Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Chair(s)

Alexander I. Boldyrev


Alexander I. Boldyrev


Steve Scheiner


Alvan Hengge


Charles G. Torre


David Farrelly


Chemistry is the study of materials and the changes that materials undergo. One can tune the properties of the known materials and design the novel materials with desired properties knowing what is responsible for the chemical reactivity, structure, and stability of those materials. The unified chemical bonding theory could address all these questions, but we do not have one available yet. The most accepted general theory of chemical bonding was proposed by Lewis in 1916, though Lewis’s theory fails to explain the bonding in materials with delocalized electron density such as sub-nano and nanoclusters, as well as aromatic organic and organometallic molecules. The dissertation presents a set of projects that can be considered the steps towards the development of the unified chemical bonding theory by extending the ideas of Lewis. The dissertation also presents the studies of the properties of multiply charged anions, which tend to undergo Coulomb explosion in the isolated state and release the excess energy stored in them. It is shown how the properties of multiply charged anions can be tuned upon changing the chemical identity of the species or interaction with solvent molecules. Our findings led to the discovery of a new long-lived triply charged anionic species, whose metastability was explained by the existence of a repulsive Coulomb barrier. We also proposed two ways to restore high symmetry of compounds by suppression of the pseudo Jahn-Teller effect, which could lead to the design of new materials with the restored symmetry and therefore the novel properties.




This work made publicly available electronically on May 11, 2012.