Christopher L. Cahill

Chemistry Department Chair, Chris Cahill

Christopher L. Cahill

Department Chair, Professor of Chemistry and International Affairs


Office Phone: (202) 994-6959
800 22nd St. NW Washington DC 20052

Students and other community members are invited!  

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Hybrid materials, f-element chemistry, Nuclear fuel cycle, X-ray crystallography, and Luminescent materials

Hybrid materials such as coordination polymers and metal-organic frameworks find application in areas as diverse as gas storage, rad-waste immobilization, micro-electronics and catalysis. Those containing lanthanide (Ln) or actinide (An) compositions (aka the ‘f-elements’) are of particular importance to the nuclear fuel cycle and related environmental issues. Further, Ln elements see application in areas from medical imaging to magnetic materials and sensing devices.  Synthetic routes for producing these materials often include soft-chemical or molecular design approaches. Soluble molecular precursors or even dense phase minerals provide the structural building units that are induced to assemble via covalent and non-covalent (e.g. hydrogen- and/or halogen- bonding) interactions. Investigation of the properties of these (and other) types of materials is closely related to an understanding of their crystal structures. As such, a major focus of our group is the X-ray structural characterization of large families of both novel and naturally occurring solid-state compounds to establish assembly criteria and structure-property relationships, with a particular emphasis on luminescence behavior.


Chem 1111: General Chemistry I

Chem 1112: General Chemistry II

Chem 4134: Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry

Chem 6235: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry

IAFF (International Affairs) 6118: The Science of Nuclear Materials

  • Raghavan, A.; Cahill, C. L., Orbital Engineering Mediated by Cation Conjugation in Luminescent Uranyl-Organic Hybrid Materials. Angew. Chem. 2024, 136 (7), e202318161.

  • Herder, J. A.; Kruse, S. J.; Nicholas, A. D.; Forbes, T. Z.; Walter, E. D.; Cho, H.; Cahill, C. L., Systematic Study of Solid-State U(VI) Photoreactivity: Long-Lived Radicalization and Electron Transfer in Uranyl Tetrachloride. Inorganic Chemistry 2024, 63 (11), 4957-4971.

  • Walusiak, B. W.; Raghavan, A.; Cahill, C. L., Bandgap modification in 0D tellurium iodide perovskite derivatives via incorporation of polyiodide species. RSC Advances 2023, 13 (20), 13477-13492.

  • Surbella, R. G., III; Ducati, L. C.; Schofield, M. H.; McNamara, B. K.; Pellegrini, K. L.; Corbey, J. F.; Schwantes, J. M.; Autschbach, J.; Cahill, C. L. Plutonium Hybrid Materials: A Platform to Explore Assembly and Metal–Ligand Bonding. Inorganic Chemistry 2022, 61 (45), 17963-17971.

  • D. M. Brager; A. D. Nicholas; M. H. Schofield; C. L. Cahill, Pb–Oxo Interactions in Uranyl Hybrid Materials: A Combined Experimental and Computational Analysis of Bonding and Spectroscopic Properties. Inorganic Chemistry 2021, 60 (22), 17186−17200.

Ph.D., SUNY-Stony Brook, 1999

  • Christopher Cahill is the recipient of the 2024 Oscar and Shoshanna Tractenberg Prize for Scholarship (Research).  This award recognizing outstanding research accomplishments. The award is meant to honor faculty scholarship and demonstrate the George Washington University’s commitment to research and creative endeavors.
  • Chemistry’s Cahill Elected AAAS Fellow. Christopher Cahill, chair of the CCAS Chemistry Department and a leader in inorganic and materials chemistry, was honored among a distinguished class of scientists, engineers and innovators.
  • Christopher L. Cahill was awarded the 2023 Hillebrand Prize in recognition of his contributions to the science of chemistry. The Chemical Society of Washington announced Professor Christopher L. Cahill as the winner of the 2023 Hillebrand Prize in recognition of illuminating research in condensed phase actinide chemistry and crystal engineering harnessing organic-actinide interactions, which inform efforts in environmental remediation, separations and nuclear forensics. Professor Cahill will be presenting at the upcoming CSW dinner meeting on March 14, 2024. You can read the story in GW Today
  • Christopher Cahill Co-Leads $25 Million Consorium Research Project.  The purpose of the consortium, according to the U.S. Energy Department, is to educate the next generation of nuclear forensic scientists and engineers.