Professor George C. Schatz

George C. Schatz is Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry and of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University. He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry at Clarkson University and a Ph. D at Caltech. He was a postdoc at MIT, and has been at Northwestern since 1976.

Schatz has published three books and over 800 papers. Schatz is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences, and he has been Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Physical Chemistry since 2005. Awards include Sloan and Dreyfus Fellowships, the Fresenius Award of Phi Lambda Upsilon, the Max Planck Research Award, the Bourke Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Ver Steeg Fellowship of Northwestern University, the Feynman Prize of the Foresight Institute, the Herschbach Medal, the Debye and Langmuir Awards of the ACS, the S F Boys-A Rahman Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the 2014 Hirschfelder Award of the University of Wisconsin, and the 2014 Mulliken Medal of the University of Chicago. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Chemical Society and of the AAAS. He was honored in the George C. Schatz Festschrift of the Journal of Physical Chemistry A, Vol 113, 2009. In 2010 he appeared on the Times Higher Education list of Top 100 Chemists of the Past Decade, and in 2014 he was on the Thompson-Reuters list of highest cited scientists.

Schatz is a theoretician who studies the optical, structural and thermal properties of nanomaterials, including plasmonic nanoparticles, DNA and peptide nanostructures, and carbon-based materials, with applications in chemical and biological sensing, electronic and biological materials, high performance fibers, and solar energy. His past work has also been concerned with understanding the dynamics of chemical reactions in the gas phase and in gas-surface collisions.

In the field of chemical reaction dynamics, Schatz was one of the pioneers in the application of quantum scattering methods to determine the cross sections and rates of simple gas phase reactions such as H + H2. He was also active in using these methods to describe the spectra of transition states, and he was involved in the discovery of resonances in a number of chemical reactions, including F + H2, Cl + HCl and I + HI. In addition, he has developed quasiclassical methods for describing state-resolved collision processes involving polyatomic molecules, and he has developed potential energy surfaces for many benchmark reactions. With these methods and surfaces, he was involved in early studies of many reactions important in combustion and atmospheric chemistry, including OH + H2 and OH + CO, and he has contributed to studies of reactions involved in the low earth orbit environment and nonequilibrium materials chemistry, including reactions of hyperthermal atomic oxygen ( and other atoms) with small molecules and with surfaces. In addition, he has worked actively in the theory and modeling of the mechanical properties of hard materials, including diamond films, graphene and carbon nanotubes.

Schatz’s nanoscience work has specialized in the optical properties of noble metal nanoparticles, nanoholes in films and other nanostructured materials of relevance to chemical and biological sensing, solar energy and plasmonic device applications applications. In this field he has contributed to the development of computational electrodynamics and electronic structure methods for the study of noble metal particles and molecules interacting with metal particles. His work has led to a basic understanding of the influence of nanoparticle size, shape, arrangement and environment on these optical properties, leading to important applications of these particles in biomolecule detection using extinction and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy.

In addition, he has developed theories of DNA melting in nanoparticle and polymer aggregates, and he has studied the thermal behavior of nanoscale lipid structures. Schatz has also been involved in a wide variety of theoretical studies involving self-assembly processes, DNA and protein structures, transport in ion-channels, the deposition and patterning of molecules on surfaces, and the formation of water droplets on nanoscale structures. In recent work he has studied the properties of DNA in the cell nucleus.

Additional Information

Current CV
Book Errata
Group Code
Fax: 847-491-7713
Phone: 847-491-5657 (Admin Office: 847-491-4139)
Address: George C. Schatz
Northwestern University Chemistry Department
2145 Sheridan Rd., Evanston IL 60208-3113