Vanessa Huxter*

Assistant Professor Accepting Students

Vanessa Huxter*

Assistant Professor Accepting Students

Degrees and Appointments

  • B. Sc. 2002, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

  • Ph.D. 2009, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • Postdoctoral Fellow 2013, University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Awards and Honors

  • Journal of Physical Chemistry Editorial Advisory Board Member

  • Scialog Fellow: Molecules Come to Life, Research Corporation for Science Advancement

  • Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • Donald J. LeRoy Prize in Physical Chemistry

  • Robert and Jean Hadgraft Graduate Fellowship in Chemistry

  • Martin Moskovits Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology

  • Lachlan Gilchrist Fellowship in Physics

Research Specialties: Biophysics, Chemical Physics, Chemical Reaction Dynamics/Kinetics/Interactions​, Energy Science, Instrument Development, Spectroscopy/Molecular Structure, Surface and Solid State, Theory, Modeling, and Simulation, Ultrafast Spectroscopy


The Huxter Lab is an ultrafast spectroscopy research group that uses laser pulses to map and control the flow of energy through electronic and vibrational states of molecular and solid-state systems. Dynamics involving these states determine everything from the efficiency of solar cells to redox chemistry to quantum information processing and storage, among many other phenomena. We are currently investigating optical controls of redox-activity and catalysis with applications to solar energy capture and biologically relevant synthesis. We use time-resolved optical spectroscopy measurements over a wide range of time and energy to track photoredox catalysis and reveal the energy pathways driving reaction mechanisms. This time-resolved photophysical view of reactions is essential to construct the full kinetic scheme and directly observe the intermediates, including productive and unproductive steps to inform the development of new photoactive catalytic molecules. Other recent work involves the ultrafast light-induced dynamics of a new class of tripyrrindione molecules. When bound to metal atoms, these molecular systems are capable of controllable and reversible one-electron redox chemistry localized on the tripyrrindione ligand. Read More.

Faculty Tenure Track Faculty Physical Chemistry