Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Vlasta Bonacic-Koutecky
Professor for physical and theoretical chemistry at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Vlasta Bonacic-Koutecky studied physics in Zagreb (Croatia) and received her doctoral degree in theoretical chemistry at Johns Hopkins University (USA). After post doctoral research at Belfer Graduate School of Science, Yeshiva University, New York she obtained habilitation in theoretical chemistry and became professor at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Since 1994 she is Professor for physical and theoretical chemistry at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She has been visiting professor at numerous European, American and Japanese universities. In 2009 she received doctor honoris causa degree at the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1.
She was coordinator of the International Humboldt Graduate School „Structure, Function and Application of New Materials“ and coordinator of research training group GRK 1025 „Spin- und optoelectronics“ in Adlershof. Due to her participation in numerous collaborative research centers and topical research programs she has built a national and international network between theoretical and experimental researchers.
Her research focus
As theoretical chemist Vlasta Bonacic-Koutecky has developed several concepts which opened new avenues for interdisciplinary research directions in the field of theoretical physical chemistry and chemical physics. Selected examples are: fundamental contributions to theoretical organic photochemistry by pioneering characterization of conical intersections; recognition of nonscalable properties of small metal aggregates (clusters) in a size regime in which each atom counts; discovery of enhancement of absorption and emission in nanoparticle-biomolecule hybrid systems by small noble metal clusters.
In addition to the conceptual work as well as applications of her theoretical methods allowing for accurate predictions of electronic and dynamical properties of molecules and clusters her research has stimulated numerous novel experiments. Therefore the cooperations between her research team and experimental groups is world wide recognized.
Her present research directions are: ab initio quantum chemistry and dynamics; control of chemical reactions with shaped laser pulses; optical properties of metal-hybrid-systems in context of applications for biosensorics and photonics as well as structure-reactivity relation of metal-oxide clusters as fundaments for development and design of catalytic nanomaterials.