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An Ultrafast Spectroscopist

Speed is Dr. Piotrowiak’s game –the speed of ultrafast energy conversion processes, that is.

Piotrowiak's research explores how light turns into usable forms of energy, such as electricity or chemical energy. It looks at the molecular level at how to harness solar energy for power generation and how to drive chemical reactions for the direct production of fuels or feedstock for polymers and plastics. His work has led to the design and construction of an ultrafast microscope that allows researchers to study processes that occur in one-tenth of a trillionth of a second.

That discovery led the Rutgers Board of Governors to name Piotrowiak the Donald H. Jacobs Chair in Applied Physics.  For a detailed explanation of his research and what it means to researchers across the nation, please read Piotr Piotrowiak, Researcher in Ultrafast Energy Conversion Processes, Awarded Donald H. Jacobs Chair .

Piotrowiak studied chemical physics at the University of Wroclaw, in his native Poland.  He holds the PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago (1988).  He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Argonne National Laboratory in the Electron Transfer and Energy Conversion Group, and then went to the University of New Orleans, rising from assistant professor to associate professor in 1996.  A year later he joined the chemistry faculty at Rutgers-Newark.

Piotrowiak has been a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science visiting fellow at  the Tokyo Institute of Technology and a visiting scientist in the Protein Engineering Department at Genentech Inc., in San Francisco.  He has been an active member of many scientific committees and international conferences.

He is the editor and co-author of Solar Energy Conversion: Dynamics of Interfacial Electron and Excitation Transfer (The Royal Society of Chemistry, March 2013).