Our group is interested in the physical and photophysical properties of transition metal complexes. Our approach relies on a confluence of synthetic chemistry, a cornucopia of physical techniques ranging from magnetism to femtosecond time-resolved spectroscopy, and high-level theory. The simultaneous examination of chemical problems on all three of these fronts places us in a unique position to explore the physical chemistry of inorganic compounds.


May 1st, 2024
The McCusker group welcomes another PhD candidate, Abdullah! Congratulations on passing your oral exam!

March 25th, 2024
Another CONGRATULATIONS to Jim on earning the 2024 Josef Michl ACS Photochemistry Award. Yi-Jyun, Micheal, Bekah, and Atanu joined in on the celebration and presented posters and talks at the 2024 ACS Spring Conference in New Orleans. Congrats to all of the group on their accomplishments! Group alumni (Professor Niels Damrauer and Professor Dani Arias-Rotondo) were also along for the celebration.

January 10th, 2024
The McCusker group would like to welcome four new first year graduate students: Abigail Gamble, Avit Patel, Saptarshi Biswas, and Shakil Ahmed! Excited to see what new chemistry you all will bring to the group.

November 20th, 2023
Congratulations to Dr. Jonathan Yarranton for successfully defending his disseration! He is now going on to continue his journey in photochemistry at Argonne National Lab as a Post-Doctoral Researcher!

Novemer 11th, 2023
Take a look at our recent publication in Chemical Science in collaboration with the Schlau-Cohen (MIT) and Jakubikova (NCSU) groups! This paper takes advantage of both ultrafast 2D electronic spectroscopy and computational efforts to discuss charge transfer dynamics in [Fe(bpy)3]2+

October 20th, 2023
Last night, the MSU Chemistry Department celebrated all of our recent achievements including the 2024 Josef Michl ACS Photochemistry Award awarded to Jim! He was given a plaque designed by the group.

October 12th, 2023
Our new Science paper is OUT! Through collaboration with Professor Sir David MacMillan's group, our group has shown that Co(III) polypyridyls can be utilized as powerful photocatalysts due to their photophysical behavior in the Marcus inverted region. By utilizing our fundamental knowledge of Co(III) photophysics, these chromophores can be used in a number of different chemical transformations.

Click the image above to navigate to the publication!

Check out the Science perspective article from Professor Oliver Wenger which discusses this work and the differing excited-state behavior of Fe(II) and Co(III) polypyridyl chromophores.

September 13th, 2023
Check out our most recent publication in JACS with Micheal Alowakennu and Atanu Ghosh! This work studies the fundamentals of the Co(III) ligand-field excited state for photoredox chemistry.

Click above to navigate to the publication!

September 7th, 2023
A huge CONGRATULATIONS to Professor James K. McCusker on receiving the 2024 Josef Michl ACS Award in Photochemistry! This award recognizes those with revolutionary accomplishments in fundamental photochemical research. This incredible accomplishment deserves a celebration!

Click the above image to see the 2024 award winners!

September 1st, 2023
We would like to welcome Robert Ortiz, from the Herbert Group at the University of Manitoba, who is joining us for 6 months to learn transient absorption techniques! Happy Sciencing!

June 14th, 2023
Atanu, Micheal, and Bekah traveled to Princeton University for the annual BioLEC Researcher's Retreat to discuss exciting chemistry in photoredox catalysis! They presented posters and discussed collaboration opportunities with researchers that are part of the BioLEC EFRC.

May 1st, 2023
Congratulations to Dr. Karl Nielsen for successfully defending his thesis! Time to add Ph.D. to your resume!


January 15th, 2023
We would like to welcome two NEW members to the McCusker Group this year: Abdullah and Courtney! Happy Sciencing!


January 9th, 2023
Professor Jim McCusker, Hayden Beissel, and Atanu Ghosh recently attended the 2023 Inter-American Photochemical Society Meeting! At this meeting, Prof. McCusker received his 2023 I-APS Award in Photochemistry (pictured top). Hayden (bottom left) and Atanu (bottom right) also presented posters, where Atanu won one of the Graduate Student Best Poster Awards. Congratulations to all of the accomplishments reconized at this 30th Winter I-APS Conference!


November 30th, 2022
Congratulations to Micheal for successfully passing his 2nd year oral exam! Welcome to the Ph.D. Candidate Club!

July 7th, 2022
Congratulation to Prof. Jim McCusker on receiving the 2023 Inter-American Photochemical Society Award in Photochemistry! Check out i-aps.org for more information on this award.

June 25th, 2022
Check out our latest paper in JACS on the development of a Co(III) spectrochemical series to study the ligand field strength of commonly employed ligands to induce charge-transfer states in low-spin, d6 systems. To read more, click HERE!

June 6th, 2022
Check out our newest paper in Faraday Discussions on using vibronic coherence to identify reaction coordinates for ultrafast excited-states dynamics of transition metal chromophores!

May 6th, 2022
Congratulations to the 2022 chemistry graduates! Jonathan Yarranton walked at commencement today graduating with his Ph.D. in chemistry! Congratulations on all your hard work!

*Jonathan Yarranton, top row in the middle

April 29th, 2022
Congratulations to Bekah for successfully passing her 2nd year oral exam! Enjoy your accomplishment!

April 18th, 2022
Check out our newest paper in Nature Chemistry investigating the effect of ion-pairing on ground- and excited-state charge distribution in Iridium(III) polypyridyl complexes using using Time-Resolved dielectric loss spectroscopy!

April 12th, 2022
Congratulations to Atanu for successfully passing his 2nd Year Oral Examination! Time to relax and enjoy your accomplishment!...Then back to Science!

May 20th, 2021
Check out our new paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society on using a modular approach of strong-field carbenes and phenanthroline to tune excited-state properties of Iron(II) polypyridyls! You can read the full article here!

May 1st, 2021
We'd like to welcome Michael Alowakennu as the newest member of the McCusker Group! Let's do some science!

March 3, 2021
Our new paper using optical and infrared spectroelectrochemistry to investigate ruthenium(II) cyano-substituted bipyridine complexes is out now in Inorganic Chemistry! Click here to read this new report!

December 15th, 2020
We'd like to officially welcome Bekah Bowers and Atanu Ghosh to the McCusker group!


September 28th, 2020
Our report on using ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy to address questions in ligand-field theory was featured in a virtual issue of Inorganic Chemistry highlighting the impact of modern spectroscopy in inorganic chemistry! To read our original report click here!

September 11th, 2020
Our new communication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society showing electron transfer from the lowest-energy ligand-field state of [Fe(tren(py)3)]2+, a common iron(II) chormophore, is now online! In this paper, the observation of electron transfer from the ligand-field state shows that these types of complexes can engage in photoinduced redox reactions with organic substrates. You can read the new article here!

August 25th, 2020
A new News and Views article has been published in Nature Chemistry highlighting our recent paper using vibrational coherence and ligand design to control ultrafast dynamics in iron(II) polypyridyls to extend charge transfer lifetimes! You can read the new article here!

July 8th, 2020
A highlight of our recent paper on using ligand design to control ultrafast dynamics in iron(II) polypyridyls was just published in Nature Reviews Chemistry!  To read the original paper click here and to read the new highlight article click here.

July 7th, 2020
A perspective article was published in Nature Reviews Chemistry today on Exploiting chemistry and molecular systems for quantum information science! The link for the article is below:
Perspective Article

June 23rd, 2020
Congratulations to our boss, Prof. James McCusker, on winning the Royal Society of Chemistry 2020 Chemical Dynamics Award! To read more about the award and his interview by RSC click here.

June 11th, 2020
Our new paper on using strategic ligand design and excited-state coherence with caged iron(II) polpyridyls to control ultrafast dynamics is online now at Nature! Check it out at the link below:

Nature Article

Our paper was also a featured article by the College of Natural Science, MSU Today, and Research@MSU!

May 12th, 2020
Our new paper on the effect of solvent on the high-spin to low-spin conversion in [Fe(bpy)3]2+ is online now at Chemical Science! Check it out at the link below:

DOI: 10.1039/D0SC01506G

Our new paper on the influence of electrolyte composition on ultrafast interfacial electron transfer in iron-sensitized solar cells is online now! Check it out at the link below:

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.9b09404

January 1st, 2020
We would like to welcome the newest member of our group, Jyun Lien!

June 26th, 2019
Our paper on the use of ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy to address the spin-state of an iron(II) ligand-field excited-state is out now! Check it out at the link below:

DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.9b01063

May 8th, 2019
Hayden Beissel succesfully passed his 2nd year oral examination! Now for some well deserved relaxation before getting back to his science!

May 3rd, 2019
Shuxian Li walked at commencement today graduating with her Ph.D in chemistry! Congratulations on all your hard work!

*Shuxian is pictured third from the left in the front row

April 4th, 2019
Bryan, Sara, and Jon attended the ACS Orlando National Meeting and gave talks in inorganic spectroscopy and synthesis!! Phenomenal work you three! Glad to have you back!

March 19th, 2019
Matt attended the BioLEC workshop at Princeton University and presented his current research with iron(II) polypyridyls.

February 1st, 2019
Jim's new paper on how the primogenic effect plays an important role in electron transfer reactions of  transition metal chromophores is out now! Click the DOI below for a link to the paper or the URL for a link to a related article in MSU today:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav9104



January 20th, 2019
The McCusker Group is proud to be part of BioLEC, a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center established on August 1, 2018 involving researchers from Princeton University, MIT, North Carolina State University, Arizona State University, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory (and, of course, Michigan State University). The Center is focused on the development of bio-inspired approaches for using light in synthetic chemistry. Information about the science being carried out through BioLEC can be found at http://chemlabs.princeton.edu/biolec/ or by clicking the picture below.


December 10th, 2018
Monica and Sara's variable temperature ultrafast spectroscopy paper is out in Chemical Science! Check it out at the link below:

DOI: 10.1039/C8SC04025G


November 11th, 2018
Katy Humphries and Sam Brineman have officially joined the McCusker group! Welcome to the group guys!


October 1st, 2018
Our paper on ultrafast vibrational dynamics in Ru-bpy-CN is out now! Check it out at the link below:

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpca.8b06197


Website Updated: 05/1/2024