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CHE Programs

The CHE Division supports the following programs and activities:

Analytical and Surface Chemistry

Supports fundamental chemical research directed toward the characterization and analysis of all forms of matter. Studies of elemental and molecular composition and of the microstructure of both bulk and surface domains are included. The program supports projects that develop the fundamentals of measurement science, new sensors and new instruments, and innovative approaches to data processing and interpretation.

Investigations designed to probe the chemical structure and reactivity of the interface between different forms of matter also are supported. The program is linked to several other chemistry research programs within NSF, including Solid State Chemistry (Materials Research Division, MPS Directorate); Biochemistry and Biophysics (Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Division, BIO Directorate); and Chemical Reaction Processes and Interfacial, Transport, and Separation Processes (Chemical and Transport Systems Division, ENG Directorate).

Inorganic, Bioinorganic, and Organometallic Chemistry

Supports research on the synthesis, properties, and reaction mechanisms of molecules composed of metals, metalloids, and nonmetals with elements covering the entire Periodic Table. Included are fundamental studies that underscore (1) bioinorganic reactions, (2) homogeneous catalysis and organometallic reactions, (3) photochemical and charge transfer processes, and (4) studies aimed at the rational synthesis of new inorganic molecular substances, self-assemblies, and nano-size materials with predictable chemical, physical, and biological properties. Objectives are to provide the basis for understanding (1) the function of metal ions in biological systems, (2) the behavior of new inorganic materials and new industrial catalysts, and (3) the systematic chemistry and behavior of most of the elements and compounds in the environment. The program has links to other programs within NSF that support chemistry research, including Solid State Chemistry and Polymers (Materials Research Division, MPS Directorate); Chemical Reaction Processes (Chemical and Transport Systems Division, ENG Directorate); Biochemistry and Biophysics (Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Division, BIO Directorate); and Geochemistry (Earth Sciences Division, GEO Directorate).

Organic Chemical Dynamics

Supports research that will advance the knowledge of carbon-based molecules, metallo-organic systems, and organized molecular assemblies. Experimental, computational, and theoretical projects that illuminate chemical structures, reactivity, and properties and that provide organic mechanistic, structural, and kinetic foundations for the understanding of biological processes are all considered. The program has links to other programs within NSF that support chemistry research, including Solid State Chemistry and Polymers (Materials Research Division, MPS Directorate); Chemical Reaction Processes (Chemical and Transport Systems Division, ENG Directorate); Biochemistry and Biophysics (Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Division, BIO Directorate); and Atmospheric Chemistry (Atmospheric Sciences Division, GEO Directorate).

Organic Synthesis

Supports research on the synthesis of carbon-based molecules, organometallic systems, and organized molecular assemblies. Research includes the development of new reagents and methods for organic synthesis and characterization, and the investigation of natural products and new organic materials. Such research provides the basis for designed syntheses of new materials and natural products important to the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The research has links to other programs within NSF that support chemistry research, including Biochemistry (Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Division, BIO Directorate) and Polymers (Materials Research Division, MPS Directorate).

Experimental Physical Chemistry

Supports experimental research directed at the molecular level of understanding of the physical properties of chemical systems. Experimental methodologies employed include frequency domain and time domain spectroscopic techniques covering the entire range of the electromagnetic spectrum, time-resolved dynamical studies of state-selected and mass-selected systems, and reactive scattering in molecular beams. Chemical systems studied range from single isolated molecules or ions to clusters, liquids, and solids. Chemical properties of interest include molecular structure and the shape of the ground and excited electronic-state potential energy surfaces, chemical dynamics of unimolecular and bimolecular chemical processes, time-resolved internal energy redistribution and state-to-state dynamics in molecular systems, and solute/solvent interactions in clusters and liquids. The program has links to other programs within NSF that support chemistry research, including Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (Physics Division, MPS Directorate); Biophysics (Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Division, BIO Directorate); Atmospheric Chemistry (Atmospheric Sciences Division, GEO Directorate); and various programs in the Materials Research Division (MPS Directorate).

Theoretical and Computational Chemistry

Supports theoretical and computational research in areas of electronic structure, statistical mechanics, computer simulations, and chemical dynamics. The program also supports some areas of experimental thermodynamics and condensed phase dynamics of chemical systems that rely heavily on theoretical interpretation of experimental data. Areas of application span the full range of chemical systems, from small molecules to macromolecules; and degrees of aggregation, from clusters to macroscopic systems. The goal of projects supported in this program is to provide a molecular-level interpretation for chemical properties and reactivity. The program has links to other programs within NSF that support chemistry research, including Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (Physics Division, MPS Directorate); Materials Theory (Materials Research Division, MPS Directorate); Biophysics (Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Division, BIO Directorate); and Advanced Computational Research (Advanced Computational Infrastructure and Research Division, CISE Directorate).

Chemistry of Materials

Supports chemistry aspects of research problems related to the design, synthesis, and characterization of advanced materials. Emphasis is on projects that take a chemistry-based molecular or supramolecular approach to materials synthesis and performance from an experimental, theoretical, and computational perspective. Current research areas include the synthesis of new molecular organic, inorganic, and organometallic precursors to polymeric, ceramic, electronic, photonic, magnetic, and biomolecular materials; chemical reactivity of polymeric, microporous, and other solid substrates; chemistry of thin films and interfaces as applied to materials performance; synthesis of new molecular nanoscopic materials with novel or improved properties; research on catalysts and reactive molecular intermediates for materials synthesis; the molecular basis of materials properties and performance, such as nonlinear optical activity, conductivity, magnetism, and liquid crystalline behavior; molecular switching and electronics; and supramolecular self-assembly. The activity is strongly linked to several programs in the Materials Research Division (MPS Directorate) and in the ENG and BIO Directorates.

Office of Special Projects

Supports or coordinates the support for most of the infrastructure programs and activities with which the CHE division is involved. Examples include the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), Research Opportunity Awards (ROA), and Research Sites for Educators in Chemistry (RSEC), as well as various special-purpose grants that leverage the research capabilities of the chemistry community. Priority is given to projects that broaden participation of underrepresented groups and effectively integrate research and education.

The SPO also manages the Division's involvement in large-scale projects, such as the Science and Technology Centers (STC), Environmental Molecular Science Institutes (EMSI), and collaborative projects. For complete information on these programs, see the Crosscutting Investment Strategies section of this guide and the Chemistry Division website.

Chemistry Research Instrumentation and Facilities (CRIF)

Supports the purchase or upgrade of departmental multi-user instrumentation, departmental instrumentation for junior faculty members who are establishing their academic careers, instrumentation development, and chemistry research facilities. The first two topics focus on departmental development and are intended to facilitate research by grantees and potential grantees that are being supported by the CHE Division. Instrumentation development is intended to implement, test, and introduce new concepts for chemical measurement to be used on a wider scale. Chemistry research facilities provide unique, state-of-the-art instrumentation and expertise to users from the chemical sciences community. Only a few facilities are supported at any time. Individuals interested in submitting a facilities proposal must first contact the appropriate staff person in the CHE Division. CRIF interfaces with the following cross-directorate programs and activities: Major Research Instrumentation; Small Business Innovation Research; Small Business Technology Transfer; and instrumentation programs in the Materials Research Division (MPS Directorate), the Division of Undergraduate Education (EHR Directorate), the Office of Cross-Disciplinary Activities (CISE Directorate), and the Division of Biological Infrastructure (BIO Directorate).

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