Nancy Makri




Nancy Makri received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989. She is a professor in the U of I Department of Chemistry and a part-time faculty member in the Beckman Institute Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials group. Her field of interest is quantum dynamics of polyatomic systems.


Bodossahi Academic Prize in Physical Sciences (2000); Academic Prize in Physical Sciences, Bodossaki Foundation (1999); University Scholar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1999); Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award, Iota Sigma Pi (1999); Cottrell Scholar Award, Research Corporation (1994); Sloan Research Fellowship, Alfred Sloan Foundation (1994); Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, David and Lucile Packard Foundation (1993); NSF Young Investigator Award (1993); Beckman Fellow, UIUC Center for Advanced Study (1993-94); Beckman Young Investigator Award, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation (1993).


Makri's research focuses on advancing the theoretical understanding of quantum mechanical processes in large molecules and the condensed phase. Unless severe approximations are introduced, direct solution of the quantum mechanical equation of motion is feasible only for small molecules as it requires numerical effort that increases exponentially with the number of particles.

Using Feynman's path integral formulation of quantum dynamics as the starting point, a new methodology has recently been developed which has made long-time simulations of quantum dissipative systems feasible. The key features of this approach are the use of accurate propagators based on physically motivated reference systems, expression of the path integral in terms of optimal discrete variable representations and the formulation of an iterative scheme which allows calculation of the dynamics for very long time intervals.

An intriguing problem in chemistry and materials research concerns the possibility of using coherent light to control the dynamics of complex molecular systems. Toward this goal, Makri's group is presently applying the above techniques to explore the interplay between time-dependent driving and dissipation with regard to the dynamics of simple tunneling systems. Understanding such effects is important for manipulating charge transfer in nanodevices, where electron-phonon interactions tend to drive the system toward the state of thermal equilibrium. Preliminary results indicate that under favorable conditions significant control of these processes can be achieved with weak continuous-wave fields. Other work in collaboration with members of the Photonic Systems Group focuses on enhancing the selectivity of elementary reactions on surfaces.

Makri's sources of funding include the Packard Foundation, the Dreyfus Foundation and the NSF.


  • 1999
    • Shao, J. and Makri, N. (1999), "Forward-backward Semiclassical Dynamics Without Prefactors," Journal of Physical Chemistry (Letter), 103, pp. 7753-7756.

    • Ray, J. and Makri, N. (1999), "Short Range Coherence in the Energy Transfer of Photosynthetic Light Harvesting Systems," Journal of Physical Chemistry, 103, pp. 9417-9422.

  • 1998
    • Makri, N. and Thompson, K. (1998), "Semiclassical Influence Functionals for Quantum Systems in Anharmonic Environments," Chemical Physics Letters, 291/1-2, pp. 101-109.

    • Makri, N. (1998), "Quantum Dissipative Dynamics: A Numerically Exact Methodology," Journal of Physical Chemistry, invited feature article, 102/24, pp. 4414-4427.

    • Forsythe, K. M. and Makri, N. (1998), "Path Integral Study of Hydrogen and Deuterium Diffusion in Crystalline Silicon," Journal of Chemical Physics, 108/16, pp. 6819-6828.

  • 1997
    • Sim, E. and Makri, N. (1997), "Path Integral Simulation of Charge Transfer Dynamics in Photosynthetic Reaction Centers," Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 101/27, pp. 5446-5458.

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