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Chemical Structure, Dynamics and Mechanisms (CSDM)

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived.

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


The CSDM Program supports research on the nature of molecular structure and its consequences for reactivity, intermolecular interactions, and dynamics.   Chemical dynamics is defined to encompass reaction kinetics and mechanisms, intramolecular rearrangement or conformational changes, and changes induced via electromagnetic excitation.  While the majority of projects supported by CSDM are experimental in nature, the Program is receptive to research focused on utilizing applied computational methods.  However, the proposer should establish a high degree of relevance to the understanding of existing experimental data.  The CSDM Program is concerned primarily with chemical phenomena in the gas and fluid phases, as well as chemical processes at gas-fluid, gas-solid, fluid-solid, and fluid-fluid interfaces.  Proposals concerned with solid phase chemical processes are generally not supported by the Program. Proposals concerned with structure, dynamics or mechanisms as they pertain to catalytic processes should submit to the Chemical Catalysis Program (CHE/CAT). Proposals whose primary questions relate to phenomena arising from the properties of nanoscale materials or assemblies should be submitted to the Macromolecular, Supramolecular, and Nanochemistry Program (CHE/MSN). CSDM supports research projects that have strong implications for advancing the foundational physical models of chemical structure and dynamics.  Projects focusing on device or process optimization are not supported by the Program.

The CSDM Program is divided into two sub-programs, CSDM-A and CSDM-B.  The two programs will inevitably overlap in some instances.  At coarse resolution, they are separable in terms of i) molecular complexity, ii) time scale, iii) strength of the interactions, and iv) links to potential applications. The following Program Descriptions are intended to guide the proposer to the most appropriate sub-program for his/her research.  If additional guidance is required, Principal Investigators are encouraged to send brief electronic summaries of their research to CSDM Program Directors prior to formal proposal submission.  After Programmatic review of the summaries, Principal Investigators will be given advice as to the appropriateness of the research for CSDM, and if appropriate, the best sub-program (CSDM-A or CSDM-B) for submission.


Research supported by this program generally seeks to develop and refine our quantitative understanding of molecular structure, reactivity and dynamics.  The most successful proposals will be those which describe research that has the potential to change how we think about chemical structure and dynamics in general, as opposed to the behavior of a specific class of molecules or reactions.  CSDM-A research often involves the development of experimental techniques that extend the limits of short time scales or spectral resolution. When the development of such capabilities is the primary focus (rather than the pursuit of specific new insights they may enable), the work is probably better suited to the Chemical Measurement and Imaging program. Examples of topics recently funded in CSDM-A include femtosecond time-resolved studies of solvent effects on reaction dynamics, photoelectron spectroscopy of gas phase ions and clusters, nonlinear vibrational spectroscopy of liquid-liquid interfaces, diffraction/scanning probe studies of molecular adsorbates on metal surfaces, and the molecular modeling of clathrate hydrate growth.


Research supported in this sub-program seeks to map specific molecular structures to their properties and/or reactivities.  CSDM-B proposals generally utilize existing experimental techniques as opposed to developing new ones, and the research should lean toward systems of greater molecular complexity, cover longer time scales, and involve weaker interactions than a chemical bond strength.  The program does not support the application of known chemical reactions or dynamics to build or optimize devices for existing applications. Examples of topics recently funded in CSDM-B include the solution reactivity of 1,2-diradicals, selective C-H bond activation by cyclometalated complexes, development of fluorophores for single-molecule studies, computational studies of cycloaddition reaction dynamics, and the design of molecular systems for controlled release of stable species using sequential biphotonic excitation.

Program contacts

Colby A. Foss
Program Director
cfoss@nsf.gov (703) 292-8404 MPS/CHE
Malcolm Forbes
mforbes@nsf.gov (703) 292-7576
Evelyn Goldfield
egoldfie@nsf.gov (703) 292-2173
Sharon Neal
shneal@nsf.gov (703) 292-4952
C. M. Jenkins
cjenkins@nsf.gov (703) 292-7874 OIRM/DAS
Illinois I. Johnson
ijohnson@nsf.gov (703) 292-7182

Awards made through this program

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Map of recent awards made through this program