James H. Davis Jr

James H. Davis Jr

Professor of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry


  • A.B. University of North Alabama, Florence, 1982
  • Ph.D. Vanderbilt University, 1986
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Virginia, 1986-89
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Brandeis University, 1989-1995


Our group is known for its activity in the area of ionic liquids (ILs). Ionic liquids are simply salts that melt at low temperatures, “low” usually being construed to be < 100 oC.  Because of the Coulombic nature of the interactions between their component ions, ILs commonly have little-to-no vapor pressure, meaning that they don’t evaporate.  This combination – liquidity without evaporation – is rare and technologically valuable.  In fact, the perceived utility of ILs in a host of practical applications has driven the intense pace of research dealing with them over the past 15 years. In that time frame, some 56,000 papers, patents, and abstracts involving them have been published.

A particular contribution made by our group to the development of the field has been in the introduction of functionalized or “task-specific” ionic liquids.  ILs of this type have, within their cation or anion structure (or both), an organic functional group that allows them to interact with other molecules in a specific fashion. Perhaps the most well-known of these are ILs with amine groups, which are now being heavily investigated as materials for the capture of CO2 from power plants and other anthropogenic CO2 sources.

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Published Works

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