Jillian Dempsey

Jillian Dempsey

Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies

   Kenan Laboratories 440
  Group Website
  Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Inorganic Spectroscopy and Solar Energy Conversion

Research Synopsis

Research in the Dempsey group applies the tools of physical inorganic chemistry to address challenges associated with developing efficient solar energy conversion processes. In particular, we focus on understanding the proton-coupled electron transfer reactions that underpin fuel production and elucidating electron transfer processes across materials interfaces.

Our research program bridges molecular and materials chemistry and relies heavily on methods of physical inorganic chemistry, including electrochemistry and time-resolved optical spectroscopy.

Professional Background

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, BS, 2005; California Institute of Technology, PhD, 2011; NSF American Competitiveness in Chemistry Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle, 2011-2012; UNC Junior Faculty Development Award, 2015, NSF CAREER Award, 2015; Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, 2015; Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award, 2016; Sloan Research Fellowship, 2016

Research Group

News & Publications

Through this mechanistic analysis, we show that the one-electron oxidation of (bpy)PtII(CH3)2 generates a highly reactive, 15-electron PtIII radical cation and identify three reaction pathways that can follow this oxidation: radical–substrate dimerization, radical–radical dimerization, and oxidative disproportionation.


These experiments reveal the details of the reaction mechanism: reduction of the Co(III) species is followed by dissociation of the bound acetonitrile ligand, subsequent reduction of the unligated Co(II) species to form a Co(I) species is followed by protonation, which occurs at the Cp ring, followed by tautomerization to generate the stable Co(III)-hydride product [HCoCp(dxpe)]+.