Skip to main content

Matthew King, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Materials & Physical Chemistry


Office: SCNC 323

Phone: 208-426-1019

Research Group Web Page

Research Interests:

  • Terahertz and nonlinear spectroscopy
  • Computational modeling
  • Crystal engineering and supramolecular chemistry
  • Material properties in extreme environments

Undergraduate Research Assistant

What am I looking for in an undergraduate research assistant?

What courses would you recommend students have taken prior to working in your laboratory? 

  • Students are required to have taken at least physical chemistry.

How many hours per week do you expect a student to spend in the laboratory per research credit and does the time have to be a set schedule?

  • It is expected that a student works 10 hours per research credit in the lab, and they can set their own schedule.

Ideally, for what length of time would a student research in your laboratory to achieve a meaningful research experience?

  • A minimum of 1.5 years.

Educational Background

2012: Ph.D. | Syracuse University

2008: M.S. | University of Maine

2006: B.S. | University of Alaska Anchorage

Research Overview

Research in the King Group utilizes ultrafast spectroscopy and computational modeling to study structure, properties, and dynamics of materials. Our lab is equipped with two femtosecond Ti:sapphire laser systems, regenerative amplifiers, and optical parametric amplifiers, giving us the capability of producing high-energy pulses tunable over a broad spectral bandwidth, from the UV to mid-IR. The available instruments allow us to perform spectroscopic measurements using a variety of powerful optical techniques. Primary areas of current research involve time-domain terahertz spectroscopy, vibrational sum frequency generation, and time-resolved multidimensional pump-probe techniques.

Our group also employs computational methods to aid in the understanding of the underlying physical phenomena uncovered by experimental observations, as well as for the design and prediction of material structure and properties. Solid-state density functional theory is used for calculation of electronic structures, low-frequency vibrational spectra, and dielectric properties of crystalline systems. Molecular dynamics simulations are also used to investigate long-timescale processes and thermodynamics involving crystal phase transitions, solvation, and molecular mobility and activity at phase interfaces.

Students researching in our laboratory have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art instrumentation and nonlinear optical spectroscopic techniques to explore material properties. A diversity of projects are available for students interested in experimental and/or computational research.

Select Publications (2018-2021)

Fothergill, J.W.; Colson, A.C.; King, M.D. Cataloguing the energetic contributions to the supramolecular  assembly of p-substituted N,N′-diphenylureas and their organometallic derivatives in the solid-state:  a density functional theory approach. Crystal Growth & Design 2021, 21(1), 563-571. (Cover  Article)

da Silva, T.H.; Rexrode, N.R.; King, M.D. Time-domain terahertz spectroscopy and solid-state density  functional theory analysis of p-nitrophenol polymorphs. Journal of Infrared, Millimeter, and  Terahertz Waves 2020 (Special Issue on THz Spectra, Invited), 41, 1337-1354.

Marquart, L.A.; Turner, M.W.; Warner, L.R.; King, M.D.; Groome, J.R.; McDougal, O.M. Ribbon α conotoxin KTM exhibits potent inhibition of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Marine Drugs 2019,  17(12), 669.

Rexrode, N.R.; Orien, J.; King, M.D. Effects of solvent stabilization on pharmaceutical crystallization:  Investigating conformational polymorphism of probucol using combined solid-state density  functional theory, molecular dynamics, and terahertz spectroscopy. The Journal of Physical  Chemistry A 2019, 123, 6937-6947. (Cover Article)

Paul, M. E.; da Silva, T. H.; King, M. D. True polymorphic phase transition or dynamic crystal disorder?  An investigation into the unusual phase behavior of barbituric acid dihydrate.” Crystal Growth & Design 2019, 19, 4745-4753.

Millard, S.; Fothergill, J.W.; Anderson, Z.; Brown, E.C.; King, M.D.; Colson, A.C. Supramolecular  interactions of group VI metal carbonyl complexes: The facilitating role of 1,3-bis(p isocyanophenyl)urea. Inorganic Chemistry 2019, 58, 8130-8139.

King, M.D.; Long, T.; Pfalmer, D.L.; Andersen, T.L.; McDougal, O.M. SPIDR: Small-Molecule Peptide Influenced Drug Repurposing. BMC Bioinformatics 2018, 19, 138-1

Select Grants (2018-2021)

6/1/2020 – 5/31/2022 

  • Using Fortilin Inhibitors to Halt Atherosclerosis Year 2020 – University of Washington/NIH pass thru

9/1/2020 – 7/31/2024

  • Cellular and Circulating Fortilin in Vascular Diseases – University of Washington

Current Areas of Research

  • Phase transitions, changes in structure and properties of molecular crystals due to applied external stimuli, i.e. hydrostatic pressure, mechanical stresses, electric fields
  • Water surface interactions, infiltration, and hydration/dehydration processes of materials
  • Crystal structure prediction and design of materials with tailored structure and properties
  • Coupling of optical and acoustic phonon modes in structural transitions


“Pharmaceutical Compositions Comprising Oncostatin M (OSM) Antagonist Derivatives and Methods of  Use,” U.S. Provisional Pat. Ser. No. 62/832,384, filed April 11, 2019.