Dr. W. Matthew Reichert

Dr. W. Matthew Reichert

Department of Chemistry


  • B.S. Berry College, Chemistry, 1998
  • Ph.D. University of Alabama, Chemistry, 2005
  • Assistant Research Professor U.S. Naval Academy, 2006-2010


Synthesis and characterization of new ionic liquids for use as solvents and catalysts is the focus of our work. Our work covers both basic research and applications.

The first area is basic research. We are exploring the fundamental nature of ionic liquids and the question of what makes an ionic liquid a liquid? This research involves the synthesis of various ionic liquids, then analyzing the interactions between the cation and anion that lead to their unique properties. In our group, the analysis of the interaction is performed through thermal characterization by differential scanning calorimetry, thermal gravimetric analysis, crystallographic analysis (when the ILS are crystalline), variable temperature Raman spectroscopy (with collaborators at U.S. Naval Academy), and computational methods. These techniques combined provide an understanding of the complex interaction that produces an ionic liquid with a lower melting point.

The applications section of our research focuses on converting biopolymers, such as cellulose and chitin, into feedstock chemicals to replace petroleum based feedstocks. Ionic liquids have proven to be excellent solvents for the dissolution of various biopolymers, such as silk, cellulose, and chitin to name a few. Once dissolved the polymer chains are now more reactive to various chemical reactions. Our goal is to develop an IL acid catalyst that can depolymerize the biomass to its monomer unit, either glucose for cellulose or N-acetyl-D-glucosamine for chitin. This project involves the synthesis of new IL based acid catalysts utilizing several different reaction paths, some new, and characterizing the catalysts by simple organic reaction and by depolymerization of the biomass. This work is currently supported by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Publications & Collaborations

  • Mirjafari, A.; La, M.; Williams, N. G.; Goode, T.; Davis, J. H. Jr.; Reichert, W. M. “Esterification and Hydrolysis Reactions using new Bronsted Acid Ionic Liquids,” Chem Commun., 2012, Submitted.

  • Reichert, W. M.; Mirjafari, A.; Goode, T.; Williams, N. G.; La, M.; Ho, V.; Yoder, M.; Davis, J. H. Jr. “Synthesis of Long Chain Bronsted Acidic Ionic Liquids,” ECS Trans., 2012, In Press.

  • Reichert, W. M., Henderson, W. A., Trulove, P. C., Urban, J. J., De Long, H. C. “Effect of crystal packing on the thermal behavior of N,N’-alkylpiperidinium and N,N’-alkylmorpholinium iodide salts,” ECS Trans. 2010, 33, 667-677.

  • Haverhals, L. M.; DaBronzo, C. L.; Schlessman, J. L.; Reichert, W. M.; De Long, H. C.; Trulove, P. C. “Fluorescence activity of green fluorescent Protein in Ionic Liquids,” ECS Trans. 2010, 33, 135-142.

  • McIlvaine, W. B., Foley, M. P., Reichert, W. M., Mandia, J. J., Haverhals, L. M., O’Sullivan, D. W., De Long, H. C., Trulove, P. C. “Grass to gas: ionic liquid based conversion of biomass to fuels,” ECS Trans. 2010, 33, 109-116.