Martin Gruebele

Professor of Chemistry and Physics


Martin  Gruebele

Primary Research Area

  • Biological Physics
A220 Chemical and Life Sci Lab


Professor Gruebele received his B.S. degree in 1984, and his Ph.D. in 1988, both from the University of California at Berkeley. After working as a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1992. Dr. Gruebele is also a faculty member of the Beckman Institute.

Research Statement

The Gruebele Group is engaged in experiments and computational modeling to study a broad range of fundamental problems in chemical and biological physics. A common theme in these experiments is the implementation of state-of-the-art laser techniques to interrogate and manipulate complex molecular systems, coupled with quantum or classical simulations. The results of these efforts are contributing to a deeper understanding of the way that proteins fold into functional 3-dimensional molecules, the details of how chemical bonds are broken by vibrational motion and how this can be controlled, and the switching of energy flow in large molecular structures on surfaces.

Related news

  • In the Media

Next year will make 30 in C-U for MARTIN GRUEBELE, who arrived here an assistant professor four years out of grad school at Cal-Berkeley and is now a Nakanishi Prize-winning, Gruebele Group-heading James R. Eiszner Endowed Chair in Chemistry at Illinois.

“After 29 years in town, home is here. The place I lived second longest in — a mere eight years, but it seemed like 29 years as a child — is Vienna, Austria,” he says. “The outside of Chem Annex or the atrium of Lincoln Hall is probably about as Viennese as you get around here — there’s not a lot of red brick in Vienna.”

  • Research

Tiny fluorescent semiconductor dots, called quantum dots, are useful in a variety of health and electronic technologies but are made of toxic, expensive metals. Nontoxic and economic carbon-based dots are easy to produce, but they emit less light. A new study that uses ultrafast nanometric imaging found good and bad emitters among populations of carbon dots. This observation suggests that by selecting only super-emitters, carbon nanodots can be purified to replace toxic metal quantum dots in many applications, the researchers said.

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, brought together researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Delaware, Baltimore County in a collaborative project through the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois.

  • Accolades

The Center for Advanced Study has appointed seven new members to its permanent faculty – one of the highest forms of academic recognition the University of Illinois campus makes for outstanding scholarship. The new CAS Professors are Antoinette Burton, history; Gary Dell, psychology; Eduardo Fradkin, physics; Martin Gruebele, chemistry; Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, chemistry; Harry Liebersohn, history; and Catherine Murphy, chemistry. They join 21 other CAS Professors with permanent appointments, and they will remain full members of their home departments while also serving on the annual selection committee for the CAS Associates and Fellows program.