Print Header
Dedicated to Excellence



Phone: 715-836-5399


Ph.D. 1996: Physical Chemistry, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Thesis Advisor: Dr. Kenneth Leopold

B.A., Cum Laude, 1991: Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT
Major: Chemistry; Concentration: Music Composition
Thesis Advisor: Dr. Sunhee Choi


CHEM 115: Chemical Principles
CHEM 127: Chemistry and Climate
CHEM 304: Environmental Chemistry
CHEM 405: Applied Physical Chemistry
CHEM 433: Physical Chemistry I: Thermodynamics and Kinetics
CHEM 434: Physical Chemistry II: Molecular Structure and Spectroscopy
CHEM 438: Physical Analysis Lab
CHEM 497/499: Independent Study

Research interests

Structural and Energetic Properties of Molecular Complexes: The main interest of the Phillips group is to identify and characterize complexes (associations of two otherwise stable molecules) that are apt to undergo substantial changes in structure in reopens to a change in their chemical environment. One example of the phenomenon is a "gas-solid structure difference", i.e., when a complex has a different structure in its gaseous state than in a crystalline solid. We are particularly interested in complexes hat show extreme sensitivity to their environment, and undergo significant structural changes in solution, or even in solid neon, argon, and nitrogen. The main tools of the research are low-temperature infrared spectroscopy, which allows us to detect structural change in inert, bulk solid samples near absolute zero, and computer models, which enable us to understand the underlying  features of these systems.

Selected Publications

"Structural and Energetic Properties of Alkylfluoride – BF3 complexes in the Gas Phase and Condensed-Phase Media: Computations and Matrix Infrared Spectroscopy"; R.R. Knauf,* H.M. Helminiak,* J.P. Wrass,* T.M. Gallert,*
J.A. Phillips, J. Phys. Org. Chem. 2012, 25,493.

"Structure, Bonding, and Energetic Properties of Nitrile - Borane Complexes: RCN–BH3"; E.L. Smith,*
D. Sadowsky, C. J. Cramer, J.A. Phillips,  J. Phys. Chem. A 2011, 115, 1955.

"A Short – Yet Very Weak Dative Bond: Structure, Bonding, and Energetic Properties of N2–BH3";
E.L. Smith,* D. Sadowski, J.A. Phillips, C.J. Cramer, D.J. Giesen, J. Phys. Chem. A 2010, 114, 2628.

"Mechanism of the Iron-Mediated Alkene Aziridination Reaction: Experimental and Computational Investigations"; K.L. Klotz,* L.M. Slominski,* M.E. Riemer,* J.A. Phillips, J.A. Halfen, Inorg. Chem.  2009, 48, 801-3.

"Structural Properties of CH3CN–SO2 in the Gas Phase and Condensed-Phase Media via Density Functional Theory and Infrared Spectroscopy"; A.A. Eigner,* J.P. Wrass,* E.L. Smith*, C.C. Knutson*, J.A. Phillips, J. Molec. Struct. 2009, 919, 312-320.

"The B-N Distance Potential of CH3CN–BF3 Revisited: Resolving the Experiment-Theory Structure Discrepancy and Modeling the Effects of Low-Dielectric Environments"; C.J. Cramer, J.A. Phillips, J. Phys. Chem. B 2007, 111, 1408.

"IR spectrum of CH3CN–BF3 in Solid Neon: Matrix Effects on the Structural Properties of a Lewis Acid-Base Complex";
A.A. Eigner,* J.A. Rohde,* C.C. Knutson,* J.A. Phillips, J. Phys. Chem. B 2007, 111, 1402.

"Large Gas - Solid Structural Differences in Complexes of Halo-acetonitriles with Boron Trifluoride";
J.A. Phillips, J.A. Halfen, J.P. Wrass,* C.C. Knutson,* and C.J. Cramer, Inorg. Chem. 2006, 45, 722-731.

"Quantum Chemical Characterization of the Structural Properties of HCN–BF3";

J.A. Phillips, C.J. Cramer J. Chem. Theo. Comp. 2005, 1, 827-833.

"Condensed Phase Effects on the Structure and Bonding of C6H5CN-BF3 and (CH3)3CCN-BF3: IR Spectra, Crystallography, and Computations"; J.A. Phillips, D.J. Giesen, N.P. Wells,* J.A. Halfen, C.C. Knutson,* J.P. Wrass,*

J. Phys. Chem. A 2005, 109, 8199 - 8208.

"Structure, Bonding, and Vibrational Frequencies of CH3CN-BF3: New Insight into Medium Effects, and the Discrepancy between the Experimental and Theoretical Geometries"; D.J. Giesen, J.A. Phillips, J. Phys Chem. A (Feature Article) 2003, 107, 4009.

"Infrared Spectrum of CH3CN-BF3 in Solid Argon"; N.P. Wells*, J.A. Phillips, J. Phys. Chem. A, 2002, 106, 1518.

"Integrated Intensities of O-H Stretching Bands: Fundamentals and Overtones in Vapor-Phase Alcohols and Acids"; K.R. Lange,* N.P. Wells,* K.S. Plegge,* J.A. Phillips, J. Phys. Chem. A, 2001, 105, 3481.