single-molecule electronics, surface, and organometallic chemistry

Our group is primarily interested in molecular nanoscience, studying self-assembled structures such as single-molecule junctions and surface-bound monolayers whose function is strongly influenced by the properties of the incorporated molecule(s). These structures, for example, allow us to evaluate individual molecules as electronic circuit elements (e.g., wires or switches), or to modulate chemical reactions at interfaces by controlling the relative positions of molecules in space with nanometer precision. Our interdisciplinary approach combines the design and synthesis of new compounds with electrochemical and scanning probe microscope-based characterization methods. Ultimately, we aim to develop new principles for the rational preparation of functional, molecule-based materials that address urgent societal challenges by driving innovation in areas such as catalysis, chemical sensing, and energy storage. Read more about our work on our Research and Publications pages.


Latest News

October 04, 2022

Paper accepted in Nano Letters!

Zelin's paper studies charge transport across dynamic covalent chemical bridges used to form ordered polymers (link).

June 21, 2022

Paper accepted in Dalton!

Joe and Clarissa's paper probes aryl ligand steric influences in tetraaryl osmium (IV) complexes (link).

June 18, 2022

Southern California Organometallics (SCOM) Meeting

Several group members travel to UC Santa Barbara for the first in-person SCOM conference since the COVID-19 pandemic.


June 01, 2022

Kenneth joins the group!

We welcome Kenneth Nguyen as a summer intern from Cerritos College.

April 22, 2022

Congratulations Tom, Luana, and Clarissa!

Tom Burton, Luana Zagami, and Clarissa Olivar all pass their qualifying exams in the same week.



We are grateful for research support from the following organisations:


Interested in Joining?

We are always interested in hearing from potential new group members, please contact Mike directly (inkpen at usc dot edu).

Prospective Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate research provides a fantastic opportunity to deepen your scientific understanding and develop your problem solving and practical laboratory skills. Such experiences are highly recommended for those interested in chemistry careers, and they may even form part of your course requirements at USC. Financial support is often available through URAP or Provost's Fellowships. Please don't hesitate to introduce yourself by email and briefly describe your interests.

Prospective Graduate Students

You can read more about and directly apply to the USC Chemistry Ph.D. Program through the Chemistry Department webpage. We are always happy to discuss our research with interested applicants, but cannot answer questions about admissions. 

Prospective Postdocs

Internal postdoctoral funding is not available unless explicitly advertised, but we would be delighted to collaborate on external funding applications (e.g., for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Postdoctoral Fellowships). In your email, please include a brief discussion of your research background and why you are interested in working with us, attaching your CV and 2-3 publications.