Dr. Andrew Petit
- Role: Assistant Professor Physical & Theoretical Chemistry
- Phone: (657) 278-3886
- Department: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
My research interests are broadly focused on using theoretical chemistry and high performance computing to answer fundamental questions about how molecules and materials interact with light. One aspect of the research involves modeling the new and interesting properties that molecules develop after absorbing light and becoming excited. For example, excited molecules can emit light, become chemically reactive, protect living organisms from being damaged by ultraviolet light, and transform energy from light into electrical current. Applications of this research involve developing better dyes, sunscreens, solar cells, and photocatalysts.
I am also interested in modeling the specific frequencies of light that molecules absorb and emit. This can provide a wealth of information about the properties of individual molecules as well as the local environment around a molecule in a liquid or solid. Following how these frequencies vary with time while a chemical reaction is underway or after a molecule has become excited allow us to develop molecular movies with which we can directly observe chemical dynamics taking place.