Kim Renee Dunbar and Research Group Specialize in Molecular Magnetism
Renowned chemist and Texas A&M University professor Kim Renee Dunbar heads up a local research group dedicated to unveiling new discoveries in molecular magnetism.
For decades, Kim Renee Dunbar has amassed some of the scientific community’s top awards and distinctions for her work in inorganic chemistry. At Texas A&M University, where she is a distinguished professor and leader, Dunbar heads up a team of researchers who have greatly contributed to recent breakthroughs in chemistry. Among other specialized areas of chemistry, the Dunbar Research Group is particularly concerned with advances in molecular magnetism.
The esteemed work of Kim Renee Dunbar and her team has earned recognition from many respected scientific institutions and laboratories around the world. Today, the research group is backed by notable organizations such as the American Chemical Society, the United States Department of Energy, the Welch Foundation, and National Institutes of Health among others.
Kim Renee Dunbar’s research group incorporates concepts from material sciences, physics, and chemistry when working on projects in molecular magnetism, demonstrating their wide understanding of the interdisciplinary field. By investigating the properties and activities of molecular magnets, the team is able to contribute to breakthroughs in medicine and novel materials among other critical solutions.
Molecular magnetism involves theoretical modeling of molecular materials as well as the design, physical characterization, and synthesis of them. Molecular magnets differ from traditional magnetic materials in their low-density, transparency to electromagnetic radiation, and sensitivity to external stimuli (including pressure, light, temperature, chemical modifications, and magnetic or electric fields).
The research team’s work is highly complex and “involves a variety of bench techniques including the use of Schlenk-lines and inert atmosphere dry boxes to carry out inorganic and organic synthesis, crystal growth and general manipulations, and to gain experience in advanced experimental techniques in chemistry and physics,” says Kim Renee Dunbar.
In her research group, the participating chemistry students are able to hone their skills in DFT and ab initio methods. In their work, they use characterization tools such as X-ray crystallography, infrared, electronic and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopies (EPR), electrochemistry, magnetometry and resources to study behaviors and test predictions.
In addition, the students are presented with opportunities to conduct experiments at National Laboratories and collaborate with some of the most respected international scientists. The group hosts numerous collaborators and other experts of molecular materials at their laboratories and present their findings at National and International conferences on occasion.
“The study of mononuclear SMMs has come to the forefront of molecular magnetism research in the last several years,” says Kim Renee Dunbar of her current focus. “Our goal is to design transition metal and lanthanide molecules with highly symmetric, discrete geometries that, by virtue of their inherent electronic properties, are predicted to lead to SMMs with large barriers to the reversal of the spin.”