COSAM » COSAM Faculty » Chemistry and Biochemistry » Jimmy Mills

Jimmy Mills
Chemistry and Biochemistry

Research Areas - Physical

179 Chemistry Building

Phone: (334) 844-6974


Technical University of West Berlin, Ph.D.
Argonne National Laboratory, Post-Doctoral Fellow
California Institute of Technology, Research Fellow
M.S., University of Chile

Professional Employment

Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Auburn University
2014- present
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Auburn University
1989- 1995
Research Fellow, California Institute of Technology
1987- 1989
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Argonne National
Graduate Assistant, Hahn Meitner Institute
1981- 1984
Research Assistant, University of Chile
March-December 1979

Honors and Awards

Technical Advisory Committee Award
Director's Partnership Award
Visting Scholar, Argonne National Lab
Grant-in-aid, for research on "Degradation of Pollutants by Sonochemical Reactions", Auburn University
Highlighted Poster, 7th International Conference on Photochemical Conversion and Storage of Solar Energy
July 31-August 5, 1988

Professional Activities

American Chemical Society; Chair-Elect and Chairman, Auburn Section, 1993-1995
Chair and organizer of Symposium on "Model AgXSystems:, Society for Imaging Science and Technology, 50th Annual Conference, Cambridge, MA 1997
Session Chair, "Topics in Materials Physics and Chemistry" Session, 10th Annual Alabama Materials Research Conference, Auburn, September 1996
Chair Poster Session, Society for Imaging Science and Technology, 48th Annual Conference, Washington D.C. May 1995
Panel Member, Electorhydraulic Civitation and Sonolysis, EPR/NSF Advance Oxidation Symposium, San Fransisco, CA, February 1993
Session Chair, "Electronic and Optical Materials Session", 6th Annual Alabama Materials Research Conference, Auburn, October 1992
Reviewer of manuscripts for the following journals: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, African Journal of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Chemical Physical Letters, Chemistry of Materials, Chemosphere, Colloid and Polymer Sciences, Colloids and Surfaces, Energy and Fuels, Enviromental Science and Technology, Inorganic Chemistry, Israel Journal of Chemistry, Journal of Advanced Oxidations Technologies, Journal of Applied Physics, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Journal of Cluster Science, Journal of Hazardous Materials, Journal of Nanoparticle Research, Journal of Nansicience and Nanotechnology, Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Journal of American Chemical Society, Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology, Langmuir, Materials Research Bulletin, Physical Chemistry-Chemical Physics, Research of Chemical Intermediateds, RSC Advances, Surface Science, Talanta, Thin Solid Films, Ultrasound and Sonochemistry

Research and Teaching Interests

Physical Chemistry: Photochemical generation and reactions of reducing macromolecular radicals in light-sensitive polymer systems, synthesis of nanometer-sized metal crystallites including kinetics and mechanism of the formation process in liquid and solid matrices, preparation of thermo and photoadaptive systems, degradation of toxic chemicals initiated via photolysis.


Photochemical generation and reactions of reducing radicals, synthesis of nanometer-sized metal crystallites including kinetics and mechanism of the formation process in liquid and solid matrices, degradation of toxic chemicals initiated via photolysis.

Interesting changes in the physical and chemical properties of metals and oxides take place upon restricting their dimensions to the nanometer size range. Research in our lab aims at exploring new strategies for the generation of such crystallites in solution and in solids. An attractive approach is to use photochemical reactions to form small metal particles since photons can serve as the energy source that transforms compounds present in the system into reactive intermediates able to induce redox processes. An example is the method developed in our lab that employs blends of sulphonated poly(ether etherketone), SPEEK as a sensitizer and PVA as a donor of H-atoms. Benzophenone (BP) groups of SPEEK undergo light-excitation to triplet states able to abstract H-atoms from PVA yielding strongly reducing and long-lived polymeric SPEEK•  radicals. 

Exposure of films and solutions of SPEEK/PVA blends to light yields nanometer-sized crystallites of a variety of metals. Analogous methods based on BP photochemistry enabled photogeneration of Cu, Ag Pd and Pt crystallites in hydrocarbons, which also served as electron donors. These colloids are being tested in terms of their ability to enhance heat transport and function as nanofluids.

Another area of research currently being pursued involves investigation of SPEEK/PVA films as protective (self-decontaminating) barriers against toxins. Shown in the Figure is a scheme representing the attack by photogenerated SPEEK•  on an undesired compound (for instance, CCl4) adsorbed on the surface of an SPEEK/PVA film, which results in a reductive degradation of the toxin under illumination (top). Reaction of SPEEK•  with oxygen forms H2O2  as a byproduct, which can degrade toxins in the dark (bottom scheme).



Selected Publications

  1. Clary, D. R.; Mills, G. “Photochemical Generation of Nanometer-Sized Cu Particles in Octane” J. Phys. Chem. C2011115, 14656-14663.
  2. Clary, D. R.; Mills, G. “Preparation and Thermal Properties of CuO Particles” J. Phys. Chem. C 2011115, 1767-1775.
  3. Little, B. K.; Li, Y.; Cammarata, V.; Broughton, R.; Mills, G. “Metallization of Kevlar Fibers with Gold” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 20113, 1965-1973.
  4. Korchev, A. S.; Konovalova, T.; Cammarata, V.; Kispert, L.; Slaten, B. L.; Mills, G., “Radical-Induced Generation of Small Silver Particles in SPEEK/PVA Polymer Films and Solutions: UV-Vis, EPR, and FT-IR Studies” Langmuir 2006, 22, 375.
  5. Korchev, A. S.; Shulyak, T. S.; Slaten, B. L.; Gale, W. F.; Mills, G., “Sulfonated Poly(Ether Ether Ketone)/Poly(Vinyl Alcohol) Sensitizing System for Solution Photogeneration of Ag, Au and Cu Crystallites” J. Phys. Chem. B 2005, 109, 7733.

Last updated: 05/26/2016