Department of Chemistry

Peter Weber

Jesse Houghton Metcalf Professor of Chemistry
GeoChem 241
Research Interests Chemical reaction dynamics, Ultrafast laser spectroscopy, Molecular beam spectroscopy, Multi-photon processes, Photoionization, Photoelectron spectroscopy


Research Statement 

Our research explores fundamental molecular processes in the broadest sense. We have developed two highly time-resolved techniques to explore molecular dynamics from two different perspectives. In the first experiment, a pump-probe photoelectron spectroscopy technique allows us to observe the flow of energy in molecules. The second experiment follows structural rearrangements by a time-resolved diffraction technique. The spectroscopic and the structural measurements are complementary, and combining them leads to a better understanding of molecular reactions.


  • Ph.D., 1987, The University of Chicago 
  • Diplom, 1983, Universitat Karlsruhe, Germany


  • Ischenko, A. A.; Weber, P. M.; Miller, R. J. D., Capturing Chemistry in Action with Electrons: Realization of Atomically Resolved Reaction Dynamics. Chemical Reviews 2017, 117 (16), 11066-11124.
  • Ischenko, A. A.; Weber, P. M.; Miller, R. J. D., Transient structures and chemical reaction dynamics. Russian Chemical Reviews 2017, 86 (12), 1173-1253. Kirrander, A.; Weber, P. M., Fundamental Limits on Spatial Resolution in Ultrafast X-ray Diffraction. Applied Sciences-Basel 2017, 7 (6).
  • Rudakov, F.; Gao, Y.; Cheng, X. X.; Weber, P. M., Non-intrusive detection of combustion intermediates by photoionization via Rydberg states and microwave backscattering. Combustion and Flame 2016, 171, 162-167.
  • Shlykov, S. A.; Phien, T. D.; Gao, Y.; Weber, P. M., Structure and conformational behavior of N-phenylpiperidine studied by gas-phase electron diffraction and quantum chemical calculations. Journal of Molecular Structure 2017, 1132, 3-10.
  • Shlykov, S. A.; Phien, T. D.; Weber, P. M., Intramolecular inversions, structure and conformational behavior of gaseous and liquid N-cyanopiperidine. Comparison with other 1-cyanoheterocyclohexanes. Journal of Molecular Structure 2017, 1138, 41-49.
  • Zhang, Y.; Deb, S.; Jonsson, H.; Weber, P. M., Observation of Structural Wavepacket Motion: The Umbrella Mode in Rydberg-Excited N-Methyl Morpholine. J Phys Chem Lett 2017, 8 (16), 3740-3744.
  •  Zhang, Y.; Jonsson, H.; Weber, P. M., Coherence in nonradiative transitions: internal conversion in Rydberg-excited N-methyl and N-ethyl morpholine. Phys Chem Chem Phys 2017, 19 (38), 26403-26411.
  •  Zhang, Y.; Weber, P. M.; Jonsson, H., Self-Interaction Corrected Functional Calculations of a Dipole-Bound Molecular Anion. J Phys Chem Lett 2016, 7 (11), 2068-2073.
  • Cheng, Xinxin, Zhang, Yao, Jónsson, Elvar, Jónsson, Hannes, Weber, Peter M. Charge localization in a diamine cation provides a test of energy functionals and self-interaction correction. Nat Comms2016; 7: 11013. 
  • Cheng, Xinxin, Gao, Yan, Rudakov, Fedor, Weber, Peter M. Charge transfer and ultrafast nuclear motions: the complex structural dynamics of an electronically excited triamine. Chem. Sci. 2016; 7 (1): 619-627. 
  • Budarz, J M, Minitti, M P, Cofer-Shabica, D V, Stankus, B, Kirrander, A, Hastings, J B, Weber, P M. Observation of femtosecond molecular dynamics via pump–probe gas phase x-ray scattering. J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 2016; 49 (3): 034001. 
  • Gao Y, Pemberton CC, Zhang Y, Weber PM On the ultrafast photo-induced dynamics of α-terpinene. J. Chem. Phys2016; 144 (19): 194303.   
  • Pemberton, Christine C., Zhang, Yao, Saita, Kenichiro, Kirrander, Adam, Weber, Peter M. From the (1B) Spectroscopic State to the Photochemical Product of the Ultrafast Ring-Opening of 1,3-Cyclohexadiene: A Spectral Observation of the Complete Reaction Path. J. Phys. Chem. A. 2015; 119 (33): 8832-8845. 
  • Shlykov, Sergey A., Phien, Tran D., Gao, Yan, Weber, Peter M. Molecular structure and conformational properties of N-cyclohexylpiperidine as studied by gas-phase electron diffraction, mass spectrometry, IR spectroscopy and quantum chemical calculations. Structural Chemistry. 2015; 26 (5-6): 1501-1512. 
  • Cheng, Xinxin, Zhang, Yao, Gao, Yan, Jónsson, Hannes, Weber, Peter M. Ultrafast Structural Pathway of Charge Transfer in N, N, N′, N′-Tetramethylethylenediamine. J. Phys. Chem. A2015; 119 (12): 2813-2818.   
  • Gudmundsdóttir, Hildur, Zhang, Yao, Weber, Peter M., Jónsson, Hannes Self-interaction corrected density functional calculations of Rydberg states of molecular clusters: N,N-dimethylisopropylamine. J. Chem. Phys. 2014; 141 (23): 234308. 
  • Minitti, Michael P., Budarz, James M., Kirrander, Adam, Robinson, Joseph, Lane, Thomas J., Ratner, Daniel, Saita, Kenichiro, Northey, Thomas, Stankus, Brian, Cofer-Shabica, Vale, Hastings, Jerome, Weber, Peter M. Toward structural femtosecond chemical dynamics: imaging chemistry in space and time. Faraday Discuss. 2014; 171: 81-91.
  • Cheng, Xinxin, Zhang, Yao, Deb, Sanghamitra, Minitti, Michael P., Gao, Yan, Jónsson, Hannes, Weber, Peter M. Ultrafast structural dynamics in Rydberg excited N,N,N′,N′-tetramethylethylenediamine: conformation dependent electron lone pair interaction and charge delocalization. Chem. Sci2014; 5 (11): 4394-4403.  
  • Rudakov, Fedor, Zhang, Yao, Cheng, Xinxin, Weber, Peter M. Standoff trace chemical sensing via manipulation of excited electronic state lifetimes. Optics letters2013; 38 (21): 4445. 
  • Deb, Sanghamitra, Cheng, Xinxin, Weber, Peter M. Structural Dynamics and Charge Transfer in Electronically Excited N , N ′-Dimethylpiperazine. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2013; 4 (16): 2780-2784. 
  • Deb, Sanghamitra, Weber, Peter M. The Ultrafast Pathway of Photon-Induced Electrocyclic Ring-Opening Reactions: The Case of 1,3-Cyclohexadiene. Annual Review of Physical Chemistry. 2011; 62 (1): 19-39. 
  • Bühler, Christine C., Minitti, Michael P., Deb, Sanghamitra, Bao, Jie, Weber, Peter M. Ultrafast Dynamics of 1,3-Cyclohexadiene in Highly Excited States. Journal of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics2011; 1-6. 
  • Liang, Xiao, Levy, Michael G., Deb, Sanghamitra, Geiser, Joseph D., Stratt, Richard M., Weber, Peter M. Electron diffraction with bound electrons: The structure sensitivity of Rydberg Fingerprint Spectroscopy. J. Molec. Struct. 2010; 978 (1-3): 250-256. 
  • Bao, Jie, Weber, Peter M. Ultrafast Dynamics of Highly Excited trans -Stilbene: A Different Twist. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2010; 1 (1): 224-227. 
  • Bush, Joseph C., Minitti, Michael P., Weber, Peter M. Ultrafast formation of an intramolecular cation–pi bond. J. Photochem. Photobiol. A: Chemistry2010; 213 (1): 70-72. 
  • Rudakov, Fedor, Weber, Peter M. Ground state recovery and molecular structure upon ultrafast transition through conical intersections in cyclic dienes. Chem. Phys. Lett. 2009; 470 (4-6): 187-190. 
  • Cardoza, Job D., Rudakov, Fedor M., Hansen, Nils, Weber, Peter M. Identification of isomeric hydrocarbons by Rydberg photoelectron spectroscopy. Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena. 2008; 165 (1-3): 5-10.