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News Archive

We welcome Chelsea Widener to join the group as a new Ph.D. student.

Dr. Xue receives the 25th-year Service Award by the University of Tennessee.

Dr. Xue gives a seminar at Elon University.

Tabi Cook, Adam Lamb and Dr. Xue publish a review titled “Metal Oxides and Modern Microelectronics. Roles of Transition Metal Compounds and Their Conversion to the Materials” in Chinese J. Inorg. Chem. The paper is in a special memorial issue (2017, No. 11) for Prof. Xiaozeng You of Nanjing University, a prominent Chinese inorganic chemist and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Prof. You passed away in Nov. 2016.

Dr. Xue gives seminars at Beijing University Shenzhen Graduate School and Nanjing University.

Thomas Carpenter successfully gives a defense of his Ph.D. dissertation titled “New Optical and Electrochemical Probes for Trace Chemicals with Health and Environmental Impacts”. Congratulations!

Dr. Xue is named an ACS Fellow with an announcement in Chemical & Engineering News. Sixty four other members are also named ACS Fellows. He will be honored at the 254th ACS National Meeting in Washington.

Article “Quantitative, colorimetric paper probe for hydrogen sulfide gas” has been accepted for publication by Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical. Thomas Carpenter and Samuel Rosolina conducted the research.

Shelby Stavretis is awarded a Shull Wollan Center Graduate Research Fellowship. Congratulations!

Roberto Federico-Perez, Duncan Moseley and Shelby Stavretis gave three talks at the 253rd ACS National Meeting in San Francisco. Dr. Xue gave another invited talk at the symposium celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry. Dr. Xue gave another poster on the trends in NMR chemical shifts of d0 transition metal compounds.

Review “Trends in NMR chemical shifts of d0 transition metal compounds” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Organometallic Chemistry. Dr, Xue, Tabi Cook and Adam Lamb showed that NMR chemical shifts of d0 transition metal compounds show two trends: (1) α-Atoms of single-bonded ligands in 1st & 3rd row complexes are less shielded than 2nd row analogs; (2) α-Atoms of multiple-bonded ligands are more shielded down a group in the periodic table. The trends are based on the new complexes that Dr. Xue’s group have synthesized as well as the analysis of NMR shifts of published complexes.


The book Modern Inorganic Synthetic Chemistry (Second Edition; Edited by: Ruren Xu and Yan Xu) has been published by Elsevier. Dr. Xue’s group wrote Ch. 10 “Synthesis of Organometallic Compounds” in the book.

A paper on Co complexes with single-molecule magnet properties is published in Inorganic Chemistry. Shelby Stavretis and Seth Hunter conducted Inelastic Neutron Scattering (INS) studies on Cold Neutron Chopper Spectrometer with Dr. Andrey Podlesnyak. The work was a collaboration with Prof. Xue-Tai Chen’s group at Nanjing University and others.

Dr. Xue’s group welcomes Clay Mings, Zhiming Liu and Peter Pham.

Roberto Federico-Perez is featured in Tennessee Today for helping organize 2017 International Symposium on Green Chemistry on May 16-19, La Rochelle, France. Roberto serves on the Organizing Committee.

Dr. Xue visits Savannah State University and gives a seminar.

A paper on the novel pretreatments of whole blood is published in Ozone: Science & Engineering. The studied were conducted by Sam Rosolina and undergraduate student Kimberly Johnson.

Tabi Cook successfully defends her Ph.D. dissertation “Synthesis, Reactivity, and NMR Trends of Early Transition Metal Compounds.” Congratulations! She has started teaching at Berry College.

Dr. Xue gives a seminar at the Shull Wollan Center – a Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences at ORNL.

Roberto Federico-Perez, selected by ACS, and attends the ACS Summer School on Green Chemistry & Sustainable Energy at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO.

John Clark and Brooklyn Norman from the UTK Math and Science Center (MSC) conduct research in Dr. Xue’s group. They work with Duncan Moseley on the synthesis and characterization of metal compounds.

Commentary “Beyond Inductively Coupled Plasma: Electrochemical Approaches for Analyzing Impurities in Pharmaceuticals” led by Sam Rosolina is published in Journal of Research Analytica.

Dr. Xue gives an invited talk at the 7th National Conference on Physical Inorganic Chemistry by the Chinese Chemical Society, Beijing.

Shelby Stavretis is awarded the Graduate Fellowship for Achievement in Inorganic Chemistry and Sam Rosolina is named the Gleb Mamantov Graduate Chemistry Scholar at the Department Honors Day. Congratulations to both!


Sam Rosolina recognized for Extraordinary Professional Promise at 2016 Chancellor’s Honors Banquet.

Sam Rosolina successfully defends his Ph.D. dissertation “Novel Methods and Sensors for the Analysis of Trace Chemicals with Potential Environmental Applications.” Congratulation!

Sam later started working for Microbial Insights, Inc.

Roberto Federico-Perez gives a presentation at the 2016 Pitt (Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy) in Atlanta, GA. Roberto was supported by an Eastman travel award.

A paper on bismuth(III)-based, disposable sensor for H2S detection has been accepted for publication in Analytical Chemistry. Led to Sam Rosolina, the team has developed the non-toxic sensor to replace commercial lead(II) acetate-based test papers. The sensor responds to ≥30 ppb H2S in 1.35 L of gas, a typical volume of human breath, and it may be used to detect human bad breath. The paper also reports a simple, laboratory setup for generating small volumes of ppb-ppm H2S gas.

Prof. Jie Guo has successfully completed her one-year visit and returned to Hebei University of Science and Technology.

Kendhl Witt has successfully defended her MS thesis “Optical Sensors for the Analysis of Alcohols in Fuels.”

A paper on the syntheses and characterization of tantalum alkyl imides and amide imides has been accepted for publication in Organometallics. Led to Seth Hunter, this work is a collaboration with Prof. Michael Richmond of the University of North Texas.

A paper on magnetic transitions (zero-field splittings or ZFS) in iron porphyrin halides by inelastic neutron scattering (INS) and ab initio studies of the origins of ZFS has been accepted for publication in Inorganic Chemistry. Led by Shelby Stavretis, INS studies were conducted with Dr. Andrey Podlesnyak of Oak Ridge National Laboratory at Cold Neutron Chopper Spectrometer, Spallation Neutron Source. The work is also a collaboration with Dr. Mihail Atanasov, Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Chemical Energy Conversion in Germany, and Dr. Frank Neese of MPI.

Tabi Cook and Shelby Stavretis each give a presentation at the ACS National Meeting in Boston.

A paper on direct electrochemical determination of cadmium(II) and lead(II) in pharmaceutical ingredients has been accepted for publication in Analytical Chimica Acta. Conducted mainly by Sam Rosolina, this work is through collaboration with Dr. Carlos Lee of Pfizer.

A paper on zirconium amide amidinates and their reactivities has been accepted for publication in a special issue in Polyhedron on Prof. Malcolm Chisholm’s 70th birthday. This work is a collaboration with Prof. Zhenyang Lin’s group at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Shelby Stavretis is featured on the Higher Ground magazine of the College of Arts and Sciences.

A paper by Adam Lamb and Roberto Federico-Perez titled “Product in indole detection by Ehrlich’s reagent” is accepted for publication in Analytical Biochemistry. Ehrlich’s reagent (p-dimethylaminobenzaldhyde in 95% EtOH with HCl as catalyst) is widely employed in spot tests of indoles for over a century. It is, however, not clear how many indole molecules react and whether the reaction takes place at the α- or β-position of the indole molecule. Our work shows that two indole molecules react at their β-position.

Congratulations to the following group members for receiving awards at the Honors Day!

  • Sam Rosolina for an Outstanding Teaching Award
  • Roberto Federico-Perez and Shelby Stavretis for the Second-Year Candidacy Awards
  • Seth Hunter for the Graduate Fellowship for Achievement in Inorganic Chemistry

Congratulations to Roberto Federico-Perez for receiving a 2015 Eastman Chemical Company Travel Award!

Seth Hunter successfully gave his Ph.D. defense. Congratulations!

Paper “Optical Sensors for the Detection of Trace Chloroform” is accepted for publication in Analytical Chemistry. This is the work of former students Jonathan Fong and Justin Pena in collaboration with Drs. Maksudul Alam, Uma Sampathkumaran, Kisholoy Goswami of InnoSense, Inc.

Dr. Xue’s group welcomes new Ph.D. student Duncan Moseley.

Dr. Xue gave an invited talk “Optical Sensor for the Detection of Trace FAME/Biodiesel” at an ASTM D02 Meeting, San Diego.

Dr. Xue’s group welcomes Visiting Associate Professor Jie Guo from the Hebei University of Science and Technology.

Dr. Xue gave a seminar at ORNL on probing molecular magnetism by inelastic neutron scattering.

Dr. Xue’s group published the paper Intermolecular Interactions in Solid-State Metalloporphyrins and Their Impacts on Crystal and Molecular Structures in Inorganic Chemistry. This was the work of Seth Hunter and Brenda Dougan in collaboration with Drs.  Christina Hoffmann and Xiaoping Wang of ORNL, Yu-Sheng Chen of the Center for Advanced Radiation Sources, University of Chicago, and Garry McIntyre, formerly at the Institut Laue-Langevin and now at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).

Dr. Xue gave two invited talks at SERMACS 2014, Nashville.

Tabi Callaway gave a talk at the 248th ACS National Meeting in San Francisco, CA.

Dr. Xue gave an invited talk at the 29th Chinese Chemical Society Congress, Beijing.

The Xue’s group published an article titled Reactions of zirconium amide amidinates with dioxygen. Observation of an unusual peroxo intermediate in the formation of oxo compounds in Chemical Communications.

Shelby Stavretis returns after her two-week training at the National School on Neutron & X-ray Scattering.

A paper by Xue’s group titled DFT Examination of Rare a-SiMe3 Abstraction in Ta(NMe2)4[N(SiMe3)2]: Formation of the Imide Compound Ta(=NSiMe3)(NMe2)3 and Its Trapping to Give Guanidinate Imides was accepted for publication in Dalton Transactions. The paper was co-authored with Dr. Mike Richmond of the University of North Texas.

Xue’s group published a paper “Fluorescent-Dye Doped Thin-Film Sensors for the Detection of Alcohol Vapors” on American Journal of Analytical Chemistry. This paper was co-authored with Dr. Kisholoy Goswami, Dr. Uma Sampathkumaran and other scientists at InnoSense LLC and a NASA scientist.

Xue’s group welcomes Austin Baker of Jefferson County High School and Lane Carr of Pigeon Forge High School from the UT Upward Bound Math and Science Center program. Austin and Lane will with Sam Rosolina this summer to detect metal ions in river waters.

Xue’s group welcomes Eric Mckinsey and Steven Petarra, both UT undergraduates, to the group this summer. Eric will work with Sam Rosolina to develop a method for chromium detection. Steven will work with Tabi Callaway to make spin crossover compounds for neutron scattering studies.

Xue’s group and family members took the Tennessee River cruise trip “Murder Mystery Cruise” with “The Star of Knoxville”. People enjoyed the southern style BBQ buffet. Seth and Mellissa Hunter solved the mystery and Mellissa received an award.

Xue’s group welcomes Luke Gallion of Butler University. Luke will be with us this summer through the NSF REU program, working a spin crossover compound for neutron scattering studies.

Jonathan Fong received the 2014 Chancellor’s honor in Extraordinary Professional Promise.


Shelby Stavretis was recently admitted to the National School on Neutron and X-ray Scattering after a nationwide competition. The school is a Department of Energy program and only selected students in ALL SCIENCE/ENGINEERING FIELDS across the country are admitted.

Jonathan Fong successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation on the development of new optical sensors. Congratulations!

A paper on the reactions of a metallacyclic amide with silanes with unusual C-H bond activation is published in Chemistry – A European Journal. The paper was a collaboration with Prof. Hu (Frank) Cai’s group at Nanchang University. Frank was a postdoctoral associate in our group in the early 2000s.

Seth Hunter and Dr. Xue attended the 247th ACS National Meeting in Dallas. Seth gave two presentations about his research. Dr. Xue gave a talk in the symposium honoring Prof. Ken Caulton
of Indiana University, one of his former postdoc advisors. Dr. Caulton received the 2014 ACS Award in Organometallic Chemistry.

Jonathan Fong and Sam Rosolina attended the Pittcon 2014 in Chicago. They each gave a presentation.

Dr. Xue gave a seminar at the Pellissippi State Community College.

Dr. Xue gave a seminar at the Pellissippi State Community College
Dr. Xue gave a seminar at the Pellissippi State Community College

Seth Hunter’s paper “Magnetic Excitations in Metalloporphyrins by Inelastic Neutron Scattering: Determination of Zero-Field Splittings in Iron, Manganese, and Chromium Complexes” is now published in Inorganic Chemistry.

Former group member, Dr. Julia Abbott, currently Science Education Program Manager at ORAU (Oak Ridge Associated Universities), was featured in Knoxville News Sentinel.

She has helped organize the “Science Saturdays — a program that brings together scientists, local teachers and students through interactive presentations and hands-on science.” Julia received Ph.D. from our group in 2010 with research in organometallic chemistry.

Seth Hunter’s paper “Magnetic Excitations in Metalloporphyrins by Inelastic Neutron Scattering. Determination of Zero-Field Splittings in Iron, Manganese and Chromium Complexes” has been accepted for publication in Inorganic Chemistry. This is a collaboration with Dr. Andrey Podlesnyak of the Quantum Condensed Matter Division at ORNL. ZFS parameters of several non-deuterated metalloporphyrins [M(TPP)Cl] and [Mn(TPP)] (H2TPP = tetraphenylporphyrin) have been directly determined by inelastic neutron scattering (INS).

Welcome Roberto Federico Perez, Shelby Stavretis, and Kendhl Witt to join the group.

A review on the transition-metal-catalyzed hydroaminoalkylation is published in Chinese Journal of Inorganic Chemistry. The paper is dedicated to Prof. Xiaozeng You on the occasion of his 80th birthday.� It was a collaboration written with Prof. Hu (Frank) Cai’s group at Nanchang University. Frank was a postdoctoral associate in our group in the early 2000s.

A paper titled “Unexpected C-H Bond Activations during and after the Reaction of a Metallacyclic Amide with Silanes. Formation of a μ-Alkylidene Hydride Complex, Its H-D Exchanges, and β-H Abstraction by a Hydride Ligand” has been accepted for publication in Chemistry – A European Journal. This paper is a collaboration between Dr. Xue’s group and that of Dr. Hu (Frank) Cai of Nanchang University. Frank was a postdoctoral associate in the group.

Jonathan Fong received a scholarship from the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel to attend the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, Jan. 20 – 23, 2014 in San Diego.

Sam Rosolina Won Bronze at the 2013 MILSET Science Photo Contest. Read More

Dr. Xue’s group has published a paper in Inorganic Chemistry on their studies of the reactions of Group 4 amide guanidinate complexes with dioxygen or water. They have observed the formation of oxo guanidinate complexes in the reactions.

Dr. Xue attended the ACS National Meeting in Indianapolis Sept. 7-10, 2013, and gave an invited talk on biodiesel sensorsDr. Xue attended the ACS National Meeting in Indianapolis Sept. 7-10, 2013, and gave an invited talk on biodiesel sensors. His talk was reported in the Chemical & Engineering News entitled “Keeping A Watchful Eye On Biodiesel” (Volume 91 Issue 37, p. 29, September 16, 2013) He also met a former member of the group, Prof. Hu (Frank) Cai (right) of Nanchang University and discussed research.

Dr. Xue’s group has just published a paper in Chem. Comm. on their studies of the reactions between tungsten alkylidyne complexes and oxygen or water. They observed the formation of an oxo complex and unusual silyl migrations.

Dr. Xue has been informed by American Journal of Analytical Chemistry (AJAC) that his paper with former Ph.D. student Stefanie Bragg Optimization of dry ashing of whole blood samples for trace metal analysis has been downloaded 1003 times. It proves to be one of the most popular papers in the journal.

Jonathan Fong and Dr. Xue published a paper A dye-doped optical sensor for the detection of biodiesel in diesel in Chemical Communications. The findings are also reported in Biodiesel Magazine.

Dr. Xue attended 44th World Chemistry Congress (IUPAC 2013) in Istanbul and gave a keynote talk on using inelastic neutron scattering to probe magnetic properties of metalloporphyrins. He also gave a talk on a visible sensor for biodiesel in diesel. During Dr. Xue’s stay in Istanbul, he visited the lab of Prof. Mustafa Culha at Yeditepe University. Prof. Culha is a former graduate student of the department (Ph.D. 2002 with Dr. M. Sepaniak).

Dr. Xue in his talk

Dr. Xue in his talk

Dr. Xue with Prof. Culha and two of his graduate students

Dr. Xue with Prof. Culha and two of his graduate students

Adam Lamb gave a successful Ph.D. defense. Congratulations!

Dr. Xue, Tabi Callaway, Seth Hunter and Sam Rosolina visited the ARiES Energy and Wampler’s Farm Sausage in Lenoir City, TN on June 5. ARiES Energy is an energy contractor focused on clean and renewable energy products and related services.  It is helping Wampler’s Farm Sausage to be completely off the grid by the end of 2012 through a combination of both solar power and a system converting biomass into hydrogen (VIDEO 1 | VIDEO 2).

Dr. Xue, Tabi Callaway, Seth Hunter and Sam Rosolina visited the ARiES Energy and Wampler's Farm Sausage) in Lenoir City

Dr. Xu’s group has also received donated hog blood samples from Wampler’s Farm Sausage in their NIH-funded research to detect trace chromium in biological fluids.

Dr. Xue has been invited to give a talk in the Symposium “Fuels, chemicals, materials, and energy from coal, natural gas, oil shale, and other natural resources” at the 246th ACS National Meeting in Indianapolis in September.

Bhavna Sharma has successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation entitled “Syntheses, Characterization and Reactions of Early Transition Metal Guanidinate and Imide Compounds.”  Congratulations! She’ll start a new position in microelectronic industry.

Sam Rosolina received Second Year Candidacy Award during 2013 Honors Day.

Royce Dansby-Sparks, Assistant professor at the University of North Georgia spoke as an invited speaker at the 2013 Research Open House.

Dr. Xue recently has been invited to give a keynote talk at the 44th IUPAC Word Chemistry Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, on August 11-16, 2013.

Adam Lamb, Bhavna Sharma and Dr. Xue attended the 245th ACS National Meeting in New Orleans.  They each gave a presentation in inorganic and organometallic chemistry.

Jonathan Fong, Sam Rosolina and Thomas Carpenter attended the 2013 Pittcon Conference in Philadelphia.  Jonathan and Sam gave presentations about their research.

Former group member Dr. Julia Abbott started as Education Program Manager at Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), a consortium of major Ph.D.–granting academic institutions with strategic partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Stefanie Bragg will be defending her thesis entitled “New Approaches to Electroanalysis of Metals and Pretreatment of Biological and Environmental Samples” on Wednesday, July 11 at 3pm in BH 415.

Prof. Royce Dansby-Sparks of North Georgia College & State University, a former Ph.D. student of the group, started his faculty appointment in Fall 2011 and has just completed his academic year there.

Two high school students Kara McLain and Zachery Rivera joined Xue group to conduct research this summer as part of UT Math and Science Center program.

Stefanie Bragg’s article entitled “Flower-like self-assembly of gold nanoparticles for highly sensitive electrochemical detection of chromium(VI)” co-aothored with Dr. Ruizhuo Ouyang, Post Doctoral Research Associate in Professor Xue’s group, was printed as a Featured article on the outside front cover of April 2012 issue. Read More

Stefanie Bragg received a Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry (SEAC) Travel Award to present her research at PittCon 2012. Read More

Dr. Xue received Research and Creative Achievement Award during 2011 Chancellor’s Honors Banquet. Read More

Dr. Xue has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for distinguished contributions to the field of inorganic-organometallic chemistry, particularly for synthesis of metal complexes and mechanistic studies of the formation of metal carbenes.

Brenda Dougan completed her Ph.D. research (Studies of Tungsten Alkyl Alkylidyne Compounds and Iron Porphyrin Derivatives) in Fall 2009 and joined the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Royce Dansby-Sparks completed his Ph.D. research (New Electrochemical and Optical Detection Methods for Biological and Environmental Applications) in summer 2010 and joined the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Julia Abbott received a best poster by the department board of visitors and gave a seminar in the department in Spring 2010.

Royce Dansby-Sparks, Dr. Xue, and collaborators published an article in Analytical Chemistry about a highly sensitive sensor for carbon dioxide detection.

Dr. Shu-Jian Chen, Julia Abbott, Dr. Carlos Steren and Dr. Xue published a paper about niobium and tantalum tetramers in a special issue of the Journal of Cluster Science honoring Prof. Malcolm Chisholm, one of Dr. Xue’s postdoctoral advisors, on the occasion of his 65th birthday.

Drs. Shu-jian Chen and Xue published an article about the reaction of a tantalum complex with oxygen in the special issue of Organometallics (the Dietmar Seyferth Festschrift).

Kristie Armstrong, Clarissa Tatum, Royce Dansby-Sparks, Dr. Jim Chambers and Dr. Xue published a paper in Talanta about a new electrochemical method to detect lead, cadmium, and zinc.

Dr. Shu-Jian Chen, Dr. Xue, and collaborators published a paper in Inorganic Chemistry about the reactions of niobium amides with oxygen.

Julia Abbott and Clarissa Tatum defended their dissertations entitled “Tantalum Carbene and Imide Complexes. Synthesis, Characterization, and Pathways of Formation” and “Novel Electrochemical Detections of Biologically and Environmentally Relevant Substances,” respectively.

Dr. Xue appointed Associate Editor for the journal Science China Chemistry

Julia Abbott’s paper published in Journal of American Chemical Society

Dr. Xue helped organize US-China academic exchanges in chemistr