Jeff Terry

  • Professor of Physics
  • Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
  • Interim Chair, Department of Social Sciences


B.S. University of Chicago
Ph.D. Stanford University

Research Interests

My training is as a physical chemist with a specialization in synchrotron radiation techniques. I have extensive experience using a variety of analytical techniques to examine surface chemistry and to solve the problems of materials at surfaces. Presently, my interests lie in studying biomaterials chemistry using synchrotron radiation techniques.

I have used soft X-ray techniques such photoelectron (PES), X-ray emission (SXE), and X-ray absorption spectroscopes (XAS) to determine electronic and geometric structures of many systems. These techniques are direct probes of the electronic structure of an interface and I put these techniques to use studying the chemistry of biomaterials. For example, in the case of a metalloprotein, it would be possible to determine: the oxidation state of the metal, the number of metals atoms present, and the direction of charge transfer in the molecule. Local atomic structure (bond lengths, angles, bonding sites) can also be determined using these techniques due to interference properties of the emitted photon (fluorescence holography (SXE)) or photoelectron (photoelectron diffraction (PED), extended X-ray absorption fine structure (XAS)). Extracting this information from the experimental data requires the use of first principles, quantum mechanical calculations.

Specifically, I would like to use these techniques to improve our understanding of the following areas:

  • Metal interactions with bacteria, necessary for understanding bioremediation
  • Physicochemical states of metals in diseased tissue
  • Oxidation state and local atomic structure of metals in pharmaceuticals
  • Local atomic structure of artificial bone materials


Google Scholar Profile


Electronic Structure, Radiochemistry, Radiation Damage, Multilayer Structures, Synchrotron Radiation Characterization

Jeffrey Terry

Contact Information

630.252.9708 312.567.3576 166B Robert A. Pritzker Science Center