Energy Center

Jikka Kenttamaa

Contact Information

BRWN 3141A
Department of Chemistry
College of Science
West Lafayette, IN 47907


We are interested in various aspects of organic and bioorganic mass spectrometry. The focus areas include fundamental understanding of gas-phase ion chemistry, and structural characterization of molecules. Mass spectrometry provides a powerful tool for the analysis of organic and biomolecules. Chemical ionization methods are developed for (1) distinction of isomeric compounds, including hydrocarbons and amino acids, (2) structural characterization of complex molecules, such as synthetic polymers and peptides, and (3) examination of the composition of complex mixtures, especially base oils. Laser-based methods are developed for evaporation of intact neutral bio- and synthetic polymers into mass spectrometers. 

Mass spectrometry allows the direct examination of organic and biological reaction intermediates that are difficult to study by other experimental approaches. The information obtained on the molecules' intrinsic properties provides the basis for understanding of their behavior in solution. This work includes the design of gas-phase synthesis strategies, kinetic and thermochemical studies, and molecular orbital calculations on aromatic radicals and biradicals, nucleobase radical cations and ionized carbenes (see figure on the right). The knowledge obtained in these studies aids the understanding of DNA degradation by antitumor drugs and UV irradiation.  

Expertise: Development of analytical methods for characterization of hydrocarbon mixtures, such as petroleum




B.S., Helsinki University, 1977 
Ph.D., Helsinki University, 1986 
Postdoctoral Research Associate, 1986 
Assistant Research Scientist, 1987-1989


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