The principal goal of the La Pierre group synthetic and X-ray absorption spectroscopic (XAS) studies is to disentangle the complex electronic structure of f-block materials. Definitive spectroscopic and thermodynamic signatures of electronic structure phenomena unique to lanthanide, actinide, and transuranic materials are lacking. In particular, the process of establishing clear correspondence between spectroscopic signature, electronic structure, and physical properties is complicated by competition between multiple electronic phenomena on similar energy scales. Three problems of electron (de)localization in f-block materials will be presented in this talk including our groups efforts on the synthesis of f-block complexes and materials that enforce ground state electronic structures that include mixed valence metal ions (i.e. mixed f/d occupancy by the valence electrons in a monometallic complex), multi-configurational electronic structures, and magnetic super-exchange (i.e. exchange coupled systems). Mono- and multi-metallic complexes that present these electronic phenomena are designed to be evaluated by multi-edge XAS studies and thermodynamic probes such as magnetometry and heat capacitance in order to establish clear correspondence between spectroscopic signature, electronic structure, and physical properties.
Henry, also known by his nickname, Pete, was born in St. Louis, MO. During his undergraduate studies at Harvard University, he worked with Prof. Jared Shaw at the Broad Institute on the synthesis of antibiotics and with Prof. Masahiro Murakami at Kyoto University on main group organometallics. His graduate work, with Professors John Arnold, Robert Bergman, and Dean Toste at UC-Berkeley, focused on the development of a Z-selective alkyne semihydrogenation catalyst. Following graduation, he studied ligand control of reactive low- and high-valent uranium complexes as a postdoctoral scholar with Prof. Karsten Meyer at FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg. He also worked as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) with Dr. Stosh Kozimor and Dr. David Clark on ligand K-edge XAS of transuranic complexes and synthesis of f-element frustrated magnetic materials.