• Associate Professor of Chemistry Kate Plass says the recognition of female chemists is important because women's interest in chemistry tends to peter out in the years between middle school and college.
Professor of Chemistry



Office: HAC413

Office: HAC 413
Lab: ​HAC 427

Fall 2021 Office Hours: 

  • Email me at kplass@fandm.edu. This is the quickest way to ask a question or discuss an issue.

  • Talk to me after class. Schedule ahead with the calendar or just follow me to my office.

  • Come by my office, 413 in Hackman. I am always willing to arrange meetings.

Plass Research Group website



B.S. Wayne State University, 2001
Ph.D. University of Michigan, 2006


I am interested in the relationships between surface and solid-state properties of materials and their technologically important behavior. The size and composition of semiconductor particles affects how they absorb light and conduct electrical charge, and we use this to design particles effective in solar energy conversion devices. We also explore how the self-assembly of organic molecules into ordered monolayers at the liquid/solid interface influences solution and surface phenomena. This research is interdisciplinary and problem-focused, using techniques and models traditional to organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry, as well as physics and geology. Learn more about interdisciplinary materials research at F&M at our Materials Studies website.

Grants & Awards


2016 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award

"Engineering Copper Sulfide Nanoparticles to Modulate Ion Exchange and Photocatalysis"

2008-2012 Camille and Henry Dreyfus Faculty Start-up Awards Program

“Synthesis, Surface Passivation, and Band Gap Tuning of Earth-Abundant Semiconductors for Solar Energy Conversion”

2008-2011 Research Corporation Cottrell College Science Award

Synthesis and Photoelectrochemical Characterization of Earth-Abundant Semiconductors for Solar Energy Conversion”          

2008-2011 Petroleum Research Fund Undergraduate New Investigator Award

“Adsorption of Thiophenes at Liquid/Solid Interfaces”          

2012-2017 National Science Foundation (CHE-1149646) CAREER Award

CAREER – Development of Earth-Abundant Mixed-Metal Sulfide Nanoparticles for use in Solar Energy Conversion”          


2003 to Present
(Undergraduate student coauthor are in bold.)

Garcia-Herrera, L. F.; McAllister, H. P.; Xiong, H.; Wang, H.; Lord, R. W.; O’Boyle, S. K.; Imamovic, A.; Steimle, B. C.; Schaak, R. E.; Plass, K. E. Multi-Step Regioselectivity and Non-Kirkendall Anion Exchange of Copper Chalcogenide Nanorods. Chem. Mater 2021 DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.1c01107.

Miller, N.; Dougherty, M.; Du, R.; Sauers, T.; Yan, C.; Pines, J. E.; Meyers, K. L.; Dang, Y. M.; Nagle, E.; Ni, Z.; Pungsrisai, T.; Wetherington, M. T.; Vorlicek, T. P.; Plass, K. E.; Morford, J. L. Adsorption of Tetrathiomolybdate to Iron Sulfides and Its Impact on Iron Sulfide Transformations. ACS Earth Space Chem. 2020 4, 2246–2260 DOI: 10.1021/acsearthspacechem.0c00176.

Le, H. K. D.; Xiong, H.; Page, B. A.; Garcia-Herrera, L. F.; McAllister, H. P.; Li, B. C.;  Wang, H.; Plass, K. E. “Effects of I2 on Cu2-xS nanoparticles: Enabling cation exchange but complicating plasmonics.” ACS Materials Lett. 2020, 2, 140–146 DOI: 10.1021/acsmaterialslett.9b00402.

Georgieva, Z.N.; Tomat, M.A.; Kim, C.; Plass, K.E. Stabilization of plasmon resonance in Cu2-xS semiconductor nanoparticles. Chem. Comm., 2016, 10.1039/c6cc00503a.

Freymeyer, N. J.; Cunningham, P. D.; Jones, E. C., Golden, B. J.; Wiltrout, A. M.; Plass, K. E. Influence of solvent reducing ability on copper sulfide crystal phase. Cryst. Grow. Des. 201313, 4059–4065.

Heller, L. E.; Whitleigh, J.; Roth, D. F.; Oherlein, E. M.; Lucci, F. R.; Kolonko, K. J.; Plass, K. E. Self-Assembly of Mono-Functionalized Thiophenes. Langmuir, 2012, 28 (42), 14855–14859.

Machani, T.; Rossi, D. P.; Golden, B. J.; Jones, E. C.; Lotfipour, M.; Plass, K. E. Synthesis of monoclinic and tetragonal chalcocite nanoparticles by iron-induced stabilization. Chem. Mater, 2011, 23, 5491-5495.

Wiltrout, A. M.; Freymeyer, N. J.; Machani, T.; Rossi, D. P.; Plass, K. E. Phase-Selective Synthesis of Bornite Nanoparticles. J. Mater. Chem, 2011, 21, 19286-19292.

Lotfipour, M.; Machani, T.; Rossi, D. P.; Plass, K. E. alpha-Chalcocite Nanoparticle Synthesis and Stability. Chem. Mater., 2011, 23, 3032-3038.

Plass, K.E.; Filler, M.A.; Spurgeon, J.M.; Kayes, B.M.; Maldonado, S.; Atwater, H.; Lewis, N.S. Flexible Polymer-Embedded Silicon Wire Arrays. Adv. Mater. 2009, 21, 325-328.  Patent awarded.

Spurgeon, J.M.; Plass, K.E.; Kayes, B.M.; Maldonado, S.; Atwater, H.; Lewis, N.S. Repeated epitaxial growth and transfer of arrays of patterned, vertically aligned, crystalline Si wires from a single Si(111) substrate. App. Phys. Lett. 2008, 93, 032112. Patent awarded.

Kayes, B.M.; Filler, M.A.; Henry, M.D.; Maiolo III, J.R.; Kelzenberg, M.D.; Putnam, M.C.; Spurgeon, J.M.; Plass, K.E.; Lewis, N.S.; Atwater, H.A. Radial p-n Junction Si Wire Array Solar Cells. Proceedings of the 33rd IEEE Photovoltaics Specialists 2008.

Plass, K.E.; Liu, X.; Brunschwig, B. S.; Lewis, N.S. Passivation and Secondary Functionalization of Allyl-Terminated Si(111) Surfaces. Chem. Mater. 2008, 20, 2228-2233.

Plass, K.E.; Engle, K.M.; Matzger, A.J. Contrasting Two- and Three-Dimensional Crystal Properties of Isomeric Dialkyl Phthalates. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129, 15211-15217.

Maldonado, S.; Plass, K.E.; Knapp, D.W.; Lewis, N.S. Electrical Properties of Junctions Between Hg and Si(111) Surfaces Functionalized with Short Chain Alkyls. J. Phys. Chem. C  2007, 111, 17690-17699.

Plass, K.E.; Grzesiak, A.L.; Matzger, A.J. Molecular Packing and Symmetry of Two-Dimensional Crystals. Acc. Chem. Res. 2006, 40, 287-293.

Plass, K.E.; Matzger, A.J. Molecule-Based Nanopatterning with Expanded Periodicity. Poly. Mater. Sci. Eng. 2006, 95, 923-924.

Plass, K.E.; Matzger, A.J. Spatial and Temporal Control Over Adsorption from Multicomponent Solutions. Chem. Comm. 2006, 33, 3486-3488. Featured on the cover.

Furukawa, H.; Kim, J.; Plass, K.E.; Yaghi, O.M. Crystal Structure, Dissolution, and Deposition of a 5 nm Functionalized Metal–Organic Great Rhombicuboctahedron. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 8398-8399.

Plass, K.E.; Engle, K.M.; Cychosz, K.A.; Matzger, A.J. Large-periodicity Two-Dimensional Crystals by Cocrystallization. Nano Lett. 2006, 6, 1178-1183.

Kim, K.; Plass, K.E.; Matzger, A.J. Structure of and Competitive Adsorption in Alkyl Dicarbamate Two-Dimensional Crystals. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 4879-4887.

Kim, K.; Plass, K.E.; Matzger, A.J. Conformational Pseudopolymorphism and Orientational Disorder in Two-Dimensional Alkyl Carbamate Crystals. Langmuir 2005, 21, 647-655.

Plass, K.E.; Kim, K.; Matzger, A.J. Two-Dimensional Crystallization: Self-Assembly, Pseudopolymorphism, and Symmetry Independent Molecules. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126, 9042-9053.

Rowe, M.P.; Plass, K.E.; Kim, K.; Kurdak, Ç.; Zellers, E.T.; Matzger, A.J. Single-Phase Synthesis of Functionalized Gold Nanoparticles. Chem. Mater. 2004, 16, 3513-3517.

Kim, K.; Plass, K.E.; Matzger, A.J. Kinetic and Thermodynamic Forms of a Two-Dimensional Crystal. Langmuir 2003, 19, 7149-7152. Featured on the cover.

Course Information

Dr. Plass teaches the following courses:

  • CHM 111 - General Chemistry I
  • CHM 222 - Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHM 374 - The Chemistry of Solar Energy Conversion
  • CHM412 - Materials Chemistry Senior capstone course

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