Benjamin Lovaasen, Ph.D.



Assistant Professor of Chemistry
On Faculty since 2011

Phone: (630)752-7444


Doctoral dissertation in Chemistry, The University of Chicago, 2011

M.S. in Chemistry, The University of Chicago, 2005

B.S. in Chemistry, summa cum laude, Valparaiso University (Indiana),  2004

About Benjamin Lovaasen

The entire periodic table is the playground of the Inorganic Chemist. The inclusion of d-orbitals in particular in many inorganic compounds lends unique reactivities, electrochemical, photochemical and geometric properties. I am interested broadly in the chemistry of transition metal complexes that interact with light (chromophores). Once excited, these molecules have remarkable chemical properties. For example they are both easier to reduce and to oxidize than they are in their ground state; the energetic excited states of transition metal complexes are competent to perform difficult reactions, such as reducing CO2 to a sustainable fuel or oxidizing water to O2.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Analytical Chemistry
  • Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry
  • Advanced Analytical Chemistry
  • Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organometallic Chemistry
  • Advanced Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry Research


My research is directed at designing new Cr(III) chromophores that will be useful in systems for capturing solar radiation in the form of fuels. Projects in my laboratory designing new ligands that enable the formation of highly ordered chromophore systems, altering the electronic properties of ligands to impart new properties to this well studied class of chromophores and lengthening the excited-state lifetimes and stabilities of these chromophores by designing a sterically protected environment around the metal center.


Lovaasen, B.L.; Lockard, J.V.; Cohen, B.W.; Yang, S.; Simpson, C.K.; Chen, L.X.; Hopkins, M.D. “Gound-State and Excited-State Structures of Tungsten—Benzylidyne Complexes.” Inorg. Chem. 2012, 51, 5660.

Cohen, B.W.; Lovaasen, B. L.; Simpson, C.K.; Cummings, S.D.; Dallinger, R.F.; Hopkins, M.D. “1000-Fold enhancement of luminescence lifetimes via energy-transfer equilibration with the T1 state of Zn(TPP).” Inorg. Chem. 2010, 49, 5777.

Moravec, D.B.; Lovaasen, B.L.; Hopkins, M.D. “Near-infrared transient-absorption spectroscopy of zinc tetraphenylporphyrin and related compounds. Observation of bands that selectively probe the S1 excited state.” J. Photochem. Photobiol. A: Chemistry 2013, 254, 20.

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