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Robert Simon Tranter

Senior Chemist


2018 –present Senior Chemist, Argonne National Laboratory

2004 – 2018 Chemist, Argonne National Laboratory

1999 – 2004 Research Assistant Professor, Depts. Chemical Engineering and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago

1999-2000 Lecturer and Visiting Research Specialist in Chemistry, Dept. Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago

1997-1999 Postdoc, Dept. Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago

1994 -1997 Postdoc, DLR Stuttgart, Germany


1991-1994 PhD, Combustion Chemistry, Gas Phase Oxidation of Ethers, Ketones and Hydrocarbons’, Advisor Prof. R. W. Walker, University of Hull, U.K.

1988 -1991 BSc. Chemistry, University of Hull, U.K.

Research Interests

Gas phase reactions of radicals and molecules present many exciting and difficult challenges. These include very  high rates of reaction, short lived, highly reactive species and complex, multi-channel reactions whose rates and branching fractions vary widely with temperature and pressure. Thus, as well as fascinating chemistry to uncover, gas phase chemistry presents many exciting problems for experimentalists. My main interests are in isolating elementary unimolecular and bimolecular reactions, or small groups of reactions at high temperatures and/or pressures to address problems related to fuel pyrolysis and molecular growth (PAH, soot, nanoparticle formation). The reactions I study involve simple dissociations, formally direct paths, isomerization, roaming reactions and competition between recombination, disproportionation and non-thermal dissociation. I use shock waves to create the reaction conditions. In my lab, I have a variety of novel shock tubes which nearly instantaneously generate well-defined reaction conditions from about 500K to more than 8000 K and pressures from 5 Torr to 100 bar. The shock tubes are equipped with a variety of optical and mass spectrometric diagnostics and  a unique miniature shock tube can also be used at synchrotron light sources to exploit VUV and X-ray techniques. In addition, to the chemical studies I enjoy designing new experimental techniques to allow us to push the boundaries of our methods and study reactions at the most important conditions.

Select Publications

  • High Temperature Pyrolysis of 2-Methylfuran “, R. S. Tranter, J. B. Randazzo J. P. A. Lockhart, X. Chen and C. F. Goldsmith,  Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 20, 10826 – 10837 (2018)
  • 2D-Imaging of Sampling Probe Perturbations in Laminar Premixed Flames Using Kr X-ray Fluoresence”, N. Hansen,  R.S. Tranter, K. Moshammer, J.B. Randazzo, J.P.A. Lockhart, P. G. Fugazzi, T. Tao, and A.L. Kastengren, Combust. Flame, 181, 214-224 (2017)
  • An Experimental and Theoretical Study of the Thermal Dissociation of C4H6 Isomers”, J. P. A. Lockhart, C. F. Goldsmith, J. B. Randazzo, B. Ruscic and R. S. Tranter, J. Phys. Chem. A, 121, 3827-3850 (2017)
  • Measuring Flow Profiles in Heated Miniature Reactors with X-ray Fluoresence Spectroscopy”, R. S. Tranter, A. L. Kastengren, J. P. Porterfield, J. B. Randazzo, J. P. A. Lockhart, J. H. Baraban, and G. B. Ellison, Proc. Combust. Inst. 36, 4603-4610 (2017)
  • Thermal Dissociation and Roaming Isomerization of Nitromethane: Experiment and Theory”, C. J. Annesley, J B. Randazzo, S. J. Klippenstein, L. B. Harding, A. W. Jasper, Y. Georgievski, B. Ruscic and R. S. Tranter, J. Phys. Chem. A 119, 7872-7893 (2015)
  • Note: An Improved Driver Section for a Diaphragmless Shock Tube”, J. B. Randazzo, C. J. Annesley and R. S. Tranter, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 86, 016117 (2015)
  • Probing Combustion Chemistry in a Miniature Shock Tube with Synchrotron VUV Photoionization Mass Spectrometry”, P. T. Lynch, M. Ahmed, T. P. Troy and R. S. Tranter, Anal. Chem., 87, 2345–2352 (2015)
  • Dissociation of ortho-Benzyne Radicals in the High Temperature Fall-off Regime”, P. T. Lynch, C. J. Annesley and R. S. Tranter, Proc. Combust. Inst. 35, 145-152 (2015)
  • A Miniature High Repetition Rate Shock Tube”, R. S. Tranter and P. T. Lynch, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 84, 094102-11 (2013)
  • Recombination of Allyl Radicals in the High Temperature Fall-Off Regime”, P. T. Lynch, C. J. Annesley, C. J. Aul, X. Yang and R. S. Tranter, :Phys, Chem. A.: 117, 4750-4761 (2013)