Department of Chemistry

Dalton Research Group  


Larry Dalton Biographical Sketch


Larry Dalton was born on a farm near Belpre, Ohio. He attended the Honors College of Michigan State University graduating with highest honors in 1965 with a B.S. in chemistry and mathematics. Undergraduate research in chemistry resulted in five publications [the first observation of solvated electrons in anhydrous amines with E. J. Hart of Argonne National Laboratory, two papers with J. L. Dye on alkali metal-amine solutions including the first analysis of the effects of nuclear spin dependent electron spin relaxation processes in the paramagnetic resonance spectra of these solutions, and two papers with C. H. Brubaker on chloromethoxy complexes of Mo(V). Academic and research achievements were recognized by the award of the Continental Can Co. Award for the Outstanding Chemistry Junior and the Sigma Xi Graduate Research Award in Chemistry. In mathematics, Larry’s achievements were recognized by election to Pi Mu Epsilon. He completed a M.S. in chemistry in 1966 working with J. L. Dye (this degree program was started at the end of Larry’s junior year).

Further studies in chemistry were pursued with A. L. Kwiram at Harvard University leading to A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in 1971. The Harvard era was marked by a GPA of 4.00/4.00 and the award of a number of graduate fellowships including a Harvard University Fellowship and a National Institutes of Health Predoctoral Fellowship. Thesis research involved the first detailed study of paramagnetic relaxation of free radicals in solid state organic materials, the first theoretical analysis and computer simulation of electron nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) spectra of randomly disordered materials, introduction and application of the new technique of ENDOR-detection of nuclear magnetic resonance (EDNMR), and theoretical & experimental studies of optical detection of magnetic resonance (ODMR).

In 1971, Larry left Harvard to join the chemistry faculty of Vanderbilt University as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and the research staff of Varian Analytical Instrumentation Division (Palo Alto, CA) as a consultant. The Varian consultantship was offered to Larry by Dr. J. H. Hyde at the 1971 Gordon Research Conference on Magnetic Resonance after Larry gave an invited lecture (filling in for Professor Kwiram who was unable to attend). This event proved to be serendipitous as Hyde and Dalton soon (in 1972) introduced the technique of Saturation Transfer Spectroscopy (STS). Working at Vanderbilt and Varian, Larry and his students spent the next five years developing various variants of STS including nonlinear modulation spectroscopy, nonlinear multiple resonance (e.g., saturation transfer electron-electron double resonance) techniques, and time-resolved (pulsed) saturation transfer methods. Larry also developed (with Vanderbilt graduate student Bruce Robinson) a general theory of magnetic resonance capable of simulating the effects of molecular dynamics for any frequency regime (from the fast motion to rigid lattice limits); this overcame the deficiencies of earlier perturbation approaches to analysis of the effects of molecular dynamics on spectra. His theoretical treatment of magnetic resonance phenomena was based on density (super)matrix theory and involved advances in mathematical methods (e.g., computing the remainders of slowly converging series). Larry’s contributions to statistical mechanics and computer programming unified various approaches to analyzing molecular dynamics, including rotational diffusion and local mode dynamics. The new experimental and theoretical (computer simulation) methods where applied to a number of problems in biological and material sciences including DNA dynamics, the dynamics of muscle proteins, conformational changes of proteins associated with enzymatic activity, and the super/supramolecular interactions of red cell proteins defining cell structure, physiology, and senescence. In 1973, Larry was promoted to Associate Professor of Chemistry (with tenure) and received an undergraduate teaching award. In 1974, He received an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship followed by a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award in 1975, and a National Institutes of Health Research Career Development Award (also in 1975). That year, Larry was appointed to position of Research Professor of Biochemistry and Physiology at the Vanderbilt University College of Medicine. In addition to lecturing in chemistry and medicine at Vanderbilt, Larry routinely lectured in the Department of Electrical Engineering on electrical and magnetic properties of materials and he collaborated on studies of ceramic materials resulting in several invited presentations at meetings of the American Ceramical Society. In 1973, Varian moved their annual Magnetic Resonance Workshop to Vanderbilt where it was run by Larry and Varian Staff.

In 1976, Larry joined the Chemistry Faculty of the State University of New York at Stony Brook after being recruited by Paul Lauterbur (who would later win the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI). That year also marked the award of a second NIH Research Career Development Award (76-81—since RCDAs were restricted to assistant and associate professors, Larry opted to remain an associate professor until the expiration of the RCDA in 1981). During the period 1976-81, Larry also undertook consultantships with Bruker Instruments (Karlsruhe, Germany) and IBM (New York and Europe). His research focused on development of new forms of magnetic resonance instrumentation and application of the techniques to characterization of biomolecules (proteins, DNA, lipids, and their interactions) and novel species in material science (e.g., solitons and polarons in newly discovered conducting polymers such as polyaceylene). Notable achievements of the Dalton research group include design and construction of the first ECL (nanosecond clock based) pulse programmer (which still forms the basis of modern pulse programmers for magnetic resonance and is crucial to complex multi-dimensional pulse techniques), the first characterization (by ENDOR and TRIPLE experiments) of the soliton wavefunction in polyacetylene, the first detailed characterization (by ENDOR and pulsed techniques) of soliton diffusion & exchange dynamics and interchain soliton-soliton interactions, and the first electron paramagnetic resonance imaging experiments (used to characterized the spatial extent of various photo-induced solitons and polarons). Theoretical work led to quantitative definition of the contributions of electron Coulomb and electron-phonon interactions to quasi-localization of the soliton in polyacetylene. Working with Harry Frisch and Bruce Robinson (now a postdoctoral fellow at SUNY-Albany), Larry employed magnetic resonance techniques to develop a detailed model of DNA torsional dynamics. He and his students also played a significant role in defining critical supermolecular interactions involving red blood cell proteins including Band-3, hemoglobin, aldolase, and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. Larry’s work on sickle cell hemoglobin aggregation resulted in his being selected as a participant in the NIH Think Tank on Sickle Cell Anemia as a member of the Parent Committee for the Review of Comprehensive Sickle Cell Centers (which he served on for more than a decade, chairing site visits at many universities such as Harvard and the University of Chicago). During his years at SUNY-Stony Brook, Larry was nominated each year by student vote for the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching but he left Stony Brook before he was eligible to receive the award (5 years of teaching required). In 1981, Larry was promoted to Professor of Chemistry at Stony Brook. He served as an SCEEE Fellow at the United States Air Force Academy during summer of 1981 where he worked on the oxygen-iodine laser, discovered the (Al3Cl10)- species in molten salt electrolytes, and pursued research on nonlinear optical materials.

In 1982, Larry joined the faculty of the University of Southern California as Professor of Chemistry. His research at USC focused on materials chemistry and particularly on organic electroactive materials (collaborating with Professors William Steier, Robert Hellwarth, Harold Fetterman, and colleagues in the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute), on DNA mutagenesis (collaborating with Professor Myron Goodman), and on red cell proteins participating in the UCSF/Stanford/USC NIH human red cell program project grant. For example, he and his students developed new synthetic methods leading to soluble and processable conducting polymers, advanced the understanding of DNA mutagenesis, and demonstrated a number of new biological phenomena including negative cooperatively in enzymes. Subsequently, his research at USC focused more on electroactive materials for photonic and optoelectronic applications. Particular attention was paid to development of ultrastructure (nanoscale) synthesis methods including the use of external fields to complement molecular self-assembly and sequential synthesis methods and the development of multi-step condensed phase (e.g., solid state) synthesis methods. Specific achievements of the Dalton group include the first quasi-phased matched second harmonic generation achieved with an organic electro-optic material, the first demonstration of electro-optic modulation to greater than 100 GHz, the first vertical integration of polymeric optical and semiconductor very large scale integration (VLSI) electronic circuitry, the introduction of laser-assisted poling, the introduction of scanning multi-color photolithography, the demonstration of sub-1 volt electro-optic modulators, and the introduction of new techniques of time-resolved (femtosecond) nonlinear optical spectroscopy. Device engineering efforts produced a number of electro-optic devices including phased array radars, broadband acoustic spectrum analyzers, ultrafast analog/digital converters, voltage-controlled ultrafast switches, and broadband signal generators. In the area of spectroscopy, he developed the signal matrix method of simultaneously measuring the real and imaginary components of nonlinear optical susceptibilities with femtosecond resolution. The Air Force Research Laboratory used the Dalton laboratory as a reference laboratory for the characterization of two-photon cross-sections in the study of putative sensor protection materials. The Naval Research Laboratory pursued a long-term collaboration with the Dalton group on the characterization of sensor protection materials. Larry and his students also established the record for signal-to-noise in femtosecond pulsed experiments by developing a new low noise pulse amplifier. He used newly developed techniques to characterize the optical nonlinearity of fullerenes, gallium arsenide, and a number of organic electroactive materials. Larry also adapted density (super)matrix methods to execute quantitative analysis of femtosecond pulse experiments (The density matrix approach is required when pulse widths are comparable phase relaxation times). In 1986, Larry received the Burlington Northern Foundation Faculty Achievement Award and in 1990, the University of Southern California Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship. He subsequently received the 1996 Richard C. Tolman Medal of the Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society ( Endowed lectureships include the NASA Lecturer for the Fifty-Fourth Frontiers in Chemistry Lecture Series (1995) of Case Western University and the 1996 Paul C. Cross Lectureship of the University of Washington.

In 1994, Larry was appointed the first holder of the Harold E. and Lillian M. Moulton Professorship in Chemistry at the University of Southern California and was named Scientific Co-Director (with Professor George Olah, 1994 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry) of the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute. That year he was also appointed Professor of Materials Science & Engineering in the College of Engineering at USC. In 1995, Larry became Director of the Department of Defense MURI Center for Materials and Processing at the Nanometer Scale. While at USC, Larry pioneered computer-assisted learning and was the principal investigator for the USC Socrates Project for which he received an IBM Educational Division Award in 1988. While at USC, Larry was one of the most highly rated (by published student evaluations) undergraduate teachers. The 1980s marked a period of extensive Federal advisory service for Larry. He served on the Materials Research Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation (84-88), the NSF Panel on High Magnetic Fields (87), Panel 15 of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewal Energy Photovoltaics Department of Energy, and several NIH Study Sections. He served on numerous NSF panels charged with review of Presidential Young Investigator Award applications, of MRL, MRG, and MRSEC applications, and of NSF-supported national facilities. During the 1980s and 90s, Larry served as a consultant to the Arizona Disease Control Research Commission, the Veterans Administration Medical Service, and the NIH Biomedical Technology Resource Center at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. From 1990-96, he was a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the American Chemical Society journal Chemistry of Materials. He also served as a consultant to Annual Reviews of Physical Chemistry. Larry has been a featured profile in the American Chemical Society “Dimensions in Science” public radio broadcast series and in Voice of America broadcasts.

During the period 1998-2002, Larry held joint faculty appointments at the University of Southern California and the University of Washington. He currently continues to hold positions of Adjunct Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at USC. He also continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute. In 2000, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award of Michigan State University and was the 2002 Inaugural Lecturer for the National Science Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series. In 2002, Larry was named an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Simon Fraser University in Canada.

In 1998, Larry joined the faculty of the UW where he currently holds the George B. Kauffman Professorship in Chemistry and is an Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering. At the University of Washington, he soon became the leader of a number of multi-investigator research programs including the Department of Defense MURI Center on Polymeric Smart Skin Materials (2001-2006), the NSF NIRT on Opto-Electronic Materials (2001-2005), the NSF Science & Technology Center on Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research (2002-2012) , the DARPA MORPH (Supermolecular Photonics Program; 2004-); and Thrust 1 of the UW Institute for Advanced Materials & Technology (2006-). Larry is a co-founder of the University of Washington Center for Technology Entrepreneurship and is a Research Fellow in the University of Washington School of Business. At the University of Washington, he has taught courses ranging from “freshman chemistry” to “senior undergraduate statistical mechanics” to “frontiers in nanotechnology” (UW Nanotechnology Ph.D. program), to general education courses such as “research exposed” and “space technology” for the NASA Space Grant Summer Program. In 2003, he organized and lectured in the American Chemical Society PRF Summer School on the Chemistry of Information Technology. The following year, he organized the AAAS Symposium on 21st Century Photonics. In 2000, he was selected for the Washington Teaching Academy/Center for Teaching Excellence. His research at the UW has focused on the theory-inspired design of dramatically improved electro-optic materials, development of new nonlinear optical material processing (e.g., nano-imprint lithography) and characterization (e.g., femtosecond, wavelength-agile hyper Rayleigh scattering) techniques, terahertz technology and spectroscopy, silicon photonics, new sensors materials and sensor technology (pressure, temperature, corrosion etc. sensitive paints), carbon nanotube actuators, and new concepts in materials nano-engineering. Awards and honors received since 2002 include the 2006 IEEE/LEOS William Streifer Scientific Achievement Award , the 2003 Chemistry of Materials Award of the American Chemical Society (, and the Quality Education for Minorities/Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Network 2005 Giants in Science Award. During this period, Larry was also elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Senior Member of the IEEE (2006). Endowed lectureships include the 2007 University of Utah Frontiers in Science Lecture Series, the 2005 Dow/Karabatsos Lecture Series and the Alumni Distinguished Lectureship of Michigan State University, the 2004 Air Force Research Laboratory Materials, Manufacturing & Enabling Technologies Lecture Series, and the 2003 Eastman Lecture of the University of Akron.

Federal advisory service since 2000 includes member, Nanotechnology Technical Advisory Group (nTAG) of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) 2007-; member, National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for the Government Performance and Results Act (ACGPA) 2006, 2007; member, Defense Science Board Advisory Group on Electron Devices (AGED) 2006-; member, NSF Mathematical and Physical Science Directorate Advisory Committee (MPSAC) 2005-2008; member, Committee of Visitors (COV), Chemistry Division, NSF, 2007; member, Committee of Visitors (COV), Division of Materials Research, NSF, 2005; member, NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) Program NANO Panel (2007); Member, Steering Committee for the NSF Workshop on Under Represented Minorities in Chemistry (2007); member, NSF MPSAC Subcommittee on the American Competitiveness Initiative (2007); member, NSF MPSAC Subcommittee on Major Facilities (2007); invited participant, NSF Workshop on Building Function into Molecular Electronic Function in Molecular Architectures (2007); member, NSF Panel on the Technological Challenges of Organic Electronic and Photonic Materials (2004); member, NSF Panel on Sensors and Sensor Systems (2003); member, NSF Workshop on Chemical Bonding Centers (2003); member, NSF Grand Challenges Workshops for the National Nanotechnology Initiative (2003); member, Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (2003); member, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Peer Review Panel for the Energy Science and Technology Directorate (2003-2007); oversight reviewer of the National Research Council Report on Implications for the Nanotechnology Initiative (2002); member, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Peer Review Panel for the Nanotechnology Initiative (2002-2004); member, NSF NIRT Review Panel (2002); NSF SBIR/STTR Peer Review Panel (2001); member, NSF IGERT Review Panel (2001, 2006); member, NSF Nanotechnology Review Panel (2001); member, NSF Panel on Information Technology Research (2000). Larry has continued service for the Arizona Disease Control Research Commission/Arizona Biomedical Research Commission including service as the Chairman of the Panel on Biomedical Engineering, Sensing, and Imaging. Since 2005, he has been a member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) of England.

Since 2002, Larry has served on the external advisory committees (including serving as Chairman) of the Norfolk State University (NSU) Center for Research and Education on Advanced Materials (a NASA-funded center), the NSU NSF CREST Center, and the NSU NSF PREM Center. He has also served on the external advisory committee for the Alabama A&M NSF RISE Center since 2005. He served as a member of the editorial board of Materials Today (2002-2007). He was a member of the Board of Visitors of the Chemistry Department of the University of Alabama (1998-2002). Larry was a member of the Scientific American 50 Awards Advisory Committee (2003). He has been a guest editor of the Journal of Physical Chemistry (2003-2003 and 2007-2008). Larry has served on many conference organizing committees and on committees of a number of professional societies including ACS, APS, IEEE, OSA, SPIE, and MRS.

Larry has been involved in many broader impact activities including facilitating the founding of Lumera Corporation (Bothell, WA), the launching of the new Ph.D. program in Materials Science & Engineering at Norfolk State University, and has frequently lectured at the Alabama A&M University NSF-supported Workshop on Sensor Science and Sensor Technology. In 2006, he participated in the University of Florida ACS-PRF sponsored Type H grant summer school on optical and electronic materials. He has participated in many community lectures including Rotary Club lectures in both California and Washington and he has delivered several invited lectures at meetings of the Seattle Technology Alliance and the Seattle Community Development Roundtable. He has served as a judge in the Chemistry and Medical Divisions of the California State and Los Angeles County Science Fairs. He has mentored students from a number of State of Washington and State of California high schools.

Most recent scientific accomplishments of the Dalton research group include introduction and theoretical characterization of binary chromophore organic glasses, where one chromophore enhances the electrical and optical poling induced order of a second chromophore. These new composite materials exhibit electro-optic activity approaching 500 pm/V (more than 15 times the best inorganic device quality material). Theoretical and experimental characterization of these new materials (which greatly advances our general understanding of intermolecular electrostatic interactions) has required significant advances in theoretical methods (including pseudo-atomistic Monte Carlo methods) and in analytical instrumentation. Another area of major achievement has been the integration of organic nonlinear optical materials into silicon photonics. Nanoscopic device structures has permitted dramatic enhancement of electrical and optical fields permitting demonstration of new phenomenon (low optical power rectification and all-optical switching/modulation). Working with Boeing and Cal Tech (the research group of Professor Alex Scherer), sophisticated device structures (e.g., 4x4x4 reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexers (ROADMs) have been demonstrated based on integrated organic electro-optic/silicon photonic ring microresonators.

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