Department of Chemistry



Wesley Transue

Assistant Professor


Chevron Science Center, 219 Parkman Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

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Research Overview

We find ourselves in the age of the 'Second Quantum Revolution', wherein scientists are seeking to leverage our understanding of quantum mechanics to develop next-generation technologies. Quantum information science will allow targeted designs of these technologies to take advantage of the peculiar properties of the quantum world, promising developments like quantum sensing, quantum communication, quantum computing, and more. 

Our research aims to increase the role of molecular chemistry in quantum information science. Central to this goal is the development of molecules that can behave as qubits (quantum bits). A qubit is the quantum analog to a classical bit, and its defining feature is its ability to be placed into a superposition of the classical '0' and '1' states. Molecules hold much promise as qubit candidates, as they are small, synthetically tunable, easy to prepare, and scalable. However, not every molecule meets the stringent criteria necessary for a qubit. Our lab seeks to use the machinery of inorganic synthesis, spectroscopy, and density-functional theory (DFT) computation to prepare molecules that meet these criteria and to outline the relationship between molecular structure and magnetic properties. Our primary experimental tools are air-free/glovebox synthesis, X-ray crystallography, magnetic resonance, and magnetic circular dichroism, all of which we combine to map out molecular electronic and magnetic structure. Any students interested in quantum information science, inorganic synthesis, and magnetism are welcomed to apply.


“The three-spin intermediate at the O–O cleavage and proton-pumping junction in heme–Cu oxidases,” Jose, A.; Schaefer, A. W.; Roveda, A. C.; Transue, W. J.; Choi, S. K. Ding, Z.; Gennis, R. B.; Solomon, E. I. Science 2021, 373 (6560), 1225–1229
“31P NMR Chemical Shift Tensors: Windows into Ruthenium–Phosphinidene Complex Electronic Structures,” Transue, W. J.; Dai, Y.; Riu, M. Y.; Wu, G.; Cummins, C. C. Inorg. Chem. 2021, 60 (13), 9254–9258
“An Azophosphine Synthetic Equivalent of Mesitylphosphaazide and its 1,3-Dipolar Cycloaddition Reactions,” Riu, M. Y.; Transue, W. J.; Rall, J.; Cummins, C. C.  . J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143 (20), 7635–7640
“A Thioether-Ligated Cupric Superoxide Model with Hydrogen Atom Abstraction Reactivity,” Bhadra, M.; Transue, W. J.; Lim, H.; Cowley, R. E.; Lee, J. Y. C.; Siegler, M. A.; Schindler, S.; Neuba, A.; Hodgson, K. O.; Hedman, B.; Solomon, E. I.; Karlin, K. D J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143 (10), 3707–3713
“Synthesis of an Anthracene-Based Macrocyclic Diphosphine ligand. Organometallics ,” Riu, M. Y.; Transue, W. J.; Knopf, I.; Cummins, C. C.  Organometallics 2020, 39 (23), 4187–4190
“Kinetic Analysis of Amino Acid Radicals Formed in H2O2-Driven CuI LPMO Reoxidation Implicate Dominant Homolytic Reactivity,” Jones, S. M.; Transue, W. J.; Meier, K. K.; Kelemen, B.; Solomon, E. I.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2020, 117 (22), 11916-11922
“Isolation of an elusive phosphatetrahedrane,” Riu, M. Y.; Jones, R. L.; Transue, W. J.; Müller, P.; Cummins, C. C. Science Adv 2020, 6 (13), eaaz3168