William H. Breckenridge

William H. Breckenridge

PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY

Professor Emeritus

B.S. 1963, Kansas University (with Highest Distinction and Honors in Chemistry)
Ph.D., 1968, Stanford University
NATO Postdoctoral, 1969, Cambridge University



Phone: (801) 581-8024 (work)

Phone: (801) 582-7285 (home)

Office: 4424 HEB-S

Email: breck@chem.utah.edu

Research Group

Activities & Awards

  • Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation Fellow, 1973-1978
  • National Science Foundation Science Faculty Development Award, 1978
  • Senior Fulbright Fellow (Germany), 1984
  • J. S. Guggenheim Fellow, 1985
  • Professeur Associe, University of Paris, 1985
  • Robert W. Parry Teaching Award in Chemistry, 1990
  • University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award, 1992
  • University of Utah Presidential Teaching Scholar Award, 1994
  • Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, 1999
  • University of Utah Faculty Fellow Research Award, 2001
  • Visiting Senior Scholar, Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Saclay, France, 2001-2002
  • University of Utah Distinguished Scholarly and Creative Research Award, 2003
  • University of Utah Hatch Teaching Prize, 2005
  • Elected Professor Emeritus, 2005

W. H. Breckenridge Scholarship for Honors chemistry students was created by the Department of Chemistry in his honor, 2005. (Donations to this scholarship fund can be made by sending a check to the University of Utah, Department of Chemistry, W.H. B. Scholarship, 315 South 1400 East, Room 2020, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112

Research Interests

Professor Breckenridge has retired early and has shut down his experimental laboratories at the University of Utah. However, he still has active collaborations with experimental research groups in France (Benoit Soep, CEA, Saclay; Niloufahr Shafizadeh, University of Paris, Sud, Orsay) and England (Tim Wright, University of Nottingham).

The collaborative research at the University of Nottingham involves the application of the “Breckenridge” model potential to simulate and understand the bonding in M+Rg complexes (M = metal atom; Rg = rare-gas atom). For details of the model, see the Chemical Reviews publication below. The model has now been successfully applied to all of the Alk+Rg (Alk = alkali atom) potential curves calculated accurately ab initio by Wright and co-workers. The model potential represents these potential curves quite accurately, especially near their minima, showing that the bonding (as particularly expected for these filled-shell, filled shell simple species) is essentially “physical” in nature.

The model is currently being applied to accurate ab initio potential curves just calculated by Wright and co-workers of all the Rg complexes of Cu+, Ag+, and Au+, where in some cases (Au+Kr and Au+Xe, for example) "physical" bonding models apparently cannot account for the strong bonding observed, and it is suspected that Kr and Xe behave somewhat like chemical, electron-pair-donating “ligands” in the bonding. Similar analyses of many other M+Rg potential curves (to be accurately calculated) are planned. Several experiments planned include the synthesis of AuRg and Au+Rg complexes and accurate spectroscopic characterization of their potential curves.

The collaboration with Drs. Soep and Shafizideh in France continues a productive collaboration with Dr. Soep for over 20 years in many experimental areas. Of current interest is a collaborative attempt to examine in detail the role of charge-transfer in the bonding and dynamics of the interactions of ground-states and excited-states of single neutral metal atoms in the gas phase with other atoms and with molecules ranging all the way from diatomics to small biological molecules. A comprehensive review on this subject is being written.

Selected Publications

  • W.H. Breckenridge, Niloufahr Shafizadeh, and Benoit Soep, "Charge Transfer in Gas-Phase Metal Atom Interactions with Other Atoms and with Molecules," to be submitted for publication.
  • W.H. Breckenridge, Victoria L. Ayles, and Timothy G. Wright, "A Model-Potential Analysis of the Bonding in Alkali-Cation/Rg Complexes (Rg=He–Xe)," submitted to J. Chem. Phys.
  • Jinjin Wang, Nguyen-Thi Van-Oanh, D. Bellert, W.H. Breckenridge, Marc-Andre Gaveau, Eric Gluoagen, Benoit Soep, and J.-M. Mestdagh, "Laser Spectroscopic Studies of the E 1Σ+ ‘Rydberg’ State of the MgO Molecule," Chem. Phys. Lett. 392, 62 (2004).
  • D. Bellert, Darin K. Winn, and W. H. Breckenridge, "Spectroscopic Characterization of the First Singlet (Ã 1B1) Excited State of 7Li16O7Li,@ J. Chem. Phys.119, 10169 (2003).
  • W. H. Breckenridge, P.-R. Fournier, M.-A. Gaveau, J.-M Mestdagh, and J. P. Visticot, AReactions of N2O with Lin in the Gas Phase and on the Surfaces of Large Arn Clusters,@ Chem. Phys. Lett. 364, 225 (2002).
  • D. Bellert, Darin K. Winn, and W. H. Breckenridge, ARovibrational Energy Levels of the LiOLi Molecule from Dispersed Fluorescence and Stimulated Emission Pumping Studies,@ J. Chem. Phys.117, 3139 (2002).
  • D. Bellert and W.H. Breckenridge, ABonding in Ground and Excited States of A+ARg van der Waals Ions (A = Atom, Rg = Rare Gas Atom): A Model Potential Analysis,@ Chemical Reviews102, 1595 (2002).
  • D. Bellert and W. H. Breckenridge, A A Spectroscopic Determination of the Bond Length of the LiOLi Molecule: Strong Ionic Bonding,@ J. Chem. Phys.114, 2871 (2001).
  • Katherine L. Burns, D. Bellert, Allen W.-K. Leung, and W. H. Breckenridge, A The Effects of Dispersive Cn/Rn Attraction on M+/RG Bonding (M+ = Atomic Metal Ion, RG = Rare Gas Atom),@ J. Chem. Phys. 114, 2996 (2001).
  • Mohamed Elhanine, Laure Dukan, Philippe Maitre, W. H. Breckenridge, Steve Massick, and Benoit Soep, ASolvation of Magnesium and Singly Ionised Magnesium Atoms in NH3 Clusters, Theory and Experiment,@ J. Chem. Phys. 112, 10912 (2000).
  • Steven Massick and W.H. Breckenridge, "Doubly-Excited Valence States of Neutral van der Waals Molecules: Mg(3pπ,3pπ 3PJ)≅Ar(3ΣΓ)," J. Chem. Phys. 105, 6154 (1996).
  • Steven Massick and W.H. Breckenridge, "A Determination of the Ionization Threshold for the Mg(3s3p 3P0)≅Ar(3Π0-) Metastable State: The Bond Energy of MgAr+," Chem. Phys. Lett.257, 465 (1996).
  • Steven Massick and W.H. Breckenridge, "A New Class of Strongly Bound, Doubly Excited Valence States of Neutral Van der Waals Molecules: Mg(3pπ,3pπ 3PJ)≅Ar(3ΣΓ)," J. Chem. Phys. 104, 7784 (1996) [Accepted as a Communication].
  • I. Wallace, D.J. Funk, J.G. Kaup, and W.H. Breckenridge, "Half-Collision Studies of Singlet-to-Triplet Energy Transfer: Action Spectroscopy and Predissociation Dynamics of Electronically Excited Cd≅H2 and Cd≅D2 Complexes," J. Chem. Phys.97, 3135 (1992).
  • I. Wallace and W.H. Breckenridge, "Half-Collision Studies: Action Spectroscopy of Energy Transfer Within the Cd≅CH4 Van der Waals Complex," J. Chem. Phys.97, 2318 (1992).
  • W.H. Breckenridge, C. Jouvet, and B. Soep, "Orbitally Selective Chemical Reaction in Hg-H2 Van der Waals Complexes," J. Chem. Phys.84, 1443 (1986).