Dr. Heilweil’s current research interests revolve around ultrafast infrared laser measurements using Fourier-transform instruments and infrared array detectors to perform time-resolved spectroscopy and hyperspectral imaging. Far-infrared technologies (Terahertz or THz) are being developed to monitor chemical reactions on the femtosecond and longer timescales, measuring carrier dynamics in conducting polymers and nanolayered structures for high efficiency solar cells and to identify chemical threats and objects in containers for Homeland Security applications. Through pioneering efforts, he developed ultrafast broadband mid-infrared laser methods to examine vibrational energy transfer and photochemical processes of molecules as gases and in liquids and performed the first time-resolved vibrational lifetime measurements for adsorbates on dielectric and metal surfaces. These methods are now being employed to study the structures and dynamics of biomolecules in condensed phases, collaborative work on ultrafast biphasic chemical coordination in organometallic systems designed to function as molecular switches, and directly monitoring dynamical processes in di-iron hydrogenase mimics to reveal hydrogen gas production mechanisms in bacteria.
Professional associations include chairing the “Molecular Dynamics and Vibrational Spectroscopy” Gordon Conferences in 2000 and 2002 and co-chairing the International Time-Resolved Vibrational Spectroscopy conference in 2005. Dr. Heilweil was a Physical Chemistry Division Alternate Councilor (2003-2006) and member of the American Chemical Society (since 1978), Coblentz Society (since 2003), Sigma Xi (since 1985), and became a Fellow of the Optical Society of America in 2008. He serves as an editorial advisory board member of the Journal of Physical Chemistry published by the ACS.
Heilweil began his career at NIST/NBS as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow. He has received several awards including the Instrument Society of America Beckman Award, Department of Commerce Stratton Award, and Sigma Xi Young Scientist Award. In 2008, he received the NIST/DoC Silver Medal for “contributions to ultrafast optical studies of vibrational energy transfer and terahertz spectroscopy.” Heilweil has authored 123 technical papers, delivered 167 invited talks and holds one U.S. Patent.
Projects currently underway include:
Radiation and Biomulecular Physics Division
1983-present NIST, Gaithersburg, MD
Ph.D. Physical Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
M.A. Physical Chemistry, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
B.A. Chemistry, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
B.A. Mathematics, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA