Prasad L. Polavarapu
Title and Contact Information
Professor of Chemistry
Office: 7635 SC
Phone: (615) 322-2836
Ph.D., Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, 1976
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My current research focuses in two directions. In one direction, three dimensional molecular structures of chiral molecules, in the solution or vapor phase, are determined using chiroptical spectroscopic methods. This direction also involves developing new instrumental techniques and the use of quantum theoretical techniques. In the second direction, the secondary structures of biological molecules are determined. The specific areas of interest include: (1). vibrational circular dichroism (VCD), which measures the differential absorption of left versus right circularly polarized infrared radiation; (2). vibrational Raman optical activity (VROA), which measures the corresponding difference in vibrational Raman scattering; (3). optical rotatory dispersion (ORD), which measures the rotation of plane polarized light as a function of wavelength; (4). electronic circular dichroism (ECD), which measures the differential absorption of left versus right circularly polarized visible radiation. The first quantum mechanical predictions of VROA [J. Phys. Chem., 94, 8106-8112 (1990)] and of optical rotation [Mol. Phys. 91, 551-554 (1997)] carried out in this laboratory led to remarkable progress in these areas.
The research in my lab uses the experimental measurements in the above mentioned areas, and combines them with either corresponding quantum mechanical predictions or spectra-structure correlations (in the case of biological molecules) to establish the structures of chiral organic molecules and biological molecules in the solution phase.