Vanessa Huxter

Assistant Professor

Degrees and Appointments

  • B. Sc. 2002, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

  • Ph.D. 2009, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • Postdoctoral Fellow 2013, University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Fields of Study: Physical Chemistry

Awards and Honors

  • NSF CAREER Award

  • Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award, Research Corporation for Science Advancement

  • Journal of Physical Chemistry Editorial Advisory Board Member

  • Scialog Fellow: Molecules Come to Life, Research Corporation for Science Advancement

  • Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • Donald J. LeRoy Prize in Physical Chemistry

  • Robert and Jean Hadgraft Graduate Fellowship in Chemistry

  • Martin Moskovits Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology

  • Lachlan Gilchrist Fellowship in Physics

Research Specialties: Chemical Physics, Chemical Reaction Dynamics/Kinetics/Interactions​, Energy Science, Instrument Development, Spectroscopy/Molecular Structure, Surface and Solid State, Theory, Modeling, and Simulation, Ultrafast Spectroscopy


The Huxter Lab is an ultrafast spectroscopy research group that uses laser pulses to map and control the flow of energy through electronic and vibrational states of molecular and solid-state systems. Dynamics involving these states determine everything from the efficiency of solar cells to redox chemistry to quantum information processing and storage, among many other phenomena. We are currently investigating optical controls of redox-activity and catalysis with applications to solar energy capture and biologically relevant synthesis. We use time-resolved optical spectroscopy measurements over a wide range of time and energy to track photoredox catalysis and reveal the energy pathways driving reaction mechanisms. This time-resolved photophysical view of reactions is essential to construct the full kinetic scheme and directly observe the intermediates, including productive and unproductive steps to inform the development of new photoactive catalytic molecules. Other recent work involves the ultrafast light-induced dynamics of a new class of tripyrrindione molecules. When bound to metal atoms, these molecular systems are capable of controllable and reversible one-electron redox chemistry localized on the tripyrrindione ligand.

B. Cho, A. Swain, R. Gautam, E. Tomat and V. Huxter, “Time-Resolved Dynamics of Stable Open- and Closed-Shell Neutral Radical and Oxidized Tripyrrindione Complexes”, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 24, 15718–15725 (2022). Selected by the editors as a HOT article.

Swain, A., Cho, B., Gautam, R., Curtis, C., Tomat, E., and Huxter, V. M., Ultrafast Dynamics of Tripyrrindiones in Solution Mediated by Hydrogen-Bonding Interactions" Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 123, 5524–5535 (2019). Invited article for Journal of Physical Chemistry's Special Issue: Young Scientists.

Cho, B., and Huxter, V. M., “Ultrafast Dynamics of Palladium(II) Tripyrrindione: A Redox Active Platform for Catalysis, Energy and Charge Transfer” in Ultrafast Phenomena XX. OSA Technical Digest, UW4A.27 (2016)

De Re, E., Schlau-Cohen, G. S., Leverenz, R. L., Huxter, V. M., Oliver, T .A. A., Mathies, R. A. and Fleming, G. R., “Insights into the Structural Changes Occurring upon Photoconversion in the Orange Carotenoid Protein from Broadband Two Dimensional Electronic Spectroscopy” Journal of Physical Chemistry B118, 5382–5389 (2014)

Huxter, V. M., Oliver, T. A. A., Budker, D. and Fleming, G. R., "Vibrational and Electronic Dynamics of Nitrogen-Vacancy Diamond Revealed by Two-Dimensional Ultrafast Spectroscopy." Nature Physics 9, 744-749 (2013)

Huxter, V.M., Oliver, T.A.A., Budker, D., Fleming, G.R.,  Vibrational and Electronic Ultrafast Relaxation of the Nitrogen-Vacancy Centers in Diamond" Ultrafast Phenomena XVIII: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference. IEPJ Web of Conferences, 41, 04009 (2013)

Dawlaty, J. M., Bennett, D. I. G.*, Huxter, V. M.* and Fleming G. R., "Mapping the Spatial Overlap of Excitons in a Photosynthetic Complex via Coherent Nonlinear Frequency Generation." Journal of Chemical Physics 135, 044201 12 pages (2011). Cover Article and Editor's Choice Selection 2011

Huxter, V. M. and Scholes, G. D., "Acoustic Phonon Strain Induced Mixing of the Fine Structure Levels in Colloidal CdSe Quantum Dots Observed by a Polarization Grating Technique." Journal of Chemical Physics 132, 104506 15 pages (2010)

Huxter, V. M., Kim, J., Lo, S., Lee, A., Nair, P. S. and Scholes, G. D., "Spin Relaxation in Zinc Blende and Wurtzite CdSe Quantum Dots." Chemical Physics Letters 491, 187-192 (2010)

Huxter, V. M. and Scholes, G. D., "Photophysics of Colloidal Semiconductor Nanocrystals." Journal of Nanophotonics 3, 032504 16 pages (2009)

Kim, J., Huxter, V. M., Curutchet, C. and Scholes, G. D., "Measurement of Electron-Electron Interactions and Correlations using Two-Dimensional Electronic Double-Quantum Coherence Spectroscopy." Journal of Physical Chemistry A 113, 12122-12133 (2009)

Huxter, V. M., Lee, A., Lo, S. and Scholes, G. D., "CdSe Nanoparticle Elasticity and Surface Energy." Nano Letters 9, 405-409 (2009)

Huxter, V. M., Mirkovic, T., Nair, P. S. and Scholes, G. D., "Demonstration of Bulk Semiconductor Properties in Processible Nanocrystalline Systems." Advanced Materials 20, 2439-2443 (2008)

Huxter, V. M. and Scholes, G. D., "Nonlinear Optical Approach to Multiexciton Relaxation Dynamics in Quantum Dots." Journal of Chemical Physics 125, 144716 12 pages (2006)

Scholes, G. D., Kim, J., Wong, C. Y., Huxter, V. M., Nair, S. P., Fritz, K. P. and Kumar, S., "Nanocrystal Shape and the Mechanism of Exciton Spin Relaxation." Nano Letters 6, 1765-1771 (2006)

Huxter, V. M., Kovalevskij, V. and Scholes, G. D., "Dynamics within the exciton fine structure of colloidal CdSe quantum dots." Journal of Physical Chemistry B 109, 20060-20063 (2005)

Huxter, V. M., Hamier, J. and Salin, E., "Tandem Calibration Methodology for ICP-MS." Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectroscopy 18, 71-75 (2003)


Book Chapters

Huxter, V. M., He, J. and Scholes, G. D., "Nanoscale Excitons and Semiconductor Quantum Dots". In Handbook of Nanophysics: Nanoelectronics and Nanophotonics. Sattler, K. D. Ed; CRC Press - Taylor and Francis (2010)

Huxter, V. M. and Scholes, G. D., "Electronic Energy Transfer and the Role of the Refractive Index". In Continuum Solvation Models in Chemical Physics: Theory and Application. Mennucci, B., Ed; John Wiley, New York (2007)