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Adam Colson

Adam Colson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Inorganic Chemistry
Office: SCNC 322
Phone: (208) 426-1063

Colson Curriculum Vitae

Research focus: synthetic inorganic and organometallic chemistry; electroactive materials with applications in energy storage and delivery, molecular electronics, and catalysis

Educational Background:

2012: Rice University, Ph.D.
2009: Rice University, M.A.
2007: Idaho State University, B.S.


9. 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” Inorg. Chem. 2019, 58, 8130-8139.

8. Elsberg, J.G.; Spiropulos, N.G.; Colson, A.C.; Brown, E.C. “Crystal structure of a homoleptic zinc(II) complex based on bis­(3,5-diiso­propyl­pyrazol-1-yl)acetate” Acta Crystallogr., Sect. E. 2018, 74, 1259-1262.

7. Leitner, A.P.; Schipper, D.E.; Chen, J.H.; Colson, A.C.; Rusakova, I.; Rai, B.K.; Morosan, E.; Whitmire, K.H. “Synthesis of Hexagonal FeMnP Thin Films from a Single-Source Molecular Precursor” Chem. Eur. J. 2017, 23, 5565-5572.

6. Margulieux, K.R.; Sun, C.; Kihara, M.T.; Colson, A.C.; Zakharov, L.N.; Whitmire, K.H.; Holland, A.W.; Pak, J.J. “Synthesis and Characterization of Bimetallic Single-Source Precursors (Ph3P)2M(μ-SEt)2E(SEt)2 for MES2 Chalcopyrite Materials (M = Cu, Ag and E = In, Ga, Al)” Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2017, 13, 2068-2077.

5. Colson, A.C.; Chen, C.W.; Morosan, E.; Whitmire, K.H. “Synthesis of Phase-Pure Ferromagnetic Fe3P Films from Single-Source Molecular Precursors” Adv. Funct. Mater.  2012, 22, 1850-1855.

4. Colson, A.C.; Whitmire, K.H. “Synthesis of Fe2-xMnxP Nanoparticles from Single-Source Molecular Precursors” Chem. Mater. 2011, 23, 3731-3739.

3. Stavila, V.; Bulimestru, I.; Gulea, A.; Colson, A.C.; Whitmire, K.H. “Hexaaquacobalt(II) and hexaaquanickel(II) bis(-pyridine-2,6-dicarboxylato)bis[(pyridine-2,6-dicarboxylato)bismuthate(III)] dihydrate” Acta Crystallogr., Sect. C.  2011, C67, m65-m68.

2. Mandal, T.; Piburn, G.; Stavila, V.; Rusakova, I.; Ould-Ely, T.; Colson, A.C.; Whitmire, K.H. “New Mixed Ligand Single-Source Precursors for PbS Nanoparticles and Their Solvothermal Decomposition to Anisotropic Nano- and Microstructures” Chem. Mater. 2011, 23, 4158-4169.

1. Colson, A.C.; Whitmire, K.H. “Synthesis, Characterization, and Reactivity of the Heterometallic Dinuclear μ-PH2 and μ-PPhH Complexes FeMn(CO)8(μ-PH2)  and FeMn(CO)8(μ-PPhH)” Organometallics. 2010, 29, 4611-4618.



The Colson group investigates the synthesis and physical properties of metal carbonyl clusters. Metal carbonyl clusters—or MCCs—are molecular species consisting of multiple transition metal nuclei stabilized by carbon monoxide ligands. MCCs possess distinctive structural and electronic properties, including the ability to undergo multiple electrochemical reduction events without experiencing decomposition. Although this “electron reservoir” behavior has potential applications in electronic devices or energy systems, the synthetic methods used to produce MCCs are often poorly-selective and can result in broad and unpredictable product distributions. As an alternative approach, we are interested in studying non-covalent interactions that might drive the self-assembly of MCC species. Students in the Colson lab are trained to handle air- and moisture-sensitive compounds using specialized glassware and laboratory techniques. Student researchers also gain experience in a wide variety of analytical techniques, including nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, X-ray diffraction, and electrochemical methods.


Custom-built Vacuum and Gas Manifold

custom built vacuum and gas manifold
We use a custom-built vacuum and gas manifold to safely handle air- and moisture-sensitive materials in many of our experiments.
custom built vacuum and gas manifold
Alexandria working with the custom-built vacuum and gas manifold.

Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy

IR spectroscopy
Infrared (IR) spectroscopy is used extensively in our research group. IR stretching frequencies associated with metal bound carbon monoxide ligands are conveniently used to monitor reaction progress.

Tube Furnace

tube furnace
Some reactions are best carried out at high temperatures in the absence of solvent. The tube furnace allows us to conduct experiments at temperatures up to 1000 °C.

High-frequency Ball Mill

high-frequency ball mill
The high-frequency ball mill is used to prepare finely-divided solid samples or to induce chemical reactions in the solid state.
high-frequency ball mill
Shaun and Alexandria working with the high-frequency ball mill.

Custom-built Electrochemical Workstation

custom-built electrochemical workstation
We use a custom-built electrochemical workstation to carry out experiments such as cyclic voltammetry and controlled potential electrolysis in order to study electron-sink behavior in metal carbonyl species.

NMR Spectrometer

NMR spectrometer
Students routinely employ the departmental nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer to study molecular structure and dynamic chemical processes.
Student researchers
Student researchers gain hands-on experience with modern instrumentation.
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