Karah Knope

Office: 418 Regents Hall
phone: 202-687-5937
Lab: 202-687-7140


Lab web site


B.A. 2002, Lake Forest College
Ph.D. 2010 The George Washington University
Postdoctoral Fellow 2010-2012, Argonne National Laboratory
Assistant Chemist 2012-2014, Argonne National Laboratory

Research Interests

Our group is broadly interested in self-assembly processes, phase formation, and structure-property relationships in f-element materials. All projects have a significant synthetic component and involve the characterization of new materials. Current research areas include:

Lanthanide based inorganic and inorganic-organic hybrid materials

Our group is developing new synthetic strategies to access crystalline mixed lanthanide-transition metal oxide based materials that are targeted for their promising spectroscopic and magnetic properties. Areas of research include the synthesis and design of inorganic and hybrid organic-inorganic frameworks and supramolecular assemblies, structure elucidation, characterization (spectroscopic, magnetic, thermal behavior, etc) and correlation of structure property relationships.

Actinide-organic interactions

Our group is also examining the interactions of the early actinides (Th, U) with biochemically and geochemically relevant functional groups. We are exploring the speciation and structural chemistry of actinide-organic ligand complexes in solution and the solid state using spectroscopic techniques, a number of synthetic methods, and solid state structural characterization including single crystal and powder X-ray diffraction. We are interested in correlating the solution species with those observed in the solid state as this can serve as a basis upon which to build a fundamental understanding of the chemical behavior of the actinides. Of particular interest are precipitation, complexation, and redox reactions that occur in aqueous solution and under the influence of functionally relevant organic ligands. Such insight into the coordination and reactivity of the actinides has important implications for the transport and fate of heavy elements in the environment.

Selected Recent Publications

Knope KE, Soderholm L. Plutonium(IV) cluster with a hexanuclear [Pu6(OH)4O4]12+ core. Inorganic Chemistry, 2013, 52(12), 6770-6772. (highlighted article)

Knope KE, Soderholm L. Solution and solid-state structural chemistry of actinide hydrates and their hydrolysis and condensation products. Chemical Reviews, 2013, 113(2), 944-994.

Knope KE, Kimura H, Yasaka Y, Nakahara M, Andrews MB, Cahill CL. Investigation of in situ oxalate formation from 2,3-pyrazinedicarboxylate using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Inorganic Chemistry, 2012, 51(6), 3883-3890.

Knope KE, de Lill DT, Rowland CE, Cantos PM, de Bettencourt-Dias A, Cahill CL. Uranyl sensitization of samarium(III) luminescence in a two-dimensional coordination polymer. Inorganic Chemistry, 2012, 51(1), 201-206 (cover article).

Knope KE, Wilson RE, Vasiliu M, Dixon DA, Soderholm L. Thorium(IV) molecular clusters with a hexanuclear Th core. Inorganic Chemistry, 2011, 50(19), 9696-9704.