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Karen L. Mulfort

Group Leader Solar Energy Conversion Group

Dr. Karen Mulfort is a chemist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, was named a 2017 Rising Star by the Women Chemists Committee (WCC) of the American Chemical Society.


  • Argonne Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow, 2008-2010
  • Ph.D. Chemistry, Northwestern University, 2008
  • B.S. Chemistry, University of Minnesota, 2001
  • B.ChE. Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 2001

Recent awards

  • U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Research Program, 2018
  • American Chemical Society Women Chemists Committee Rising Star Award, 2018
  • Strategic Lab Leadership Program, University of Chicago, 2017
  • Royal Society of Chemistry Dalton Transactions, New Talent: Americas, 2016

Recent publications

  • D. Hayes, L. Kohler, L. X. Chen, K. L. Mulfort. Ligand Mediation of Vectorial Charge Transfer in Cu(I)diimine Chromophore—Acceptor Dyads. J. Phys. Chem. Lett.20189, 2070-2076. link
  • D. Hayes, L. Kohler, R. G. Hadt, X. Zhang, C. Liu, K. L. Mulfort, L. X. Chen. Excited state electron and energy relays in supramolecular dinuclear complexes revealed by ultrafast optical and X-ray transient absorption spectroscopy. Chem. Sci., 20189, 860-875. link
  • K. L. Mulfort. Interrogation of cobaloxime-based supramolecular photocatalyst architectures, Comptes Rendus Chimie, 2017, 20, 221-229. (Invited perspective to special issue on Artificial Photosynthesis) link
  • L. Kohler, R. G. Hadt, D. Hayes, L. X. Chen, K. L. Mulfort. Synthesis, structure, and excited state kinetics of heteroleptic Cu(I) complexes with a new sterically demanding phenanthroline ligand. Dalton Trans., 201746, 13088-13100. link
  • S. R. Soltau, J. Niklas, P. D. Dahlberg, K. L. Mulfort, O. G. Poluektov, L. M.Utschig. Charge Separation Related to Photocatalytic H2 Production from a Ru–Apoflavodoxin–Ni Biohybrid, ACS Energy Lett., 20172, 230-237. link
  • D. Moonshiram, A. Guda, L. Kohler, A. Picon, S. Guda, C. S. Lehmann, X. Zhang, S. H. Southworth, K. L. Mulfort. Mechanistic evaluation of a nickel proton reduction catalyst using time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy, J. Phys. Chem. C2016120, 20049-20057. link
  • S. R. Soltau, P. D. Dahlberg, J. Niklas, O. G. Poluektov, K. L. Mulfort, L. M. Utschig. Ru-protein-Co biohybrids designed for solar hydrogen production: understanding electron transfer pathways related to photocatalytic function, Chem. Sci., 20167, 7068-7078. link
  • K. L. Mulfort, L. M. Utschig. Modular homogeneous chromophore-catalyst assemblies, Acc. Chem. Res., 2016, 49, 835-843. link
  • L. Kohler, D. Hayes, J. Hong, T. J. Carter, M. L. Shelby, K. A. Fransted, L. X. Chen, K. L. Mulfort. Synthesis, structure, ultrafast kinetics, and light-induced dynamics of CuHETPHEN chromophores, Dalton Trans., 2016, 45, 9871-9883. (Invited submission to special issue for New Talent: Americas) link
  • S. Li, Y.-S. Chen, K. L. Mulfort. Structural modification in bimetallic Ru(III)-Co(II) metal-organic frameworks, CrystEngComm, 2015, 17, 1005-1009. link
  • A. Mukherjee, O. Kokhan, J. Huang, J. Niklas, L. X. Chen, D. M. Tiede, K. L. Mulfort. Detection of a charge-separated catalyst precursor state in a linked photosensitizer-catalyst assembly, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013, 15, 21070-21076. link
  • K. L. Mulfort, A. Mukherjee, O. Kokhan, P. Du, D. M. Tiede. Structure-function analyses of solar fuels catalysts using in situ X-ray scattering, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2013, 42, 2215-2227. link