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!  

Let's chat, make an appoint with the Chair by email



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 6118: The Science of Nuclear Materials



Ph.D., SUNY-Stony Brook, 1999

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