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Tolga Karsili, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Montgomery Hall, Room 131 

P.O. Box 43700
Lafayette, LA 70504
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  • 2014: Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK. Advisor: Prof. Michael Ashfold FRS. Experimental gas phase photodissociation dynamics.
  • 2010: M.Sci. Chemistry with Honors, University of Birmingham, UK.

Professional Appointments:

  • 2018 – Present: Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, LA
  • 2016 – 2018: Post-doctoral research associate, Computational and Theoretical Chemistry, Temple University, PA, USA.
  • 2014 – 2016: Post-doctoral research associate, Chair for Theoretical Chemistry, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Research Interests:

We are interested in developing and applying computational methods for modelling the chemical and physical properties of molecular systems, at both the single-molecule level and in complex environments.

Specific areas of interest are:

1. Photochemistry and Photobiology

We are interested in exploring how electronically excited molecules dissipate their internal energy. We are particularly motivated by discovering the mechanisms by which incident light energy is converted into chemical energy following electronic excitation. Past efforts have focussed on discovering the mechanisms that enable photostability in biological chromophores (such as DNA and Melanins) – i.e. how they rapidly dissipate the excess energy afforded by electronic excitation and reform the original starting structures in the electronic ground state – with little or no detriment. Recent efforts have centered on understanding energy transfer processes in biologically and environmentally relevant chromophores and in discovering novel low-toxicity compounds that function as high-fidelity sunscreens.

2. Atmospheric Chemistry

We are interested in the ways in which anthropogenic and biogenic volatile organic compounds interact with tropospherically relevant gas molecules (e.g. O2, O3, NOX, SO2 etc.). We are particularly interested in discovering the mechanisms by which volatile compounds emitted into the atmosphere undergo oxidation to form lower volatility intermediates that undergo further gas phase (or multiphase) reactions, UV-excitation, or gas-to-particle phase transformations to form aerosol particles. Recent efforts have focussed on developing robust computational methods for exploring phase transformations and multiphase chemistry in atmospherically relevant reactions. Such research is of great topical importance as climate change is one of the most significant societal challenges.

3. Environmental and Marine Chemistry

Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is a highly composite mixture of organic materials found in water environments. DOM has vital importance for recycling of essential nutrients as well as participating in the transport and reactivity of many organic components dissolved in rivers, basins and oceans. An important sub-set of such reactions include the production of extremely reactive intermediates (e.g. singlet oxygen and hydroxyl radicals) following absorption of UV-Vis light on ocean surfaces and estuarian waters. In collaboration with Dr. Barbara Marchetti, we aim at investigating the photochemical and photophysical processes involved in the photoexcitation of DOM and its various components. We are particularly interested in how excitation wavelength and local chemical environment effects the evolving photochemistry.

4. Microscale Modeling of Biomaterials

We are interested in using and developing Plane-Wave Density Functional Theory methods, in order to study the mechanical and optical properties of biomaterials. The overarching aim is to understand how composition and structure impacts the specific functions of a given biomaterial - in an attempt to develop more diverse and versatile alternatives. Recent studies have focussed on prosthetic contact lenses and prosthodontics.

Recent Publications

  1. C. A. Poirier, L. M. Guidry, J. M. Ratliff, V. J. Esposito, B. Marchetti, and T. N. V. Karsili, Modeling the Ground and Excited State Unimolecular Decay of the Simplest Fluorinated Criegee Intermediate, HFCOO, formed from the Ozonolysis of Hydrofluoroolefin Refrigerants, Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 2023, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpca.3c01530.
  2. L. M. Guidry, C. A. Poirier, J. M. Ratliff, E. Antwi, B. Marchetti, T. N. V. Karsili, Photochem, 2023, 3(3), 327-335.
  3. G. Wang, T. Liu, M, Zou, T. N. V. Karsili, and M. I. Lester, UV photodissociation dynamics of the acetone oxide Criegee intermediate: experiment and theory, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2023, 25, 7453-7465.
  4. X. Lei, Q. Lian, X. Zhang, T. N. V. Karsili, W. Holmes, Y. Chen, M. E. Zappi, D. D. Gang, A review of PFAS adsorption from aqueous solutions: Current approaches, engineering, applications, challenges, and opportunities, Environmental Pollution, 2023, 321, 121138.
  5. G. Wang, T. Liu, M. Zou, C. A. Sojdak, M. C. Kozlowski, T. N. V. Karsili, and M. I. Lester, Electronic Spectroscopy and Dissociation Dynamics of Vinyl-Substituted Criegee Intermediates: 2-Butenal Oxide and Comparison with Methyl Vinyl Ketone Oxide and Methacrolein Oxide Isomers, Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 2023, 127, 203-215.

For a full list of publications click here.