Tim Rettich [Publications]  [E-mail]

What I do: My general area of interest is physical chemistry, especially thermodynamics and kinetics. The particular research area in which I am involved studies gas-liquid exchanges, which include gas liquid solubility, solution thermodynamics, and condensed phase photochemical kinetics. I would also gladly consider supervising student initiated projects in areas of physical chemistry not directly related to these topics.

Photochemical smog, green house gases, and ozone depletion are common examples of environmental problems that involve my area of research.  Understanding the nature of these problems is the first step towards finding a solution.  And the nature of these problems is to be complicated.  Much of the basic data needed to address the problems are not known or are known with so little certainty as to be nearly useless in terms of modeling the current situation or in terms of determining what future actions would be most beneficial to help solve the problems.

What You Could do: Previous collaborative work done by students in my group has focused on photochemical reactions of nitrous acid in the presence of radical scavengers.  Their work has shown that there are projects for students with widely varying interests:

  • For students interested in analytical applications, we have shown that model systems form numerous products in quantities that should enable their identification.  For example, a student interested in learning and applying GC-MS and other techniques to isolating and identifying products could make a significant contribution.
  • For students interested in fairly classical organic reaction mechanistic studies, we are trying to follow the fate of aromatic compounds used as scavengers of radicals formed by  photolysis.  The mechanism is not well understood, and in some circumstances seems to form several products.  Developing mechanisms from the current literature and research results to date offers some real challenges.
  • For students interested in classical physical photochemistry, there are quantum yields out there to be measured, and kinetic studies to be done.

What if I have questions:   Stop by and chat about possible research topics, or email me at trettich@titan.iwu.edu.