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The Halogens

Kelling Donald headshotKelling Donald, associate professor of chemistry, works with elements across the Periodic Table. He can speak in particular to a group of elements known as The Halogens, which he uses in his research as a theoretical and computational chemist.

"Everything that we can actually see and touch, all summed up with the word ‘matter’, on the earth is some combination of atoms of naturally occurring elements," said Donald.

Donald's research group investigates molecules involving elements from across The Periodic Table. One paper he's written discusses how the elements beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium, zinc, cadmium, mercury, and other elements form bonds to a ring structure made entirely of carbon and hydrogen.

"The outcomes of that bonding is what we call in chemistry a sandwich compound," said Donald.

One of Donald's favorite groups of elements are The Halogens, which include fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine.

"They are chemically interesting and versatile: fluorine, for instance, tends to be very reactive; yet combining fluorine with carbon in a special way allows Teflon pots to be ‘non-stick’. One topic of interest for us is how halogens affect the way the molecules that contain them behave, especially a phenomenon called halogen bonding," explained Donald.

Media Placement: Politics of the Periodic Table

Donald authored this piece for The Conversation: The politics of the periodic table – who gets the credit and why. The article has been picked up by additonal publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle.


Contact Sunni Brown, assistant director of media and public relations, to connect with Kelling Donald today.