Robert Compton


Robert Compton
Physics and Chemistry


Bob Compton performs basic research in the general area of Chemical Physics. Chemical Physics embodies that research at the interface between physics and chemistry which is also often called Physical Chemistry.

Since 1960 he has made many contributions in the area of negative ions physics and chemistry.  For example, his groups were the first to observe temporary negative ion states of organic molecules (e.g., benzene, etc.), the first to observe dipole-bound and quadrupole-bound negative ions, the first to report electron binding to a negative ion due to the coulomb barrier (multiply-charged negative ions).  Much of his research involves the use of lasers, especially in the area of multiphoton-ionization (MPI) spectroscopy.  Along with John Miller, they discovered an interference effect between MPI and third harmonic generation in gases that suppresses excitation.  Miller and Compton also introduced the technique of multi-photon ionization photoelectron spectroscopy, the coupling of MPI with photoelectron spectroscopy.

For the past ten years, Compton’s research at the University of Tennessee has included a program on fundamental studies of molecular chirality in chemistry and physics.  The Compton group is also involved in a multidisciplinary STAIR program on energy research and sustainability.  This involved hydrogen production and storage.  A strong collaboration also exits with the groups of Drs. Ted Henry and Gary Sayers on environmental effects of nanomaterials.  Compton also co-directs a number of students performing research at ORNL.

Expertise Categories: Physics | Chemistry

Contact Information

Phone: 865-974-9513

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