Walter Dorfner, PhD

Walter Dorfner, PhD

Walter Dorfner PhD

Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry


BA, Chemistry, Boston University

PhD, University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests

  • Investigation of metal complex design and electronic structure analysis
  • Development of multi-metallic compounds to determine the impact of the secondary coordination sphere in catalysis and electronic structure and properties
  • Characterization of complexes through both spectroscopic techniques and computational analysis


Catalytic, enzymatic, and spectroscopic properties of metal complexes are directly related to the electronic structure of the metals which comprise them. Carefully designed metal coordination frameworks have provided useful models for a multitude of industrial and biological processes.

In my lab we synthesize metal complexes in a variety of frameworks to study the impact of small variations in the framework on the properties of the metals involved. We are interested in the electronic structures of multi-metallic compounds which incorporate mixtures of redox active and redox inactive metals to study their interaction. Additionally, ligand frameworks which are themselves redox active provide useful tools for exploring metal electronic structure.

Characterization techniques in my lab include NMR, electrochemistry, computational studies, and X-ray crystallography.

Selected Scholarly Activity

Solola, L. A.; Zabula, A. V.; Dorfner, W. L.; Manor, B. C.; Carroll, P. J.; Schelter, E. J. "Cerium(IV) Imido Complexes: Structural, Computational and Reactivity Studies" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 2435-2442.

Levin, J. R.; Dorfner, W. L.; Dai, A. X.; Carroll, P. J.; Schelter, E. J. "Density Functional Theory as a Predictive Tool for Cerium Redox Properties in Nonaqueous Solvents" Inorg. Chem. 2016, 55, 12651-12659.

Dorfner, W. L.; Carroll, P. J.; Schelter, E. J. "Substituted Quinoline Quinones as Surrogates for the PQQ Cofactor: An Electrochemical and Computational Study§" Org. Lett. 2015, 17, 1850–1853.

Dorfner, W. L.; Carroll, P. J.; Schelter, E. J. "A Homoleptic η2 Hydroxylaminato CeIV Complex with S4 Symmetry" Dalton Trans. 2014, 43, 6300–6303.

Contact Information

Office location: Griffith Hall, 300
Mailing address: University of Sciences
600 South 43rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495
Office Phone: 215-596-7251

w [dot] dorfner [at] usciences [dot] edu