Karl T. Mueller

Karl T. Mueller

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  • Adjunct Professor of Chemistry
002 Chemistry Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 863-8674


  1. B.S., University of Rochester, 1985
  2. Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1992

Selected Publications:

N. Tsomaia, S. L. Brantley, J. P. Hamilton, C. G. Pantano, and K. T. Mueller, “NMR Evidence for Formation of Octahedral and Tetrahedral Al and Repolymerization of the Si Network During Dissolution of Aluminosilicate Glass and Crystal”, American Mineralogist 88, 54-67 (2003)

R. Fry, N. Tsomaia, C. G. Pantano, and K. T. Mueller, “19F MAS NMR Quantification of Accessible Hydroxyl Sites on Fiberglass Surfaces”, Journal of the American Chemical Society 125, 2378-2379 (2003).

R. Fry, C. G. Pantano, and K. T. Mueller, “Effect of Boron-Oxide on Surface Hydroxyl Coverage Of Aluminoborosilicate Glass Fibers:  A 19F Solid-State NMR Study”, Physics and Chemistry of Glasses 44, 64-68 (2003).

S. Prabakar, C. G. Pantano, and K. T. Mueller, “Intermediate-Range Order in Barium Aluminoborate Glasses from Heteronuclear Correlation NMR Experiments”, Physics and Chemistry of Glasses 44, 125-131 (2003).

G. M. Bowers, A. S. Lipton, and K. T. Mueller, “High-Field QCPMG NMR of Strontium Nuclei in Natural Minerals”, Solid-State NMR 29, 95-103 (2006).

R. A. Fry, K. Kwon, J. D. Kubicki, and K. T. Mueller, “A Solid-State NMR and Computational Chemistry Study of Mononucleotides Adsorbed to Alumina”, Langmuir 22, 9281-9286 (2006).

K. A. Denkenberger, R. A. Bowers, A. D. Jones, and K. T. Mueller, “NMR Studies of the Thermal Degradation of a Perfluoropolyether on the Surfaces of g-Alumina and Kaolinite”, Langmuir 23, 8855-8860 (2007).

G. M. Bowers, M. C. Davis, R. Ravella, S. Komarneni, and K. T. Mueller, “NMR Studies of Heat-Induced Transitions in Structure and Cation Binding Environments in Strontium-Saturated Swelling Mica”, Applied Magnetic Resonance 32, 595-612 (2007).

N. M. Washton, S. L. Brantley, and K. T. Mueller, “Probing the Molecular-Level Control of Aluminosilicate Dissolution: A Sensitive Solid-State NMR Proxy for Reactive Surface Area”, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 72, 5949-5961 (2008).


Development of experimental and theoretical techniques for solid-state NMR spectroscopy; magic-angle spinning and higher-order averaging of quadrupolar spectra; coherence transfer and dipolar-dephasing dynamics in solid-state NMR; chemistry and reactivity of complex oxide surfaces; transport of radionuclides in the environment; cyberinfrstructure for environmental kinetics analysis.

High-Resolution Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy of Complex Materials

The research in Professor Mueller's group focuses on the development and utilization of solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (SSNMR) spectroscopic techniques, and is driven by outstanding and unresolved questions in materials and environmental science that require advanced characterization tools. In these studies, Professor Mueller's group exploits the molecular–level specificity of NMR, and couples this with increased sensitivity, enhanced precision and accuracy, and superior spectral resolution afforded by the use of innovative pulse sequences, novel experimental design, and critical advances in ultra-high field magnet technology. Professor Mueller and his students leverage knowledge in chemistry and skills in NMR to push forward leading-edge scientific research and exploration both within their group and by forming collaborations with chemists, geochemists, materials scientists, engineers, and information scientists.

Professor Mueller and his research group have begun in-depth studies of the reactivity of oxide surfaces, a complex scientific issue related to such technical considerations as stability of surfaces, weathering in either harsh or mild environments, and bonding of chemical species for industrial applications. In the latter case, they are interested both in the attachment of organic polymers to surfaces through reactive binders, and the interaction of organics and biomolecules (particularly DNA) with surfaces. They have also undertaken studies of the changing chemical speciation at surfaces of phosphate, aluminoborosilicate, and aluminosilicate glasses. These studies required the use of more advanced, heteronuclear correlation SSNMR methods, as well as specialized techniques such as multiple-quantum magic-angle spinning (MQMAS) NMR.

Professor Mueller and his group are also engaged in fundamental work to understand the transport of pollutants in the environment. In research sponsored by the Department of Energy, they have used multiple field NMR (including work carried out on 750, 800, and 900 MHz spectrometer systems at Pacific Northwest National Laboratories) for the identification of reaction products when clay minerals and Hanford sediments are subjected to simulated tank waste leachates containing cesium and strontium cations. More recently, the issue of strontium sequestration in altered phases has risen to the forefront of their investigations, and they have pushed the development and use of high-field and ultra-high-field NMR techniques for the investigation of strontium bound in inorganic minerals and aluminosilicate phases. This work is now moving forward with ties to reactive transport modeling, as well as large-scale computations.

Cyberinfrastructure for Environmental Kinetics Anaylsis

Research interests in Professor Mueller's group have more recently turned to the use of cyberinfrastructure for increasing our scientific capabilities, especially in the area of environmental kinetics measurements and modeling. Professor Mueller is the lead PI of a multi-million dollar project sponsored by the National Science Foundation (entitled “Developing Collaboratory Tools to Facilitate Multi-Disciplinary, Multi-Scale Research in Environmental Molecular Sciences”), where he and his collaborators are developing the software and infrastructure to collect, analyze, and distribute data to scientists working on environmental chemistry problems. Professor Mueller has also joined a multi-university and international research project funded by Microsoft Research focused on data aggregation and re-use. The oreChem project includes Penn State, Cornell, Indiana, Southampton, and Cambridge Universities, and the oreChem team is proposing a common model for representing chemical data, developing a set of interchange protocols, and launching a suite of data extraction and data capture tools. These advances will enable an eChemistry web – a semantic graph with embedded sub-graphs representing (for example) molecules, which are then inter-related to publications that refer to them, experiments that work with them, the contexts of these experiments, the researchers working with these compounds, annotations about these papers and experiments, and the like.