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Guru Khalsa

G. Rattan K. Khalsa, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry, Department Chair

📞 724-589-2049
 Academic Center 106

My research focuses on discovering combinations of metal oxides for harvesting sunlight to split water thereby generating hydrogen gas a green fuel which does not contribute to global warming. Students utilize an array of LEDs connected to an electrochemical cell to examine the ability of metal oxides to absorb visible light to serve as possible semiconductors for producing hydrogen. Other areas of my research include investigating small molecule interactions with transition metal complexes.

Applications to engineering, medicine, biology, and everyday life are introduced in my General Chemistry course. Students have enjoyed working in pairs presenting chemical demonstrations to one another and explaining the concepts involved in my ChemTech class. Students enhance their learning about the active sites of enzymes and medical applications of drugs through their own presentations and the incorporation of interactive molecular models in Advanced Topics in Inorganic Chemistry.

It is a pleasure to interact with students in discussions about college courses and activities, careers and job opportunities. I enjoy inviting Thiel alumni to give talks to current students sharing their successes as well as challenges in careers in education, chemical industry, and the health-related professions. In these presentations, alumni also relate their experiences in graduate and professional schools. These interactions assist students in obtaining internships, work opportunities, and ideas for future employment and post-graduate education.


  • B.S. in Chemistry, Phi Beta Kappa, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Ph.D., Inorganic Chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois


Unversity of Nevado, Reno in collaboration with (n,p) Energy Nevada, Inc.
Separation of metals from waste and drinking water by water-soluble polymer/filtration (with Dr. Barbara Smith and Patricia Robinson)

Los Alamos National Laboratory
Extraction of fluoride and heavy metals from waste water streams by macrocyclic chelators;
NMR titration studies (with Dr. Paul H. Smith). Selectivity of diphenyldithiocarbamate in americium(III)-europium(III) separations chemistry (with Dr. Gordon Jarvinen and Dr. Barbara F. Smith).
Sonochemistry of high explosives, TNT, DNT, and toxic wastes, PCP's; analysis by mass spectrometry and gas chromatography (with Dr. Nancy Sauer). Small molecule activation by transition metal complexes; characterization of the reaction of CH3C(CH2PPh3)3Pt with dihydrogen; high pressure NMR studies; para-hydrogen induced polarization experiments. NMR kinetics and thermodynamics studies and protonation reactions of M(CO)3(PR3)2(n2-H2) (M = Mo, W); saturation transfer experiments and variable temperature equilibrium studies; synthesis and characterization of novel molecular hydrogen molybdenum and tungsten complexes (with Dr. Gregory J. Kubas).

University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign
Synthesis, NMR kinetics studies and characterization of ligand base adducts of methylcobalamin and methylatocobaloxime (with Dr. Theodore L. Brown)

University of Alabama
Synthesis,Thermal and X-ray crystallographic studies of organoaluminum complexes (with Dr. Jerry L. Atwood)


  1. "Investigating the Photocatalytic Activity of Mixed Metal Oxides with SHArK and SEAL to Generate Hydrogen from Water," B. R. Hellner-Burris, E. A. Amoline, E. M. Krizon, N. L. Zovack, C. M. Stanisky, G. R. K. Khalsa, Abstract for 245th American Chemical Society National Meeting, New Orleans, April 8, 2013.
  2. "Boric Acid Binding Studies with Diol Containing Polyethylenimines as Determined by 11B NMR Spectroscopy," A. Labouriau, B. F. Smith, G. R. K. Khalsa, T. W. Robison, J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 102, 4411- 4418. (2006).
  3. "Boric Acid Recovery Using Polymer Filtration: Studies with Alkyl Monool, Diol, and Triol Containing Polyethylenimines," B. F. Smith, T. W. Robison, B. J. Carlson, A. Labouriau, G. R. K. Khalsa, N. C. Schroeder, G. D. Jarvinen, C. R. Lubeck, S. L. Folkert, D. I. Aguino, J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 97, 1590-1604. (2005).
  4. "Octaazacryptand Complexation of Fluoride Ion," S. D. Reilly, G. R. K. Khalsa, D. K. Ford, J. R. Brainard, B. P. Hay, P. H. Smith, Inorg. Chem., 34, 569 (1995).
  5. "Neutron Structure and Inelastic Neutron Scattering and Theoretical Studies of Molybdenum(carbonyl)(dihydrogen)bis(diphenylphosphinoethane)(4.5 Benzene), a Complex with an Extremely Low Barrier to Dihydrogen Rotation. Implications on the Reaction Coordinate for H-H Cleavage to Dihydride," G. J. Kubas, C. J. Burns, J. Eckert, S. W. Johnson, A. C. Larson, P. J. Vergamini, C. J. Unkefer, G. R. K. Khalsa, S. A. Jackson, O. Eisenstein, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 115, 569 (1993).
  6. "Dihydrogen: A Better Ligand Than Water? IR and X-Ray Evidence for Aquo Coordination in W(CO)3(PR3)2(H2O), Thermodynamics of H2O versus n2-H2 Binding, and H2O/D2 Isotopic Exchange. Implications on the Biological Activation of Hydrogen," G. J. Kubas, C. J. Burns, G. R. K. Khalsa, L. S. Van der Sluys, G. Kiss, C. D. Hoff, Organometallics, 11, 3390 (1992).
  7. "Molecular Hydrogen Complexes of the Transition Metals. 7. Kinetics and Thermodynamics of the Interconversion Between Dihydride and Dihydrogen Forms of W(CO)3(PR3)2H2 Where R = iso-Propyl and Cyclopentyl," G. R. K. Khalsa, G. J. Kubas, C. J. Unkefer, L. S. Van Der Sluys, K. A. Kubat-Martin, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 112, 3855 (1990).
  8. "Thermodynamic and Kinetic Studies of Binding Nitrogen and Hydrogen to Complexes of Chromium, Molybdenum, and Tungsten," A. A. Gonzalez, K. Zhang, S. L. Mukerjee, C. D. Hoff, G. R. K. Khalsa, G. J. Kubas, in Bonding and Energetics in Organometallic Compounds, ed. T. J. Marks, American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C. 1990.