Skip to main content


Physical chemists work to understand the physical properties of spins, atoms, molecules, and supramolecular assemblies, what these properties reveal and how these properties can be utilized to enhance our well-being.

Physical chemistry at NC State has traditionally provided students with an interdisciplinary training and research experience that uniquely positions them to succeed in a variety of careers in industry and academia.

From single molecules to nanoclusters and novel materials, physical chemists at NC State are working on developing new spectroscopic and analytical methods to discover new chemical properties of matter, conceiving quantitative theories to explain and predict such properties, and inventing new technologies based on such discoveries. Research and student training at NC State are enhanced by state-of-the-art spectroscopic and analytical instrumentation, with particular emphasis on magnetic resonance such as solid state nuclear magnetic resonance, electron paramagnetic resonance, and magnetic resonance imaging, as well as advanced optical methods available in the department.   

The exceptionally broad range of the field of physical chemistry and the high international standing of the NC State faculty spur collaborations across chemistry and the related fields — from biomedical and biophysical research to inorganic, organic, chemical and bioengineering, and materials science disciplines. This highly collaborative nature of research and training ensures that the physical chemistry students are well-prepared for long and successful careers in biotech and nanotechnology companies, analytical laboratories and chemical and bioengineering firms.

Researchers in This Area

Phil Castellano

Professor, Goodnight Innovation Distinguished Chair

Alex Smirnov

Professor, Scott Distinguished Scholar

Brian Space

Professor, Associate Department Head

Thomas Theis

Associate Professor, Goodnight Distinguished Scholar in Molecular Characterization

Mike Whangbo

Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Computational/Theoretical Chemistry