Department of Chemistry



David Waldeck



Chevron Science Center, 219 Parkman Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

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Research Overview

Chemistry and Dynamics in the Condensed Phase

Professor Waldeck's research program uses methods of spectroscopy, electrochemistry, and microscopy to investigate primary processes in the condensed phase, which includes liquids, solids and liquid/solid interfaces. Current themes of his research are the fundamental understanding of electron transfer reactions, electron transport in supramolecular structures, and nanophotonics.

Solution Studies

His research program studies electron transfer processes experimentally in order to directly evaluate and improve theoretical models. Currently, his group is investigating how the electron transfer rate in semiconductor nanoparticle assemblies depends on energetic, geometric, and electrostatic features of the assemblies.  Other efforts are studying electron transfer between semiconductor nanoparticles and conjugated polymers and how it depends on the energetic, electrostatic, and chirality of the constituents. A major goal of these studies is to understand how the structural and energetic hierachy of nanometer scale assemblies can be manipulated to control the electron transfer.

Interfacial Charge Transfer

This effort probes charge transfer through monolayers and individual molecules by electrochemical and/or conducting probe methods. Previous work has used electrochemical studies to elucidate how the molecular properties (e.g., electronic character, chirality, and the nature of the molecule-electrode linkage) affect the observed tunneling barriers and molecular conductivities.  Current work is investigating how to manipulate the electronic and chemical nature of monolayer films to enhance the electronic interaction between a redox moiety and the electrode, with a particular focus on better understanding how to ‘wire’ biomolecules (proteins and oligonucleotides) to electrodes.


Technological breakthroughs in fabrication and characterization are allowing his group to probe the nature of light-matter interactions (photonics) for nanostructures and molecular assemblies. This work aims to develop a better understanding of the novel optical properties displayed by nanostructures and how to exploit them for applications in sensing and energy conversion.

Professor Waldeck’s teaching interests are in physical chemistry and he is the author of a recent textbook in physical chemistry.


Topics in Current Chemistry, Vol. 298: Electronic and Magnetic Properties of Chiral Molecules and Supramolecular Architectures; R. Naaman, D. N. Beratan, and D. H. Waldeck, eds. (2011) Springer-Verlag, ISBN 0340-1022.

D. H. Waldeck and J. Madura, Solutions Manual for Principles of Physical Chemistry (Wiley, New York, 2010)  ISBN: 978-0-470-56197-3.

H. Kuhn, H.-D. Foersterling, and D. H. Waldeck, Principles of Physical Chemistry (Wiley, New York, 2009) ISBN: 978-0-470-08964-4.


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, 2017
  • ACS-WCC Award for Encouraging Women in Chemistry 2016
  • ACS Pittsburgh Award 2014
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2005
  • Belkin Visiting Professor, Weizmann Institute 1998 - 1999
  • Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award, University of Pittsburgh, 1994


“The Chiral Induced Spin Selectivity (CISS) Effect.,” Naaman, R. and Waldeck D. H. , Spin in Organics, Vol. 4, 2018, Pages 235-270
“Bacteriorhodopsin based non-magnetic spin filters for biomolecular spintronics,” Varade, V., Markus, T., Vankayala, K., Friedman, N., Sheves, M., Waldeck, D. H., and Naaman, R. , PCCP, Vol. 20, 2018, Pages 1091-1097
“Charge and spin transport through nucleic acids,” Beratan, D. N., Naaman, R. , and Waldeck, D. H. , Current Opinion in Electrochemistry, Vol. 4, 2017, Pages 175-181
“Spin in quantum biology,” Naaman, R. and Waldeck, D. , Inference, Vol. 3, 2017,
“A fluorescence-electrochemical study of carbon nanodots (CNDs) in bio- and photoelectronic anpplications and energy gap investigation,” Zhen, Z., Zhang, W. D., Arvapalli, D. M., Bloom, B., Sheardy, A., Mabe, T., Liu, Y. Y., Ji, Z, W., Chevva, H., Waldeck, D. H., and Wei, J. J. , PCCP, Vol. 19, 2017, Pages 20101-20109
“Chirality control of electron transfer in quantum dot assemblies,” Bloom, B., Graff, B. M., Ghosh, S., Beratan, D. N., and Waldeck, D. H. , J. Am. Chem. Soc., Vol. 139, 2017, Pages 9038-9043
“Controlling the electron-transfer kinetics of quantum-dot assemblies,” Liu, R., Bloom, B., Waldeck, D. H., Zhang, P., and Beratan, D. N. , J. Phys. Chem. C, Vol. 121, 2017, Pages 14401-14412
“Effects of the backbone and chemical linker on the molecular conductance of nucleic acid duplexes,” Beall, E., Ulku, S., Liu, C., Wierzbinski, E., Zhang Y., Bae, Y., Zhang, P., Achim, C., Beratan, D. N., and Waldeck, D. H. , J. Am. Chem. Soc., Vol. 139, 2017, Pages 6726-6735
“Chirality-induced spin polarization places symmetry constraints on biomolecular interactions,” Kumar, A., Capua, E., Kesharwani, M. K., Martin, J. M. L., Sitbon, E., Waldeck, D. H., and Naaman, R. , PNAS, Vol. 114, 2017, Pages 2474-2478
“A new approach towards spinitronics - Spintronics with no magnets,” Michaeli, K., Varade, V., Naaman, R., and Waldeck, D. H. , J. Phys.: Condens. Matter, Vol. 29, 2016, Pages 103002 1-8
“Spin-dependent transport through chiral molecules studied by spin-dependent electrochemistry,” Mondal, P. C., Fontanesi, C., Waldeck, D. H., and Naaman, R. , Accts. Chem. Res., Vol. 49, 2016, Pages 2560-2568
“The electron's spin and molecular chirality - How are they related and how do they affect life processes?,” Michaeli, K., Kantor-Uriel, N., Naaman, R., and Waldeck, D. H. , Chem. Soc. Rev., Vol. 45, 2016, Pages 6478-6487
“Hot holes break the speed limit,” Beratan, D. N. and Waldeck, D. H. , Nature Chemistry, Vol. 8, 2016, Pages 992-993
“ Identifying the Correct Host - Guest Combination to Sensitize Trivalent Lanthanide (Guest) Luminescence: Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles as a Model Host System,” Chakraborty, A.,  Debnath, G. H., Saha, N. R., Chattopadhyay, D., Waldeck, D. H., and Mukherjee, P. , J. Phys. Chem. C, Vol. 120, 2016, Pages 23870-23882
“Electron Transfer in Nanoparticle Dyads Assembled on Colloidal Template,” Graff, B. M., Bloom, B. P., Wierzbinski, E., and Waldeck, D. H. , J. Am. Chem. Soc. , Vol. 138, 2016, Pages 13260-13270
“Through Solvent Tunneling in Donor-Bridge-Acceptor Molecules Containing a Molecular Cleft,” Graff, B. M., Lamont, D. N., Parker, M. F. L., Bloom, B. P., Schafmeister, C. E., and Waldeck, D. H. , J. Phys. Chem. A, Vol. 120, 2016, Pages 6004-6013
“A semi-analytical decomposition analysis of surface plasmon generation and the optimal nanoledge plasmonic device,”  Zeng, Z., Mendis, M. N., Waldeck, D. H., Wei, J. , RSC Advances , Vol. 6, 2016, Pages 17196 – 17203
“Eliminating Fermi-Level Pinning in PbS Quantum Dots using an Alumina Interfacial Layer ,” Bloom, B., Mendis, M. N., Wierzbinski, E., and Waldeck, D. H. , Journal of Materials Chemistry C, Vol. 4, 2016, Pages 704 – 712
“Evidence for Enhanced Electron Transfer by Multiple Contacts between Self-Assembled Organic Monolayers and Semiconductor Nanoparticles,” Kantor-Uriel, N., Roy, P., Saris, S., Kiran, V., Waldeck, D. H., and Naaman, R. , J. Phys. Chem. C , Vol. 119, 2015, Pages 15839–15845
“A Scanning Tunneling Microscope Break Junction Method with Continuous Bias Modulation ,” Beall, E., Yin, X., Waldeck, D. H., and Wierzbinski, E. , Nanoscale, Vol. 7, 2015, Pages 14965-14973
“Electron Transfer: Basic Theory, Experiments, and Computatiaonal Methods ,” Yin, X. and Waldeck, D. H. , Adv. Science Engineering and Medicine , Vol. 7, 2015, Pages 1093–1111.
“Electron Transfer: Basic Theory, Experiments, and Computational Methods,” Yin, X. and Waldeck, D. H. , Advanced Science Focus, 2015, Pages invited review/submitted
“Magnetic Field and Chirality Effects on Electrochemical Charge Transfer Rates: Spin Dependent Electrochemistry,” Mondal, P. C., Fontanesi, C., Waldeck, D. H., and Naaman, R., ACS Nano, Vol. 9, 2015, Pages 3377-3384
“Spintronics and Chirality: Spin Selectivity in Electron Transport through Chiral Molecules,” Naaman, R. and Waldeck, D. H., Ann Rev Phys Chem., Vol. 66, 2015, Pages 263-281
“Spin Filtering in Electron Transport through Chiral Oligopeptides,” Kettner, M., Gohler, B., Zacharias, H., Mishra, D., Kiran, V., Naaman, R., Waldeck, D. H., Sek, S., Pawlowski, J., and Juhaniewicz, J., J. Phys. Chem. C., Vol. 119, 2015, Pages 14542-14547
“Chiral Supramolecular Structures as Spin Filters in Suparamolecular Materials for Opto-Electronics,” Naaman, R. and Waldeck, D. H., N. Koch, ed., RSC Smart Materials, Vol. 12, 2015, Pages 203-225
“A Study of Localised Surface Plasmon Resonance Nanoslit Array and Applications for Chip-based Protein Detection,” Wei, J., Kofke, M., Singhal, S., and Waldeck, D. H., JSM Nanotechnology & Nanomedicine, Vol. 2, 2014, Pages 1024
“FD 174: Breaking the simple proportionality between molecular conductances and charge transfer rates,” Venkatramani, R., Wierzbinski, E., Waldeck, D. H., and Beratan, D. N., Faraday Discussions, Vol. 174, 2014, Pages 57-78
“Luminescence Quenching by Photoinduced Charge Transfer between Metal Complexes in Peptide Nucleic Acids,” Yin, X., Kong, J., DeLeon, A., Li, YL, Ma, Z. J., Wierzbinski, E., Achim, C., and Waldeck, D. H., J. Phys Chem. B, Vol. 118, 2014, Pages 9037-9045
“Depleted Bulk Heterojunctions in Thermally Annealed PbS Quantum Dot Solar Cells,” Ding, B., Wang, Y., Huang, P. S., Waldeck, D. H., Lee, J.-K., J. Phys. Chem. C, Vol. 118, 2014, Pages 14749-14758
“Synergistic Effect of Surface Plasmonic Particles in PbS/TiO2 Heterojunction Solar Cells,” Ding, B., Gao, T., Wang, Y., Waldeck, D. H., Leu, P., Lee, J.-K., Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, Vol. 128, 2014, Pages 386-393
“A Three-Step Kinetic Model for Electrochemical Charge Transfer in the Hopping Regime,” Yin, X., Wierzbinski, E., Lu, H., Bezer, S., de Leon, A. R., Davis, K. L., Achim, C., and Waldeck, D. H., J. Phys. Chem. A, Vol. 118, 2014, Pages 7579-7589
“Driving Charge Separation for Hybrid Solar Cells: Photo-induced Hole Transfer in Conjugated Copolymer and Semiconductor Nanoparticle Assemblies,” Wang, Y., Liu, K., Mukherjee, P., Hines, D. A., Santra, P., Shen, H. Y., Kamat, P., and Waldeck*, D. H., Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., Vol. 16, 2014, Pages 5066-5070
“Chemical and Electrochemical Manipulation of Mechanical Properties in Stimuli-Responsive Copper-Cross-Linked Hydrogels,” Harris, R. D., Auletta, J. T., Motlagh, S. A. M., Lawless, M. J., Perri, N. M., Saxena, S., Weiland, L. M., Waldeck, D. H., Clark, W. W., and Meyer, T. Y, ACS Macro Lett., Vol. 2, 2013, Pages 1095-1099
“Enhanced Sensitivity of Delocalized Plasmonic Nanostruictures,” Mendis, M. N., Mandal, H. S., and Waldeck, D. H., J. Phys. Chem. C, Vol. 117, 2013, Pages 25693-25703
“Voltammetry Can Reveal Differences between the Potential Energy Curve (pec) and Density of States (dos) Models for Heterogeneous Electron Transfer,” Zhao, L. B., Mishra, A. K., and Waldeck, D. H., J. Phys. Chem. C., Vol. 117, 2013, Pages 20746-20761
“Seedless CTAB mediated growth of anisotropic nanoparticles and nanoparticle clusters on nanostructured plasmonic templates,” Kofke, M. J., Wierzbinski, E., Waldeck, D. H., J. Mater. Chem. C, Vol. 1, 2013, Pages 6774-6781
“Ligand Induced Changes in the Characteristic Size Dependent Electronic Energies of CdSe Nanoparticles,” Bloom, B. P., Zhao, L.-B., Wang, Y., Waldeck, D. H., Beratan, D. N., Zhang, P., and Liu, R., J. Phys. Chem. C., 2013, Pages 22401−22411
“Electron transfer with azurin at Au–SAM junctions in contact with a protic ionic melt: impact of glassy dynamics,” Khoshtariya, Dimitri E., Dolidze, Tina D., Tretyakova, Tatyana, Waldeck, David H., and van Eldik, Rudi, PCCP, Vol. 15, 2013, Pages 16515-16526
“A Postsynthetic Modification of II–VI Semiconductor Nanoparticles to Create Tb3+ and Eu3+ Luminophores,” Mukherjee, Prasun, Sloan, Robin F., Shade, Chad M., Waldeck, David H., and Petoud, Stéphane, J. Phys. Chem. C, Vol. 117, 2013, Pages 14451-14460
“The single-molecule conductance and electrochemical electron-transfer rate are related by a power law,” Wierzbinski, E., Venkatramani, R., Davis, K.L., Bezer, S., Kong, J., Xing, Y., Borguet, E., Achim, C., Beratan, D.N., and Waldeck, D. H., ACS Nano, Vol. 7, 2013, Pages 5391-5401
“The Effect of Oxygen Heteroatoms on the Single Molecule Conductance of Saturated Chains,” Wierzbinski, E., Yin, X., Werling, K., and Waldeck, D. H., J. Phys. Chem. B, Vol. 117, 2013, Pages 4431-4441