group 11 reactivity, and 5) Computational chemistry of transition metal and actinide complexes.
1) Actinide Chemistry
We are interested in exploring the fundamental nature of actinide-ligand bonding with soft donor ligands such as S, Se, and Te, and making comparisons to its hard donor congener, O. Soft donor ligands are relevant to separation methods as sulfur-based ligands have been shown to have more selectivity towards actinides over lanthanides.
2) Schiff Base Chemistry
Salicylaldiminate is a subset of Schiff bases which can chelate the actinide and, in our case, are monoanionic and polydentate. We have made divalent first row transition metals, Mn-Zn, FeIII, ThIV, UIV, and UVI complexes with a variety of ligands. These ligands anchor the metal in order for further reactivity to be carried out.
Publications in this area:
Polyhedron 2013, 54, 300-308
Radiochim. Acta 2013, 101, in press.
3) Fluorescent and/or Solvatochromic Compounds
We are looking for new complexes with fluorescent and solvatochromic properties for applications as chemical sensors. Work here is mostly with complexes of ReI, CuI, AuI, and UVI.
4) Group 11 Chemistry
The insertion, redox chemistry, and chemical properties of CuI and AuI compounds, especially with amidinate ligands, are being investigated.
5) Computational Chemistry
We collaborate with way more talented synthetic chemists in order to help with electronic structure and transition state calculations.
Publications in this area:
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 6894
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 11732
Inorg. Chem. 2013, 52, in press (Forum Article)
See the website for a list of publications.