ChemistryWestern Science

Mark S. Workentin

Mark S. Workentin

Contact Information

Title: Professor
Office: Rm 223 ChB
Lab: 203 ChB
Phone (Office): ext 86319
Twitter: @WorkentinChem

Organic Teaching Division

Synthesis, Catalysis and Molecular Materials

Physical Organic Chemistry of Materials, Organic Materials Synthesis, Organic Photochemistry, Organic Electrochemistry

Group Website


Ph.D., McMaster University, 1992; B.Sc., Western Ontario, 1988



Physical Organic Chemistry of Materials

The @WorkentinChem Group’s focus is to address fundamental physical organic aspects of interfacial organic reactions and to utilize the knowledge gained to design and synthesize new materials and to demonstrate potential applications. Reactions of molecules in solution are supported by a well-developed set of methods from physical organic chemistry, but the reactions of molecules at the interface of materials are not as well understood. We design and synthesize organic molecular systems that undergo specific thermal, photochemical, or electrochemical reactions to serve as probes of the interfacial material environment. Once understood these reactions provide new platforms for selective surface modifications to build new architectures. A cornerstone of our efforts focuses on understanding the mechanistic factors that are unique to interfacial reactions on metal nanoparticle surfaces and carbonaceous material. The importance and motivation behind these studies lies in the utility of these types of functional materials in the development of value added products in nano-medicine, bio-imaging, drug delivery, molecular and biomolecular electronics, sensors, catalysis etc. Our studies examine fundamental factors that control surface reactivity and molecular interactions in these unique nanomaterials. We are addressing these issues by examining photoinduced, redox activated and thermal reactivity in terms of chemical properties (structure-reactivity relationships, conformational and orientation mobility) and physical properties (structure, order-disorder phenomena, reaction conditions). A complete understanding of these factors is essential for the rational design and control of any modified surface for a particular application.
To accomplish our goals, we recruit and train inquisitive and creative students at all levels (undergraduate B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.). These personnel master a broad spectrum of core chemical competencies in organic synthetic methods and analysis, inorganic and organic materials chemistry, the specialized techniques for their characterization as well as advanced skills in electrochemistry, photochemistry and materials chemistry. Ultimately, these trained HQP become the creative minds driving the future of Canadian science and innovation. Trained HQP from the group are award winning and have had a 100% professional placement over the last 12+ years.

My Research Group Homepage


Selected Publications