Michael D. Hopkins Professor

Born Long Beach, California, 1958.
University of California, San Diego, B.A., 1980.
California Institute of Technology, Ph.D., 1986.
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Director's Postdoctoral Fellow, 1986-1987.
University of Pittsburgh, Professor, 1987-1999.
University of Chicago, Professor, 1999-.
Chairman, Department of Chemistry, 2003-2009.
Deputy Dean, Physical Science Division, 2013-.


2014 Arthur L. Kelly Prize for Exceptional Faculty Service.
1999 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
1998 Visiting Faculty Scholar, Los Alamos National Laboratory.
1997 Visiting Professor, Ecole Centrale Paris.
1996 Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award, University of Pittsburgh.
1993-1995 Alfred P. Sloan Fellow.
1990-1995 David and Lucile Packard Fellow.
1987-1992 Camille and Henry Dreyfus Distinguished New Faculty Grant.
1987-1992 National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator.

OFFICE: GCIS E405B, 929 E. 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

PHONE: (773)702-6490

FAX: (773)702-0805

E-MAIL: mhopkins@uchicago.edu


Research in the Hopkins group is centered in inorganic chemistry. We are broadly interested in understanding the relationships among the molecular and electronic structures of inorganic compounds and their excited-state, redox, catalytic, and surface chemistry, especially within the contexts of applications to renewable energy and functional materials. Our work incorporates synthetic chemistry, mechanistic studies, physical characterization (steady-state and time-resolved spectroscopies, electrochemical and structural methods, scanning-probe microscopy), and computational studies. Three current areas of interest are:

  • Artificial photosynthesis
  • Molecular patterning of surfaces
  • Conjugated transition-metal materials


Artificial photosynthesis

We are developing homogeneous molecular systems that store solar energy in chemical fuels, particularly via reactions that result in the reduction of carbon dioxide. A principal goal is to replace conventional sacrificial reagents with renewable redox equivalents, such as water-sourced hydrogen, through integration of photosensitizers with separate oxidative and reductive catalytic cycles. An example of these efforts has been the development of tungsten–alkylidyne photoredox chromophores that photosensitize the transfer of protons and electrons from hydrogen to reduction catalysts, and which are among the strongest known photochemical reductants.


Molecular patterning of surfaces

The synthesis on planar surfaces of 3D supramolecular structures with controlled dimensions offers unique opportunities for tailoring the surface interface, enabling surface-catalyzed reactions, and positioning nanoscale and molecular functional modules. We are studying the surface chemistry of metalloporphyrins and related molecules in which rigid axial ligands serve to position a functional unit at a specific height above the surface. For example, gallium(III) porphyrins form monolayer structures on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite under ambient conditions, in which axial acetylide ligands support addressable redox units, chromophores, catalysts, or small-molecule receptors, and the porphyrin peripheral substituents control the monolayer pattern.




Conjugated transition-metal materials

Materials based on π-conjugated organic oligomers and polymers have important applications in solar cell, sensor, and display technologies. One of our goals is to prepare and understand transition-metal analogues of conjugated organic materials, in which selected multiply bonded carbon atoms are replaced by metal centers. The metal centers enhance the optical and redox properties of the hybrid materials and provide new loci for controlling their electronic structures. We have prepared numerous conjugated metal compounds from multiply M—M and M—L bonded building blocks and systematically explored the electronic and structural relationships between them and their organic counterparts. Tungsten-containing oligo-phenylene-ethynylenes, for example, maintain the electronic delocalization of organic OPEs but possess optical and redox properties that are inaccessible to their organic analogues.




Selected publications

Electronic, Redox, and Photophysical Consequences of Metal-for-Carbon Substitution in oligo-Phenylene-Ethynylenes. D. C. O'Hanlon, B. W. Cohen, D. B. Moravec, R. F. Dallinger and M. D. Hopkins, J. Am Chem. Soc. 2014,136, 3127–3136. (link)

Electron-Transfer Sensitization of H2 Oxidation and CO2 Reduction Catalysts Using a Single Chromophore. N. T. La Porte, D. B. Moravec and M. D. Hopkins, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2014, 111, 9745–9750. (link)

Photoinduced Charge Separation in Zinc–Porphyrin/Tungsten–Alkylidyne Dyads: Generation of Reactive Porphyrin and Metallo Radical States. D. B. Moravec and M. D. Hopkins, Chem.—Eur. J. 2013, 19, 17082–17091. (link)

Dihydrogen Activation by a Tungsten–Alkylidyne Complex: Toward Photoredox Chromophores that Deliver Renewable Reducing Equivalents. C. A. Morales-Verdejo, M. I. Newsom, B. W. Cohen, H. B. Vibbert and M. D. Hopkins, Chem. Comm. 2013, 49, 10566–10568. (cover article. link)

Oxidation-Potential Tuning of Tungsten–Alkylidyne Complexes over a 2 V Range. D. E. Haines, D. C. O’Hanlon, J. Manna, M. K. Jones, S. E. Shaner, J. Sun and M. D. Hopkins, Inorg. Chem. 2013, 52, 9650–9658. (link)

FRET Sensitization of Tungsten–Alkylidyne Complexes by Zinc Porphyrins in Self-Assembled Dyads. D. B. Moravec and M. D. Hopkins, J. Phys. Chem. A 2013, 117, 1744–1755. (link)

Near-Infrared Transient-Absorption Spectroscopy of Zinc Tetraphenylporphyrin and Related Compounds. Observation of Bands that Selectively Probe the S1 Excited State. D. B. Moravec, B. M. Lovaasen and M. D. Hopkins, J. Photochem. Photobio. A 2013, 254, 20–24. (link)

Ground State and Excited State Structures of Tungsten–Benzylidyne Complexes. B. M. Lovaasen, J. V. Lockard, B. W. Cohen, S. Yang, X. Zhang, C. K. Simpson, L. X. Chen and M. D. Hopkins, Inorg. Chem. 2012, 51, 5660–5670. (cover article, link)

Synthesis, Structures, Bonding, and Redox Chemistry of Ditungsten Butadiyne Complexes with WC–CW Backbones. J. Sun, S. E. Shaner, M. K. Jones, D. C. O’Hanlon, J. S. Mugridge and M. D. Hopkins, Inorg. Chem. 2010, 49, 1687–1698. (link)

1000-Fold Enhancement of Luminescence Lifetimes via Energy-Transfer Equilibration with the T1 State of Zn(TPP). B. W. Cohen, B. M. Lovaasen, C. K. Simpson, S. D. Cummings, R. F. Dallinger and M. D. Hopkins, Inorg. Chem. 2010, 49, 5777–5779. (link)